by Haluk Erdemol

Since the ISBP, ICC Publication 645, was prepared during the lifetime of UCP 500, its update with the purpose of aligning it with UCP 600 was expected by all parties concerned. The UCP 600 Drafting Group reviewed and updated the ISBP to bring its contents in line with the substance and style of the new rules, thus creating the new Publication No.681, the content of which was approved by the Banking Commission unanimously during its April Meeting in Singapore. The updated ISBP was published to coincide with the implementation of UCP 600 on 1 July 2007.


The first necessity was to replace UCP 500 article numbers with those of UCP 600. Second, where it was felt appropriate, the content of some paragraphs that appear in Publication 645 and that have been covered in UCP 600 have been removed from the updated version of the ISBP. This explains the reduction in the number of paragraphs from 200 to 185. I shall try to identify what has been removed, amended and added by noting the respective paragraph number of the "old" ISBP and giving the corresponding new number as it appears in the new version, section-by-section.

General principles

- Paragraph 16 of ISBP 645 concerning the latest date for presentation versus presentation of original transport documents has been removed, since its contents have now been covered in UCP 600 sub-article 14(c).

- Paragraph 23 concerning words and phrases such as "prompt", "immediately", etc., has been removed, because its contents have been covered in UCP 600 article 3 under Interpretations.

- Paragraph 24 (Inconsistency in the documents) has been removed, since its contents now appear in UCP 600 subarticle 14(d), which changes the expression "inconsistent" to become "not in conflict with... ". This substitution has also been made in other paragraphs wherever the word "inconsistent" appeared.

- Paragraph 32 has been restructured in the new ISBP 681 paragraph 29 while retaining its provisions concerning the number of originals to be presented. The first sentence of paragraph 32 is now reflected in UCP 600 sub-article 17(a)

- The last line of paragraph 33(c) (now 30(c)) concerning acceptance of an original in lieu of a copy has been removed, since the practice in question is covered in UCP 600 sub-article 17(d).

- Paragraph 34 (now 31) further clarifies, using additional words, that an original transport document will not be acceptable if a credit indicates the disposal instruction for the original or originals of transport documents and calls for a copy.

- The new paragraph 32 clarifies that copies of documents need not be signed. This point was covered in UCP 500 sub-article 20(c)(i).

- Paragraph 35 (now 33) contains updated remarks stating that its contents are in addition to UCP 600 article 17 and confirms that the ICC Decision on Original Documents (Document No. 470/871rev) remains valid under UCP 600. The same statement is repeated in the updated ISBP paragraphs concerning full sets of originals of multimodal transport documents (new 70), bills of lading (new 93) and charter party B/Ls (new 117).

Drafts and calculation of maturity date

- Sub-paragraph 45(d) (now 43(d)) has been shortened to reflect the fact that while UCP 500 provided no guidance concerning the words "from" and "after" in determining maturity dates of drafts, this is now covered in UCP 600 article 3.

- The last line of sub-paragraph 48(b) (now 46(b)) has been amended to reflect that an acceptance of the draft should be no later than the date the issuing bank accepts a waiver from the applicant.

- Paragraph 56 (now 54) has been restructured in line with UCP 600 subarticle 6(c), clarifying the fact that a credit may call for a draft drawn on the applicant as one of the required documents, but a credit must not be issued available by such a draft.


- Paragraphs 60 and 61 have been removed due to the inclusion of their contents in UCP 600 sub-articles 18(a)(i) and (ii) concerning the issuance of invoices by the beneficiary, in the name of the applicant, and sub-article 14(j) concerning the disregarding of contact details related to the addresses of the beneficiary or applicant.

- Paragraphs 62 and 63 (now 58 and 59), in line with UCP 600 sub-article 18(c), use the words "services or performance" in addition to "goods" to complement descriptions that may appear in an invoice.

- Paragraph 71 has been removed due to the inclusion of the subject matter (originals and copies) in UCP 600 article 17.

Multimodal Transport Documents

- The title of this section is now "Transport Document Covering at Least Two Different Modes of Transport".

- In line with the change made in UCP 600, multimodal transport documents now precede other transport documents in the new paragraph numbers 68 to 90 as opposed to paragraphs 120 to 143 in Publication 645. This reflects the importance of MTDs in current practice and the fact that this is the most common form of transport document issued today.

- "Multimodal Transport Operator" as one of the signing parties in paragraph 123 (now 71) has been excluded. Another change is that the master's name need not be stated if an agent signs on behalf of the master. This change is repeated under the respective paragraphs for "Bill of Lading" and "Charter Party B/L".

- Paragraph 131 (now 79) changes "mode of transport" to "means of conveyance" in order to focus on the correct criteria in defining transhipment, i.e., the vehicle rather than the mode. The last sentence concerning where transhipment is prohibited has been removed for the obvious reason that such a prohibition is meaningless for an MTD, as already reflected in the position taken in UCP 600 subarticle 19(c)(ii).

