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Copyright © International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). All rights reserved.
( Source of the document: ICC Digital Library )
by Dan Taylor
The introduction to the 1974 revision of the UCP perhaps best summarizes, in general terms, the changes from the 1962 UCP.
“For many years the ICC Banking Commission has contributed to the facilitation of international trade through the formulation of sets of rules governing documentary credits. The last (1962) revision of the Uniform Customs and Practice for Documentary Credits, published as ICC Brochure 222, was used by the banks and banking associations of virtually every country and territory in the world“Considerable changes have since taken place in international trading and transport techniques. Terms of purchase and sale have swung from the traditional FOB and CIF towards ‘Delivered to Buyer’s Premises’, and the through, multi-modal movement of unitized cargo is increasingly competing with the traditional single-mode carriage of break-bulk cargo. Consequential changes have become necessary in documentary credit practice“Therefore we have taken a careful and critical look at the 1962 rules, amending them as appropriate to fit the 1970’s and prepare for the 1980’s. The changes made particularly concern the documentary aspects of multi-modal transport and unitized cargoes, the easier production and processing of documents in ‘short form’, and the problem of ‘stale’ documents.”
As stated in this introduction, perhaps the most significant change in international trade was the introduction of unitized or containerized cargo. While the use of containers for shipment began in the 1950s, it was not until the International Standards Organization (ISO) created global standards that the use of containers became commonplace. Standards for containers were issued by ISO between 1968 and 1970, ensuring interchangeability between different modes of transportation worldwide.
Relatively few changes of significance were made in the 1974 revision of the UCP. Those of significance were:
Publication No. 290
GENERAL PROVISIONS AND DEFINITIONS
A. FORM AND NOTIFICATION OF CREDITS
A revocable credit may be amended or cancelled at any moment without prior notice to the beneficiary. However, the issuing bank is bound to reimburse a branch or other bank to which such a credit has been transmitted and made available for payment, acceptance or negotiation, for any payment, acceptance or negotiation complying with the terms and conditions of the credit and any amendments received up to the time of payment, acceptance or negotiation made by such branch or other bank prior to receipt by it of notice of amendment or of cancellation.
When a bank is instructed by cable, telegram or telex to issue, confirm or advise a credit similar in terms to one previously established and which has been the subject of amendments, it shall be understood that the details of the credit being issued, confirmed or advised will be transmitted to the beneficiary excluding the amendments, unless the instructions specify clearly any amendments which are to apply.
If incomplete or unclear instructions are received to issue, confirm or advise a credit, the bank requested to act on such instructions may give preliminary notification of the credit to the beneficiary for information only and without responsibility; in this event the credit will be issued, confirmed or advised only when the necessary information has been received.
B. LIABILITIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
Banks must examine all documents with reasonable care to ascertain that they appear on their face to be in accordance with the terms and conditions of the credit. Documents which appear on their face to be inconsistent with one another will be considered as not appearing on their face to be in accordance with the terms and conditions of the credit.
Banks assume no liability or responsibility for the form, sufficiency, accuracy, genuineness, falsification or legal effect of any documents, or for the general and/or particular conditions stipulated in the documents or superimposed thereon; nor do they assume any liability or responsibility for the description, quantity, weight, quality, condition, packing, delivery, value or existence of the goods represented thereby, or for the good faith or acts and/or omissions, solvency, performance or standing of the consignor, the carriers or the insurers of the goods or any other person whomsoever.
Banks assume no liability or responsibility for the consequences arising out of delay and/or loss in transit of any messages, letters or documents, or for delay, mutilation or other errors arising in the transmission of cables, telegrams or telex. Banks assume no liability or responsibility for errors in translation or interpretation of technical terms, and reserve the right to transmit credit terms without translating them.
Banks assume no liability or responsibility for consequences arising out of the interruption of their business by Acts of God, riots, civil commotions, insurrections, wars or any other causes beyond their control or by any strikes or lockouts. Unless specifically authorised, banks will not effect payment, acceptance or negotiation after expiration under credits expiring during such interruption of business.
A paying or negotiating bank which has been authorized to claim reimbursement from a third bank nominated by the issuing bank and which has effected such payment or negotiation shall not be required to confirm to the third bank that it has done so in accordance with the terms and conditions of the credit.
