The purpose of this paper is to solve a planning problem faced by many shipping companies dealing with the transport of bulk products. These shipping companies are committed to carrying some contract cargoes and will try to derive additional revenue from optional spot cargoes. An efficient tabu search algorithm has been developed to ensure quick decision support for the planners. The solutions generated by the tabu search heuristic are compared with those produced by a previously published multi-start local search heuristic. Computational results show that the tabu search heuristic yields optimal or near-optimal solutions to real-life instances within reasonable time. For large and tigthly constrained cases, the tabu search heuristic provides much better solutions than the multi-start local search heuristic. A version of the tabu search heuristic will be integrated as an improved solver in a prototype decision support system used by several shipping companies.