Chapter 9 Shipment Documents

Learning target:
 1. What are B/L and its function?
 2. Key classification of B/L.
 3. What are AWB and its function?
 4. What is the difference between B/L and
 5. What is multi-modal transport and the
main document involved?

Transport documents can be described as the
receipt evidence issued by carriers to the
exporters and acts as the documents of
necessity for cargo delivery, complaints as
well as settlement or negotiation to banks.
According to different modes of
transportation, shipping documents mainly
refer to marine bill of lading, seaway bills,
airway bills, railway bills, multi-modal
transport documents, etc. This chapter will
mainly illustrate marine bill of lading, airway
bill, airway bill and multi-modal transport

9.1 marine bill of lading

9.1.1 Definition and functions of marine bill
of lading
Marine bill of lading or ocean bill of lading,
abbreviated as bill of lading (B/L), in
accordance with the regulations in Maritime
Law of People’s Republic of China, means a
document which evidences a contract of
carriage by sea and the taking over or
loading on board of the goods by the carrier,
and by which the carrier undertakes to
release the goods against surrendering of the

its functions are mentioned below:  B/L is evidence of the contract of carriage between the consignor and the shipping company. Any lawful holder of B/L may take the delivery of the goods from the shipping company against the B/L.  B/L is a receipt for the goods issued by the ship owner or his agent evidencing the receipt of the goods mentioned in B/L. The rights and obligations of the two parties are listed on the B/L. or transfer the title to the goods by transferring the B/L or secure loans against the B/L from the bank before the arrival of the shipment. .In accordance with the definition of marine B/L.  B/L is a document of title to the goods.

transferee and the bearer. Carrier refers to such persons who sign the shipment contract with shipper as shipping company or charterer without shipping vessel. bearer or the specified person written in named B/L.2 Parties in marine bill of lading Parties in marine bill of lading include carrier. consignee. notify party. Shipper is the party who reach the shipment contract with carrier. .9.  Shipper.  Consignee. Importer is often the consignee. Consignee may be the payee. shipper. Shipper could be the consignor or the consignee in accordance with the trade terms.1.  Carrier.

. The holder could be the consignee or the assignee. Transferee is the receiver of B/L after the endorsement or transfer and could claim the shipment to the carrier. Transferee. Notify party is the target one who is informed by the shipping company the arrival of shipment.   Notify party. Notify party could be importer or its agent. Bearer. Bearer is defined as the legal holder of B/L.

the following particulars are to be noted:  Consignor /Consignee/Party to be notified/Name of the vessel/Ship’s nationality/Voyage/Port of shipment and port of destination/Freight . See B/L sample (9-1) for reference.  On the face of the B/L.3 Contents of bill of lading The contents of a B/L consists of every liner company in the world has its own B/L form and clauses.9.1. but the basic contents are stipulated according to the International Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules of Law Relating to Bill of Lading.

weight or measurement. date. Declaration shall be made that the goods have been loaded on board in apparent good order and should be discharged at the port of destination or the port as near as the vessel may safely get and be always afloat. . Main particulars regarding the goods loaded on the steamer: description. marks. signature of the ship-owner or his agent or capital of the steamer.   Number of the copies of the B/L. number of package.

2 Clauses on the back of B/L  Clauses on the back of B/L can be classified into compulsory and non-compulsory. The contents of back clause are various for every signal carrier but normal contains the following items: .9. Clause on the back of B/L constitutes the evidence of liabilities and obligations and disputes settlement for parties involved in B/L.1.3. Non-compulsory clause is regulated by the carrier to define those which are not concluded adequately in compulsory clause. Compulsory clause restrains parties in B/L from breach maritime laws. international convention and harbors practices related.

         Definition for merchant. Lien clause Transshipment clause. Discharging and delivery clause Animals. plants and on deck cargo clause Dangerous cargo clause . Paramount clause for dispute settlement. Exception and claim clauses. Jurisdiction Clause Carrier’s responsibility and period of responsibility clauses. Packing and mark clause. Freight clause.

