A sea bill of lading is a document that is issued by the carrier of the cargo to the sender. He records the logistic data necessary for subsequent customs clearance and issuing a declaration, confirms the right to receive the goods at the port. It includes a clause on the obligation to deliver products to the destination and transfer them to a specific recipient.
It is impossible to deliver by sea without concluding a contract with a carrier. All conditions of the concluded cooperation are transferred to the bill of lading. A contract is signed when accepting products on board the vessel. It serves as a full-fledged replacement for the act of acceptance and transfer of goods for its import or export .
Types of bills of lading and their purpose
In order for the bill of lading to have legal force and to protect the parties from possible fraud, it indicates the destination, detailed conditions for the carriage of a certain type of product, and the nuances of payment for the services provided. Additionally, you can specify the details of the parties and the account number for transferring funds for the services provided.
The agreement fulfills several important functions:
- acts as evidence of the conclusion of a contract with a sea carrier, fixing the obligations of both parties;
- confirms the obligations of the carrier related to the delivery of the goods and their transfer to the recipient;
- confirms the fact of acceptance of a certain volume on board;
- serves as a document accompanying the goods – it is impossible to pass customs control without this sheet.
A nominal bill of lading, non-negotiable, is transferred by nominal transfer inscriptions, that is, the goods belong to one, specifically defined owner. Order, also called negotiable, is transmitted by name or letterhead – during transportation, the owner can change, and the product itself can be the object of trade relations. To bearer – it is handed over from hand to hand, and the owner is not actually recorded. The latter type has practically lost its relevance in international trade.
The quantity and quality of the services provided determines what type of contract will be issued. The main ones are:
- direct – involves shipment between the direct ports of loading and unloading on the same vessel;
- through (feeder) allows you to reload products during transportation to another ship at an intermediate point, in accordance with agreements concluded with one or more carriers. Joint delivery presupposes predetermined areas of responsibility for each of the participants in the process – each carrier is responsible for the products on their “own” section of the route, therefore it is important to have clear boundaries in the document;
- groupage is issued for several types of goods intended for different recipients;
- local (home) allows accepting goods for transportation, but is not an accompanying permissive document for the goods, a waybill, but serves only for reporting in the port;
- linear is issued by those companies that operate regular flights on a pre-established route, with a specific schedule;
- dirty – special marks are made about the presence of damage to the transport object;
- insured – used for container transportation, serves as both a transport document and an insurance policy, proof of acceptance of the insured cargo, its readiness for transportation.
- multimodal is issued when several types of transport are used during transportation (not only sea, but also road or rail, air transport ).
There are a huge number of additional forms. The choice depends on the type of transportation, on the type of product and its value, on the degree of responsibility that the carrier is ready to bear.
Registration of a bill of lading and receipt of goods
A written bill of lading is not yet a guarantee of trouble-free receipt of cargo at the port. In real practice, in the end, errors may be made in the form, which affect the success of the transportations carried out. Therefore, it is necessary to take into account many important nuances.
The first of them is that only the owner of the original sample will be able to receive the goods. To avoid problems, up to three copies are written out, which are assigned serial numbers. One must be left on the line, while the others are handed over to the direct sender with whom the contract is concluded. Order bills of lading are handed over to the line in order to be able to find and check the data on the owner and recipient of the product, to make a calculation.
Copies may also be needed – they are presented at customs clearance, as well as for other legal transactions with goods. Copies are legally binding in all situations other than receipt of the shipment.
Before issuing the form, a draft version is drawn up, which has no legal force. It is only needed by the carrier who needs to familiarize himself with the information before signing the original document.
An additional problem can be the transfer of the bill of lading by the sender to the recipient of the product, who also desperately needs the original. Using the services of the post office, both parties run the risk, because the form may arrive at the destination with a delay, or it will be completely lost on the way.
To minimize risks, it is worth using the “release” service. It consists in transmitting data about the recipient directly through the sea line. There the document is “accepted” and the data is “transmitted” to the destination. That is, already upon the arrival of the vessel at the port, the receiving party will have all the necessary information about the recipient specified in the document. The price of the service may be different, but on average, you will have to pay $ 50 for one kilometer of the route that the product has to travel.
You can also use the “release” to hedge the parties against deception. If the goods were not paid for in advance, for example, the recipient doubts its quality and compliance with his requirements, and at the same time the sender is not ready to issue the product until the stage of receiving money for it, using the service will become a real way out of the situation. The seller calmly dispatches the goods, leaving the original bill of lading in his hands. When the goods arrive at the port, the buyer pays for it, and only after that he becomes the official recipient – the shipper receives the money and “hands over” the contract to the sea line to confirm the data.
The procedure takes only a few working days – information is transmitted over the Internet, and it takes a few minutes to receive it. But the extra time is used by shipping lines to check the data and enter them in a certain register.
Foreign economic activity (FEA) involves working with bills of lading, and therefore it is worth understanding all the procedures and subtleties of their registration, accreditation , receipt and transfer. If necessary, you can use the help of specialists who will help to carry out all the necessary operations in accordance with the legislation in force in the state.
Filling in the bill of lading
Correct filling of the form will protect the parties from problems with customs clearance, as well as from the loss of cargo, damage to its integrity. Therefore, the following information must be indicated in the form:
- the name of the vessel and the date of transfer of the cargo;
- name and contacts of the carrier;
- place of reception;
- data about the sender;
- recipient data.
It is also necessary to indicate the name of the product, marking, technical characteristics, the assigned code, mass, volume or weight (depending on the type). If there is such a need, indicate in the document data on the appearance of the goods, the quality of its packaging, the current state, and the main properties.
Additional data may include payments due to the carrier. It is also important to indicate the time and place of transfer of the bill of lading, the number of copies drawn up.
The carrier is responsible for the correct preparation of the form, who assumes the obligation to deliver the goods and hand them over to the recipient. At the same time, all parties must be careful when checking the document so that subsequently all the conditions for the sale and purchase of the goods are met in full.