- Paragraph 135 regarding whether the word "clean" has to appear on a transport document has been removed as it is now covered in UCP 600 article 27. This removal is applicable also for other pertinent paragraphs - 91, 112 and 161.

- Paragraph 142 (now 89) has the additional words "costs covering the late return of containers", which is given as an example for costs which may be levied as a result of a delay in unloading goods or after the goods have been unloaded. The said example is repeated under paragraph 113 concerning the bill of lading.

- Paragraph 143 (now 90) concerning goods covered by more than one MTD incorporates additional wording reading "and the document states that all multimodal transport documents must be surrendered", thereby emphasizing that only where there is evidence on the transport document that all the transport documents covering the goods loaded into the container must be surrendered for the release of cargo to occur, will the document be considered discrepant. The said addition is repeated in the last paragraph (114) for a bill of lading.

Ocean/Marine Bills of Lading covering port-to-port shipment

This section has now been titled "Bill of Lading".

- Paragraphs 73 and 74 (now 91 and 92) can be read together. The expression "covering port-to-port shipment", which appeared in paragraph 73 of Publication 645, has been rephrased in the new Paragraph 91 to read "covering sea shipment only". The addition of the word "only", when read in conjunction with the expression "a bill of lading must appear to cover a portto- port shipment", now included in the new paragraph 92, can be interpreted as guidance to the parties not to use "Place" boxes in B/Ls for inland locations, which was formerly the case in light of UCP 500 sub-articles 23(a)(ii) (last paragraph) and (iii)(a). Consequently, when an applicant knows that one or both "Place" boxes for inland locations will appear, or is required to appear, within the transport document, the parties should call for an MTD instead of a B/L. This has been clarified further by the establishment of fields 44A, 44B, 44E and 44F in SWIFT messages, so that the routing of the goods may be properly reflected in the credit and the transport document called for.

- Paragraph 82 concerning whether CY or CFS, if shown as a place of receipt with the same name of the port of loading, has been removed due to the fact that sub-article 19(a)(ii) states "indicate that the goods have been dispatched, taken in charge or shipped on board at the place stated in the credit" [emphasis added] and sub-article 20 (a) (ii) states "indicate that the goods have been shipped on board a named vessel at the port of loading stated in the credit [emphasis added]. These conditions emphasize the need for the transport document to clearly indicate that any statement of dispatch, taking in charge or shipped on board, relates to the place or port stated in the credit.

- Paragraph 88 concerning cases of prohibited transhipments has been removed, as this is covered in article 20.

Charter Party Bill of Lading

- Paragraph 100 (now 115) concerning application of UCP 600 article 22 deletes the words "port-to-port shipment" and adds "or if a credit allows presentation of a charter party bill of lading".

- Paragraph 103 (now 118) includes a new signing party that may appear as the "charterer" and further clarifies that the name of the charterer and the name of the owner must appear in case an agent signs the document.

Air Transport Document

- Paragraphs 150 and 151 have been revised in line with UCP 600 sub-article 23(a)(iii) and restructured to form the new paragraph 140, which has now been aligned with the other transport articles concerning the determination of the shipment date when a separate notation of the flight date is shown on an air transport document. A flight date shown in an air transport document will always be taken as the date of shipment, whether required by the credit or not. Reference flight data appearing in the box "for carriers use only" that can be disregarded has now been expanded to include any other information appearing within the document - not just the box referenced above.

- Paragraph 157 concerning cases of prohibited transhipments has been removed, as this is covered in article 23.

Road, Rail or Inland Waterway Transport Documents

No change.

Insurance Documents

The title of this section is now "Insurance Document and Coverage"

- Paragraph 183 (now 170) renders more specific the general term "insurance document" by explaining that the term includes an "insurance policy", an "insurance certificate" or a "declaration under an open cover".

- In paragraphs 184 and 185 (now 171 and 172) a "proxy" has been added as a party who can sign an insurance document on behalf of an insurance company or underwriter.

- Paragraph 186 (now 173) recognizes that there may be reference in an insurance document to exclusion clauses commonly used by the insurance industry as standard requirements, including those relating to acts of terrorism, even if a credit is explicit with regard to risks to be covered. This contrasts with the former ISBP wording, which stated that "there must be no exclusions referenced in the document with respect to those risks."

- Paragraph 188 concerning coverage of risks between two points has been removed, because its contents are covered in UCP 600 sub-article 28(f)(iii).

- Paragraph 189 concerning the link between the shipment date and the effective date of the insurance cover has been removed, because its contents now appear in UCP 600 sub-article 28(e).

- Paragraph 191 (now 176) concerning the currency and amount in an insurance document has been shortened by retaining only its first and last sentences, thereby avoiding repetition of what is already included in UCP 600 sub-article 28(f)(ii).

Certificates of Origin

No change.


Although the new Publication 681 has been characterized as an "update" rather than a "revision" of the ISBP, the changes above make it clear that practitioners would do well to have this version at hand when working with UCP 600.

Haluk Erdemol was a member of the task force that developed the original version of the ISBP 645. His email is