.  A received for shipment B/L is evidence given by the ship owner that the goods have been received for shipment but have not yet been actually loaded on a particular ship.4. only the shipped on board bill of lading is accepted by banks for payment under a letter of credit.4 Key classification of B/L 9.1. the B/L is divided into shipped on board B/L and received for shipment B/L. According to whether the goods have been loaded on board the vessel. It is therefore uncertain whether the goods would be shipped or loaded on board a vessel within a short period of time. According to general trade practices.1 shipped on board and received bill of lading  Criteria vary and classification of B/L could be various.9.  A shipped on board B/L is evidence that the goods have been loaded on board a certain steamer.1.

4. therefore making the bill of lading clean. .2 clean B/L and unclean B/L. The carrier undertakes full liability for the goods and will carry and deliver them in the same good order as he received them.  A clean B/L shows that the goods have been shipped on board a vessel in apparent good order or condition.  According to whether there are notes on the bill of loading.9.1. A clean B/L is issued to the shipper when the goods do not have any exterior defects at the port of shipment. there are words “shipped in apparent good order and condition”. Actually on every B/L. it falls into two kinds: clean B/L and unclean B/L. The carrier will be liable if the goods are found damaged. The carrier will not modify this statement if the goods are in good order.

.    Unclean bills of lading are generally marked “insufficiently packed”.. The notes do not indicate clearly that the goods or packing are unsatisfactory. “---packed in damaged condition” etc. The purpose of the note is to emphasize that the carrier shall not be responsible for the risks resulting from the quality of the goods or packing. “carton old and stained”. The bank will not accept the unclean B/L until the buyer agrees accordingly.g. “old packing” or “old carton” etc. The following kinds are not regarded as unclean bills of lading. But not all bills of lading which are noted are unclean bills of lading. e.

3 named. . a straight bill of lading is generally issued. or when the goods are extremely valuable. such as samples or exhibits. and blank B/L A named B/L is made out so that only the named consignee at the destination is entitled to take delivery of the goods under the bill. not to any third party in possession of the bill. it is divided into 3 kinds: straight B/L. order and blank bill of lading According to whether the B/L is transferable. So the bill is of very restricted application. The shipper cannot pass the bill to a third party by endorsement. When the goods are shipped on a non-commercial basis.   9. The consignee is designated the shipper.4. This kind bill of lading is not transferable. The carrier has to hand over the cargo to the named consignee. order B/L.1.

. If the shipper does not endorse such a bill. When the bill is made out “to order of shipper” it is necessary for the shipper to endorse the bill either in blank or in full. he reserves the right to dispose of the goods to himself. This kind of bill may be transferred after endorsement. There usually appear in the box of consignee words like “to bearer” and the holder of the B/L can take delivery of the goods against the surrender of B/L. to the consignee to whom he wishes the delivery of the goods is to be made. A blank bill of lading is also called open B/L or bearer B/L. It refers to the bill in which the name of a definite consignee is not mentioned.  An order bill of lading indicates that the bill is made out to the order of any person named in such a bill.

4.4 long form and short form of bill of lading  According to the contents of the B/L.1. it can be divided into 2 forms. .9.  A short form B/L is a document which omits the terms and conditions on the back of the B/L. A long form B/L is applicable for all countries.  A Long Form B/L refers to the bill of lading on the back of which all the detailed terms and conditions about the rights and obligations of the carrier and the consignor are listed as an integral part of the bill. Only America accepts short form B/L.

 A freight to be collected B/L refers to the B/L on which “freight payable at destination” is indicated.  A freight prepaid B/L means that all the freight is paid by the consignor when the B/L is issued by the carrier. .1. it can be divided into 2 types.9.5 freight prepaid and freight to be collected bill of lading  According to the time for payment of freight.4.

it can be divided into 2 categories.  A Master B/L means the B/L is issued by the actual carrier directly to the consignor.9.  A House B/L is issued by NVOCC ( Nonvessel Operating Common Carrier ) to the consignor under the authorization of the shipping company.6 Master and house bill of lading  According to the issuance party of B/L.1. .4.

