Bill of Lading :
The bill of lading is a document issued by the shipping company or its agent acknowledging the receipt of goods mentioned in the bill for shipment on board the vessel and undertaking to deliver the goods in the like order and condition as received to the consignee or his order provided the freight and other charges specified in the bill of lading have been duly paid. Bill of Lading is issued in the standardised aligned document format.
For preparation of bill of lading the exporter should submit the complete sets of bill of lading together with mate receipt in the standardised aligned form to the shipping company which will calculate the freight amount on the basis of measurement or weight as certified by the recognised Chamber of Commerce. On payment of the freight, the shipping company returns the Bill of Lading duly signed and supported by requisite adhesive stamps.
A bill of lading is generally made out in the sets of two or three originals. All originals are duly signed by the master of the ship or the agent of the steamship company and all the originals are equally valid for taking the delivery of the goods and once one original is utilised the other originals become null and void. Utmost care is, therefore, required to be exercised to ensure that full set of original B / L is obtained by the exporter from the Shipping Company and no original copy goes in the wrong hand. Few extra copies of B / L are also issued generally marked as NON NEGOTIABLE COPY which cannot be utilised for taking the delivery of the goods.
The type of bill of lading required will depend upon the terms of Letter of Credit (LlC). The following are the various types of Bills of Lading some of which are not acceptable under L / C unless specifically permitted.
Received for Shipment B / L certifying only receipt of goods - not acceptable under L / C unless specifically permitted
On deck B / L containing a remark that goods are shipped on deck - not acceptable unless specifically permitted
On board B / L certifying goods received on board the ship
Combined B / L covering several modes of transport
Custody B/L issued by American warehouses pending arrival of carrying vessel in port acceptable
Forwarding agent B / L issued by forwarding agents not accepted unless specifically authorised -a single B / L covering a group of several consignments meant for different consignees - delivery achieved by issuing delivery orders relating to specified portions of the whole consignment
House B / L unacceptable as either evidence of title or contract of carriage
B / L - one on which the detailed conditions of transportation are not printed - not acceptable unless specifically permitted
Through B / L covering goods being transhipped en route…. It covers the whole voyage and is acceptable if transhipment is permitted.
Charter Party B / L covering shipment on chartered ship - issued subject to charter party agreements which supersede the usual memorandum of conditions of carriage appearing on the reverse of B / L not acceptable unless specifically authorised
Ocean / Liner B / L covering shipment by sea from port of shipment to - usually covering shipment made under letter of credit
Third party B / L acceptable if third party shipper endorses it in favour of the beneficiary (seller) who in turn either endorses it in blank or as stipulated in letter of credit
A clause B/L is a B / L containing additional clauses limiting the responsibility of the shipping company and indicating defective conditions of the goods. Such a B / L is not acceptable under L / C unless specifically authorised.
A clean B / L is one which does not bear any superimposed clause or annotation which expressly declares a defective condition of the goods and/or the packaging. A stale B / L is one which is tendered to the paying bank at so late a date, that though within validity of letter of credit it is impossible for it to be despatched to the consignee in time to reach him before the goods themselves arrive at destination port.
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