What you know Bill of Lading

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What you know  Bill of Lading

What you know Bill of Lading

The bill of lading is one of the most important documents which accompanies  bills of exchange drawn under letter of credit.It is an evidence of the fact that goods have been dispatched by the exporter and gives the importer title of goods and enables him to collect them on arrival at destination.


A bill of lading is a document issued by shipping company and signed by the master of a ship or by the shipowners or their agents acknowledgement the receipt of specified goods for carriage and embodying an undertaking  that the goods will be delivered to a consignee named in the bill, or to his order or assigns or merely to order.The documents specifies the port of shipment, the destination, and conditions under which the goods are received for carriage.

It is at the same time a receipt  for goods delivered to the carrier for transportation, a contract between the shipper and the carrier for transportation of goods and their delivery to the consignee or his order and a documents of title to the goods giving the holder title to the goods mentioned.

Bills of lading are generally made out in the sets of two or three originals. All the originals duly signed by the master of the ship or the agent of the steamship company and all the originals are equally valid for taking the delivery of goods and once  one original copy is utilized the other originals  become null and void.

Great care is therefore, required to be exercised to ensure that full set of original bill of lading is obtained by the exporter from the shipping company and no original copy goes in the wrong hand.Few other copies of Bill of Lading are also issued which are  marked ‘ Non-Negotiable’ and cannot be utilised for taking the delivery of the goods.

Bill of Lading are  prepared by the shipper on forms supplied by the shipping company. Normally a bill of lading shows the date and place of shipment, the name of the carrying vessel, the name of the consignee, the port of destination, the number, contents and identification marks of the goods shipped and the amount of freight paid or to pay.The detailed particulars of the number of packages, the marks they bear,their contents, and the amount of the freight on them are entered in the space provided for them.

A bill of lading is not a negotiable instrument in terms of Negotiable instrument Act. It is a quasi- Negotiable instrument. It can be transferred by endorsement to other person. Goods shipped under a bill of lading can be delivered to a person named or to his order just to order in which case the title to the good can be transferred by endorsement and delivery of the bill of lading. It is not a fully negotiable instrument because the transferee acquires no better title than the transferor. In case of a wholly negotiable instrument the transferee get a title without any defect of the transferor’s title. It would be in the interest of the exporter that if he wants to get the bill purchased from some bank it should be consigned in favour of some bank. If a foreign trade contract provides for payment of freight by the consignor, bill of lading must be marked’ freight paid’, or a freight prepayable’ or ‘freight to be prepaid’ or words of similar effect appearing on the face of a bill of lading will not be accepted as evidence of the payment of freight. The carrier has a lien on the goods which he carries and has the right to refuse the delivery of goods until all charges are paid.

There can be many types of bill of lading. Some of these are acceptable whereas the other are not acceptable until the LC specifically permits.


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