.9.1.1 Ante-dated B/L  When the actual loading date is slightly later than the date of shipment stipulated in the L/C. will issue the bill of lading to the shipper an ante-dated B/L so as to meet the requirement of the L/C.1. On Deck and advanced bill of lading 9. The shipping carrier does not issue ante-dated bill of lading.4.4. the carrier sometimes. at the request of the shipper.7 Other Types of B/L : Ante-dated.7.

4. In accordance with UCP600.7. .2 On Deck B/L  On Deck B/L is issued when the goods are stowed on deck. The carrier shall not be responsible for the damage to and losses of the deck goods.1.9. the on deck B/L is not be accepted by the bank provided that specified in L/C.

the advanced bill of lading is required by the shipper for meeting requirement specified in L/C.7. The shipping carrier does not issue ante-dated bill of lading.1.4.3 advanced bill of lading  Advanced bill of lading is issued at the date which is prior to the shipped on board date. . Similar to anti-dated bill of lading.9.

Protocol to Amend the International Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules of Law Relating to Bills of Lading (The Visby Rules) and United Nations Convention on the Carriage of Goods by Sea.9. This law follows the belief of The Visby Rules and introduces some rational parts in The Hamburg Rules. In China. Maritime Law in 1993 was the first law with regard to maritime transport and carriers. 1978 (The Hamburg Rules).1.5 B/L Maritime Laws and Rules   International laws and rules critical to B/L are: General Rules of Law Relating to Bills of Lading (The Hague Rules) . .

The carrier requires publicly loss of B/L without any dissent for a certain period of and then releases the cargo to the consignee.1.9. the consignee cannot deliver the goods until the shipper agrees the consignee with a bank’s letter of guarantee at hand to certify. when claiming cargo to the carrier. After one of the original B/L has accomplished the formality of taking delivery. .6 Copies and disposal in case of loss   Every B/L has its original and negotiable forms in triplicate and non-negotiable copies. Provided that the B/L is lost. The nonnegotiable copies are only for kind reference. the others stand null and void.

the country’s name should be added thereafter. port of loading.1.9. Provided that the shipment is transshipped during the cruise. If port of discharge is overlapping. (3) The head and the endorsement should be in completed correct. And if the port of discharge is optimal. . the port of discharge should be transshipment port and the final port of destination should be shown in item “FINAL DESTINATION”. (2) B/L must not show “on deck shipment”. ( 4 ) Loading date.8 Essentials of B/L review      (1) B/L must be clear and shipped on board B/L. all port names should be listed as “OPTION LONDON/ROTTERDAM/HAMBURG" in this item. The optional ports should not be more than three in number and be on the same line. port of discharge and port of destination should be typed in accordance with L/C regulations.

(8) The full set of B/L is a must in case of ordered B/L.” freight prepaid”. (7) "Freight paid”.” freight to be collected" must appear on B/L in accordance with price term specified in the credit. . (6) Marking should be in conformity with that of invoice.    (5) Shipment cargo should be the same with cargo description of invoice.

9. but it is not a document of title or negotiable instrument as a bill of lading.1 Definition and function of an Air Waybill Air waybill (AWB) is a receipt from the airline acknowledging the receipt of the consignment from the shipper and a contract of carriage between the airline and the shipper. AWB function can be read as followed: . as the consignee takes the delivery of the cargo against of arrival notice given by the carrier. An air waybill is equivalent to an ocean B/L. Hence collection cannot be used for the payment of the goods to be transported by air.2 airway bill and railway bill   9.2.

AWB is the reference ( Original 2 ) for air carrier business operation. . AWB is the bill reference charged by the airline company. AWB is a must for customs declaration.      AWB is a receipt for the goods issued by airline’s agent evidencing the receipt of the goods mentioned in AWB. AWB can be regarded as insurance policy. AWB is evidence of the contract of carriage between the consignor and the airline company.

AWB can be divided into the two kinds: Master Air Waybill (MAWB) means its issuer is air carrier and the shipping contract between the air carrier and air freight forwarding authorized agent.2 Types of Air Waybill    According to the issuer.2. House Air Waybill (HAWB) is issued by the authorized forwarding agent and constituents the contract between the forwarder and the consignor. .9.

