International Standard Banking Practice

Bill of Lading

Paragraph E1 to E28


Application of UCP 600 Article 20

E1) a. A requirement in a credit for the presentation of a transport document, however named, only covering a port-to-port shipment, i.e., a credit that contains no reference to a place of receipt or taking in charge or place of final destination means that UCP 600 article 20 is to be applied in the examination of that document.

b. A bill of lading is not to contain any indication of a charter party as described in paragraphs G2) (a) and (b).

E2) A bill of lading need not be titled "marine bill of lading", "ocean bill of lading", "port-to-port bill of lading" or words of similar effect even when the credit so names the required document.

Issuance, carrier, identification of the carrier and signing of a bill of lading

E3) a. A bill of lading may be issued by any entity other than a carrier or master (captain), provided it meets the requirements of UCP 600 article 20.

b. When a credit indicates "Freight Forwarder's Bill of Lading is acceptable" or "House Bill of Lading is acceptable" or words of similar effect, a bill of lading may be signed by the issuing entity without it being necessary to indicate the capacity in which it has been signed or the name of the carrier.

E4) A stipulation in a credit that "Freight Forwarder's Bills of Lading are not acceptable" or "House Bills of Lading are not acceptable" or words of similar effect has no meaning in the context of the title, format, content or signing of a bill of lading unless the credit provides specific requirements detailing how the bill of lading is to be issued and signed. In the absence of these requirements, such a stipulation is to be disregarded, and the bill of lading presented is to be examined according to the requirements of UCP 600 article 20.

E5) a. A bill of lading is to be signed in the form described in UCP 600 sub-article 20 (a) (i) and to indicate the name of the carrier, identified as the carrier.

b. When a bill of lading is signed by a named branch of the carrier, the signature is considered to have been made by the carrier.

c. When an agent signs a bill of lading for [or on behalf of] the carrier, the agent is to be named and, in addition, to indicate that it is signing as "agent for (name), the carrier" or as "agent on behalf of (name), the carrier" or words of similar effect. When the carrier is identified elsewhere in the document as the "carrier", the named agent may sign, for example, as "agent for [or on behalf of] the carrier" without naming the carrier again.

d. When the master (captain) signs a bill of lading, the signature of the master (captain) is to be identified as the "master" ("captain"). The name of the master (captain) need not be stated.

e. When an agent signs a bill of lading for [or on behalf of] the master (captain), the agent is to be named and, in addition, to indicate that it is signing as "agent for the master (or captain)", or as "agent on behalf of the master (or captain)" or words of similar effect. The name of the master (captain) need not be stated.

On board notation, date of shipment, pre-carriage, place of receipt and port of loading

E6) a. When a pre-printed "Shipped on board" bill of lading is presented, its issuance date will be deemed to be the date of shipment unless it bears a separate dated on board notation. In the latter event, such date will be deemed to be the date of shipment whether that date is before or after the issuance date of the bill of lading. The on board date may also be indicated in a designated field or box.

b. Notwithstanding that a credit may require a bill of lading to evidence a port-to-port shipment:

i. when a bill of lading indicates a place of receipt that is the same as the port of loading, for example, place of receipt Rotterdam CY and the port of loading Rotterdam, and there is no indication of a means of pre-carriage (either in the pre-carriage field or the place of receipt field); or

ii. when a bill of lading indicates a place of receipt different from the port of loading, for example, place of receipt Amsterdam and port of loading Rotterdam, and there is no indication of a means of pre-carriage (either in the pre-carriage field or the place of receipt field), then:

(a) when a bill of lading is pre-printed "shipped on board", the date of issue will be deemed to be the date of shipment, and no further on board notation is required.

(b) when a bill of lading is pre-printed "received for shipment", a dated on board notation is required, and the date appearing in the notation will be deemed to be the date of shipment. The on board date may also be indicated in a designated field or box.

c. Notwithstanding that a credit may require a bill of lading to evidence a port-to-port shipment, when a bill of lading:

i. indicates a place of receipt different from the port of loading, for example, place of receipt Amsterdam and port of loading Rotterdam, and there is an indication of a means of pre-carriage (either in the pre-carriage field or the place of receipt field), regardless of whether it is pre-printed "shipped on board" or "received for shipment", it is to bear a dated on board notation which also indicates the name of the vessel and the port of loading stated in the credit. Such notation may also appear in a designated field or box. The date appearing in the on board notation or designated field or box will be deemed to be the date of shipment.

