1. The Two-Party Delivery
    In the simplest delivery, the seller/exporter notifies the buyer/importer when the goods are ready for delivery, and the buyer sends its truck to the seller’s loading dock, takes delivery of the goods and hauls them back to the buyer’s facility, or the seller loads its own truck and transports the goods to the buyer’s receiving facility.
    However, because most sellers and buyers are not close to each other, it is more common for the parties to rely on a third party: a carrier that usually maintains its own trucks, containers, rolling stock, ocean-going vessels or aircraft as part of its carrier business.

  1. The Role of Carriers
    If the seller and the buyer are located near the carrier’s facilities, it may be that the seller can deliver the goods to the carrier at the loading point and that the buyer can take delivery of the goods at the unloading point (see Illustration 2-1). Because many sellers and many buyers are not located at a point close to such facilities, transporting the merchandise often involves more than one mode of transport, perhaps, say, by truck from the seller’s plant to a railroad depot, from there by rail to a deep-water port, from that port to a port in the buyer’s market, then by rail to a depot and by truck to the buyer’s plant or warehouse.


  1. Transport Industry Parties
    The transport industry has responded to the complexity of the international transportation of goods and commodities in a number of ways, and various participants in the transport industry have emerged:
    • Freight forwarders
      The freight forwarder is a travel agent for freight. A forwarder arranges for the transport of the seller’s goods. Often the forwarder will consolidate shipments, by say, consolidating three or four shipments into one container, in order to obtain better prices for its customers. Some forwarders market themselves as “freight consolidators”.
    • MTOs and NVOCCs
      Beyond merely arranging transportation, companies known as multimodal transport operators (MTOs) contract to deliver goods from a specified pick-up point to a specified delivery point by multiple modes of conveyance. This is often handled by subcontracting parts of the journey to other carriers. Indeed, some carriers own no means of transport themselves and subcontract every leg. The industry calls them “non-vessel-operating common carriers” or NVOCCs. Many NVOCCs are owned by or affiliated with freight forwarders.
    • Customs brokers
      Just as there are people who arrange shipment for the seller, there are people who arrange to bring goods through customs for the buyer. They are “customs brokers”. Many freight forwarders are also customs brokers.
    • Shippers
      Do not be confused by the term “shipper”. It usually refers to the seller or another party that contracts for the carriage of the goods, i.e. the person for whom the carrier carries the goods. The “shipper” is not the carrier.
    • Transport documents
      The transport document operates as a receipt for the goods and a contract for the transport of the goods. When carriage includes an ocean leg, the document may, as a matter of custom, also operate as a document of title that stands for the goods themselves. In its role as a document of title, the transport document facilitates a number of the documentary credit’s features (see chapter VI; chapter XIV, section 4; and chapter XVI, section 8).
    • Consignees
      The contract of carriage, the transport document, lists the person to whom the goods are to be delivered. When the transport document is not being used as a title document, the buyer is usually the consignee. When the transport document serves as a title document, the goods will be consigned “to order of ” the party who initially controls title. Title is then transferred by endorsement (“deliver to the order of XYZ company”) and delivery of the transport document to subsequent title holders. The carrier will only deliver the goods to someone who can present an original transport document that has been properly endorsed to him at the place of delivery.

  1. Illustrations
    Illustration 2-1 shows an international shipment in which the seller arranges directly with the carrier for delivery directly to the buyer. Illustration 2-2 shows an international shipment in which the seller uses a freight forwarder or consolidator and the buyer uses a customs broker. These illustrations take on additional significance as we study the documentary draft transaction in chapter VI and the documentary credit transaction in chapters VII through XII.