2.2. which concludes the following items: First departure airport IATA code.3 Contents of an AWB and its key points 9. city. Issuing carrier’s agent name.1 Contents of an AWB Unlike B/L. Others for Customs. Cargo description of.         9. freight and rates. Name , address and account No. Dispatching dates and cruises including transshipment information. . if necessary of the shipper and consignee.3. the contents of an AWB is tiny in difference in forms. if necessary. insurance and handling. since most airlines take the IATA (International Air Transport Association ) AWB known as neutral AWB to regulate the contents of an AWB. IATA code and account No.

The consignee indicated in an AWB. Only the consignee typed in an AWB has the right for cargo delivery.3. original 2 is transferred to the consignee accompanying the flight and original 3 delivers to the shipper for Bill Purchased (B P).2 Key points for attention in an AWB Issuer of an AWB. Provided otherwise stipulated in L/C. . An AWB has its triplicate originals.2. which should in strict conformity with regulations in L/C. the bank rejects an AWB issued by transport agencies. The right can dully be transferred to the bank in case of blank indication of consignee in L/C. Numbers of an AWB. in which original 1 is for issuing carrier.    9.

  The bank will check the airway bill in accordance with the commercial invoice or the packing list related in the following essential aspects: 1) The consignor. which should be in strict conformity with the drawer of the commercial invoice. .

description of goods. gross weight and measurement should agree with those in the commercial invoice and other documents. quantity. 3) Marks.    2) The consignee. which should be the same with the buyer in the commercial invoice in terms of name and address in case no description of the consignee in the airway bill. 4) The air freight and the its payment ( prepaid or to be collected) ; 5) The signature of the carrier or the carrier’s agent and the signature’s compliance. .

which acts as a contract between railway carrier at the place of cargo receipt and the related consignee and the evidence of liabilities and obligations of parties involved. A Railway Bill ( RWB) or cargo receipt will be issued when the cargo are transported by rail. .

  9.5 Functions of a Railway Bill A Railway Bill is in duplicate and only functions for transport contract and cargo receipt.2. .

which should be the drawer of the commercial invoice.2.6 Essentials of a Railway Bill The bank will check the railway bill in accordance with the commercial invoice related in the following essential aspects: the consignor.   9. .

description of goods. provided that the consignee dose not been specified in the L/C and other documents involved. which should be the applicant of the L/C. .   the consignee. The confirmed weight and the total weight should be the same with gross weight in the commercial invoice. Marks. the consignee designated by the L/C or the buyer in the contract. packing and the total items should agree with those in the commercial invoice. numbers of items.

9. 9. .1 Multi-modal Transport and characteristics International Multi-modal Transport is the transportation of unit loads in such a way that they can be transferred between two or more modes successively with the minimum of remanding by International Multi-modal Transport Operator ( MTO ) .3 Multimodal transport documents    International Multimodal Transport derives from the booming development of international containerization since 1950.3.

MTO is liability for the whole voyage upon issuing the international Multimodal Transport Document.9. in which maritime shipping is a necessity.3 Multimodal transport documents     The characteristics associated with International Multi-modal Transport can be found as the followings: Two or more modes of transport must be adopted.   .

2 Characteristics of and contents in Multi-modal Transport Document The multi-modal transport document (M.) is a document which evidences the combined transport contract and indicates that the multi-modal transport operator shall take over the goods and shall be responsible for delivering the document according to the clause in the contract.   .3 Multimodal transport documents    9.9.3.T.D.

D. in terms of vessel name.T. 3) The bank can accept the M.D. 4) FCA 、 CPT and CIP can make M. port of loading and port of discharge with “intended” and similar expressions.3 Multimodal transport documents       Characteristics attributes to the M.9.O. 2) The liability of M. are: 1) Two or more successive modes of transport are undertaken.   . feasible.T.T.D.T. ranges from the receipt to delivery of the said cargo.

issuing date and place.T.D. Negotiability claim.D.T. M. should contain the particulars below: Cargo description.O. Others necessary. Transport modes and cruise.3 Multimodal transport documents          A M. M.T. business name and address.   .9. receipt and delivery time and locations. Name of consignor and consignee and freight settlement.