ii. indicates a means of pre-carriage (either in the pre-carriage field or the place of receipt field), no matter if no place of receipt is stated or whether it is pre-printed "shipped on board" or "received for shipment", it is to bear a dated on board notation which also indicates the name of the vessel and the port of loading stated in the credit. Such notation may also appear in a designated field or box. The date appearing in the on board notation or designated field or box will be deemed to be the date of shipment.

d. When a bill of lading indicates wording such as "When the place of receipt box has been completed, any notation on this bill of lading of "on board", "loaded on board" or words of similar effect shall be deemed to be on board the means of transportation performing the carriage from the place of receipt to the port of loading" or words of similar effect, and if, in addition, the place of receipt box is completed, a bill of lading is to bear a dated on board notation. The dated on board notation is also to indicate the name of the vessel and the port of loading stated in the credit. Such notation may also appear in a designated field or box. The date appearing in the on board notation or designated field or box will be deemed to be the date of shipment.

e. The named port of loading, as required by the credit, should appear in the port of loading field on a bill of lading. However, it may also be stated in the field headed "Place of receipt" or words of similar effect, provided there is a dated on board notation evidencing that the goods were shipped on board a named vessel at the port stated under "Place of receipt" or words of similar effect.

f. A bill of lading is to indicate the port of loading stated in the credit. When a credit indicates the port of loading by also stating the country in which the port is located, the name of the country need not be stated.

g. When a credit indicates a geographical area or range of ports of loading (for example, "Any European Port" or "Hamburg, Rotterdam, Antwerp Port"), a bill of lading is to indicate the actual port of loading, which is to be within that geographical area or range of ports. A bill of lading need not indicate the geographical area.

h. When a bill of lading indicates more than one port of loading, it is to evidence an on board notation with the relevant on board date for each port of loading, regardless of whether it is pre-printed "received for shipment" or "shipped on board". For example, when a bill of lading indicates that shipment has been effected from Brisbane and Adelaide, a dated on board notation is required for both Brisbane and Adelaide.

E7) Terms such as "Shipped in apparent good order", "Laden on board", "Clean on board" or other phrases that incorporate "shipped" or "on board" have the same effect as the words "Shipped on board".

Port of discharge

E8) a. The named port of discharge, as required by the credit, should appear in the port of discharge field within a bill of lading.

b. However, the named port of discharge may be stated in the field headed "Place of final destination" or words of similar effect provided there is a notation evidencing that the port of discharge is that stated under "Place of final destination" or words of similar effect. For example, when a credit requires shipment to be effected to Felixstowe, but Felixstowe is shown as the place of final destination instead of the port of discharge, this may be evidenced by a notation stating "Port of discharge Felixstowe".

E9) A bill of lading is to indicate the port of discharge stated in the credit. When a credit indicates the port of discharge by also stating the country in which the port is located, the name of the country need not be stated.

E10) When a credit indicates a geographical area or range of ports of discharge (for example, "Any European Port" or "Hamburg, Rotterdam, Antwerp Port"), a bill of lading is to indicate the actual port of discharge, which is to be within that geographical area or range of ports. A bill of lading need not indicate the geographical area.

Original bill of lading

E11) a. A bill of lading is to indicate the number of originals that have been issued.

b. Bills of lading marked "First Original", "Second Original", "Third Original", or "Original", "Duplicate", "Triplicate" or similar expressions are all originals.

Consignee, order party, shipper and endorsement, and notify party

E12)When a credit requires a bill of lading to evidence that goods are consigned to a named entity, for example, "consigned to (named entity)" (i.e., a "straight" bill of lading or consignment) rather than "to order" or "to order of (named entity)", it is not to contain the expressions "to order" or "to order of" preceding the named entity, or the expression "or order" following the named entity, whether typed or pre-printed.

E13) a. When a bill of lading is issued "to order" or "to order of the shipper", it is to be endorsed by the shipper. An endorsement may be made by a named entity other than the shipper, provided the endorsement is made for [or on behalf of] the shipper.

b. When a credit requires a bill of lading to evidence that goods are consigned "to order of (named entity)", it is not to indicate that the goods are straight consigned to that named entity.

E14) a. When a credit stipulates the details of one or more notify parties, a bill of lading may also indicate the details of one or more additional notify parties.

b. i. When a credit does not stipulate the details of a notify party, a bill of lading may indicate the details of any notify party and in any manner (except as stated in paragraph E14) (b) (ii)).

ii. When a credit does not stipulate the details of a notify party, but the details of the applicant appear as notify party on a bill of lading, and these details include the applicant's address and contact details, they are not to conflict with those stated in the credit.