C.1. Documents evidencing shipment or dispatch or taking in charge (shipping documents)
Except as stated in Article 20, the date of the Bill of Lading, or the date of any other document evidencing shipment or dispatch or taking in charge, or the date indicated in the reception stamp or by notation on any such document, will be taken in each case to be the date of shipment or dispatch or taking in charge of the goods.
Shipping documents which bear a clause on the face thereof such as “shipper’s load and count” or “said by shipper to contain” or words of similar effect, will be accepted unless otherwise specified in the credit.
C.1.1 Marine Bills of Lading
C.1.2 Combined transport documents
C.1.3 Other shipping documents etc.
Banks will consider a Railway or Inland Waterway Bill of Lading or Consignment Note, Counterfoil Waybill, Postal Receipt, Certificate of Mailing, Air Mail Receipt, Air Waybill, Air Consignment Note or Air Receipt, Trucking Company Bill of Lading or any other similar document as regular when such document bears the reception stamp of the carrier or his agent, or when it bears a signature purporting to be that of the carrier or his agent.
Where a credit calls for an attestation or certification of weight in the case of transport other than by sea, banks will accept a weight stamp or declaration of weight superimposed by the carrier on the shipping document unless the credit calls for a separate or independent certificate of weight.
C.2 Insurance documents
Unless otherwise specified in the credit, or unless the insurance documents presented establish that the cover is effective at the latest from the date of shipment or dispatch or, in the case of combined transport, the date of taking the goods in charge, banks will refuse insurance documents presented which bear a date later than the date of shipment or dispatch or, in the case of combined transport, the date of taking the goods in charge, as evidenced by the shipping documents.
Where a credit stipulates “insurance against all risks”, banks will accept an insurance document which contains any “all risks” notation or clause, and will assume no responsibility if any particular risk is not covered.
Banks will accept an insurance document which indicates that the cover is subject to a franchise or an excess (deductible), unless it is specifically stated in the credit that the insurance must be issued irrespective of percentage.
C.3 Commercial invoices
C.4 Other documents
When other documents are required, such as Warehouse Receipts, Delivery Orders, Consular Invoices, Certificates of Origin, of Weight, of Quality or of Analysis etc. and when no further definition is given, banks will accept such documents as tendered.
D. MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS
Quantity and amount
a) Partial shipments are allowed, unless the credit specifically states otherwise.
b) Shipments made on the same ship and for the same voyage, even if the Bills of Lading evidencing shipment “on board” bear different dates and/or indicate different ports of shipment, will not be regarded as partial shipments.
If shipment by instalments within given periods is stipulated and any installment is not shipped within the period allowed for that installment, the credit ceases to be available for that or any subsequent instalments, unless otherwise specified in the credit.
All credits, whether revocable or irrevocable, must stipulate an expiry date for presentation of documents for payment, acceptance or negotiation, notwithstanding the stipulation of a latest date for shipment.
The words “to”, “until”, “till” and words of similar import applying to the stipulated expiry date for presentation of documents for payment, acceptance or negotiation, or to the stipulated latest date for shipment, will be understood to include the date mentioned.
Shipment, loading or dispatch
Notwithstanding the requirement of Article 37 that every credit must stipulate an expiry date for presentation of documents, credits must also stipulate a specified period of time after the date of issuance of the Bills of Lading or other shipping documents during which presentation of documents for payment, acceptance or negotiation must be made. If no such period of time is stipulated in the credit, banks will refuse documents presented to them later than 21 days after the date of issuance of the Bills of Lading or other shipping documents.
Banks are under no obligation to accept presentation of documents outside their banking hours.
The terms “first half ”, “second half ” of a month shall be construed respectively as from the 1st to the 15th, and the 16th to the last day of each month, inclusive.
The terms “beginning”, “middle”, or “end” of a month shall be construed respectively as from the 1st to the 10th, the 11th to the 20th, and the 21st to the last day of each month, inclusive.
When a bank issuing a credit instructs that the credit be confirmed or advised as available “for one month”, “for six months” or the like, but does not specify the date from which the time is to run, the confirming or advising bank will confirm or advise the credit as expiring at the end of such indicated period from the date of its confirmation or advice.
The fact that a credit is not stated to be transferable shall not affect the beneficiary’s rights to assign the proceeds of such credit in accordance with the provisions of the applicable law.