E15) When a credit requires a bill of lading to evidence goods consigned to or to the order of "issuing bank" or "applicant" or notify "applicant" or "issuing bank", a bill of lading is to indicate the name of the issuing bank or applicant, as applicable, but need not indicate their respective addresses or any contact details that may be stated in the credit.

E16) When the address and contact details of the applicant appear as part of the consignee or notify party details, they are not to conflict with those stated in the credit.

Transhipment, partial shipment and determining the presentation period when multiple sets of bills of lading are presented

E17) Transhipment is the unloading and reloading of goods from one vessel to another during the carriage of those goods from the port of loading to the port of discharge stated in the credit. When a bill of lading does not indicate unloading and reloading between these two ports, it is not transhipment in the context of the credit and UCP 600 sub-articles 20 (b) and (c).

E18) Shipment on more than one vessel is a partial shipment, even if each vessel leaves on the same day for the same destination.

E19) a. When a credit prohibits partial shipment, and more than one set of original bills of lading are presented covering shipment from one or more ports of loading (as specifically allowed, or within a geographical area or range of ports stated in the credit), each set is to indicate that it covers the shipment of goods on the same vessel and same journey and that the goods are destined for the same port of discharge.

b. When a credit prohibits partial shipment, and more than one set of original bills of lading are presented in accordance with paragraph E19) (a) and incorporate different dates of shipment, the latest of these dates is to be used for the calculation of any presentation period and must fall on or before the latest shipment date stated in the credit.

c. When partial shipment is allowed, and more than one set of original bills of lading are presented as part of a single presentation made under one covering schedule or letter and incorporate different dates of shipment, on different vessels or the same vessel for a different journey, the earliest of these dates is to be used for the calculation of any presentation period, and each of these dates must fall on or before the latest shipment date stated in the credit.

Clean bill of lading

E20) A bill of lading is not to include a clause or clauses that expressly declare a defective condition of the goods or their packaging.

For example:

a. A clause on a bill of lading such as "packaging is not sufficient for the sea journey" or words of similar effect is an example of a clause expressly declaring a defective condition of the packaging.

b. A clause on a bill of lading such as "packaging may not be sufficient for the sea journey" or words of similar effect does not expressly declare a defective condition of the packaging.

E21)a. It is not necessary for the word "clean" to appear on a bill of lading even when the credit requires a bill of lading to be marked "clean on board" or "clean".

b. Deletion of the word "clean" on a bill of lading does not expressly declare a defective condition of the goods or their packaging.

Goods description

E22) A goods description indicated on a bill of lading may be in general terms not in conflict with the goods description in the credit.

Indication of name and address of delivery agent at port of discharge

E23) When a credit requires a bill of lading to indicate the name, address and contact details of a delivery agent or words of similar effect, at or for the port of discharge, the address need not be one that is located at the port of discharge or within the same country as that of the port of discharge.

Corrections and alterations ("corrections")

E24) Any correction of data on a bill of lading is to be authenticated. Such authentication is to appear to have been made by the carrier, master (captain) or any one of their named agents, who may be different from the agent that may have issued or signed a bill of lading, provided they are identified as an agent of the carrier or the master (captain).

E25) Non-negotiable copies of a bill of lading need not include authentication of any corrections that may have been made on the original.

Freight and additional costs

E26) A statement appearing on a bill of lading indicating the payment of freight need not be identical to that stated in the credit, but is not to conflict with data in that document, any other stipulated document or the credit. For example, when a credit requires a bill of lading to be marked "freight payable at destination", it may be marked "freight collect".

E27) a. When a credit states that costs additional to freight are not acceptable, a bill of lading is not to indicate that costs additional to the freight have been or will be incurred.

b. An indication of costs additional to freight may be made by express reference to additional costs or by the use of trade terms which refer to costs associated with the loading or unloading of goods, such as, but not limited to, Free In (FI), Free Out (FO), Free In and Out (FIO) and Free In and Out Stowed (FIOS).

c. Reference in a bill of lading to costs which may be levied, for example, as a result of a delay in unloading the goods, or after the goods have been unloaded (demurrage costs) or costs covering the late return of containers (detention costs) is not an indication of costs additional to freight.

Release of goods with more than one bill of lading to be surrendered

E28) A bill of lading is not to expressly state that goods covered by that bill of lading will only be released upon its surrender together with one or more other bills of lading, unless all of the referenced bills of lading form part of the same presentation under the same credit.

For example, "Container XXXX is covered by B/L No. YYY and ZZZ and can only be released to a single merchant upon presentation of all bills of lading of that merchant" is considered to be an express statement that one or more other bills of lading, related to the referenced container or packing unit, must be surrendered prior to the goods being released.