How many types of Bill of Lading do you know?

Following are 18 types of Bill of Lading identified and described for understanding

Multimodal Transport Bill of Lading

A Multimodal Transport Bill of Lading is a bill of lading involving both sea and other transport modes but, with different carriers involved at each stage, e.g. another shipping company, a road haulier, a railway company, an air transport company, an inland shipping company, etc. The multimodal transport bill of lading is issued by the sea carrier and he states on it that he will be responsible for the goods during the entire period of transport.

The multimodal transport bill of lading can be issued as a negotiable bill of lading or as a non negotiable bill of lading.

Through Bill of Lading

The Through Bill of lading is virtually identical to the Multimodal Transport Bill of lading but with one major difference:

The Multimodal Transport Bill of Lading is issued by the Multimodal Transport Operator (MTO) (generally the sea carrier) and he takes responsibility of the goods (e.g. shortages, losses, damages) during the entire period of transport, thus not only for the sea passage but also for the other transport modes.

The Through Bill of Lading is issued by the sea carrier but he states on it that he is only responsible for the goods for that part of the carriage he takes care of, thus the sea passage.

Combined Transport Bill of Lading

The combined transport bill of lading covers transport from door-to-door by several modes of transport. It is usually used by liner companies who want to offer a full service to their customers by carrying their goods from door to door (and mainly in containers).

Combined transport is the combination of at least two types of transport in a uniform transport chain that does not involve the changing of transport units. Most of the journey is by rail, inland waterways or sea and any initial and/or final legs carried out with road transport are kept as short as possible.

The combined transport operator (CTO) takes responsibility for the goods throughout the entire journey.

The combined transport bill of lading can be issued as a negotiable bill of lading or as a non negotiable bill of lading.

Direct Bill of Lading or Port to Port Bill of Lading

A direct bill of lading is issued for the carriage of goods from one port to another port. The goods will normally not be transshipped although a clause may be inserted allowing the carrier to transship the goods. When such a transshipment exists, the goods will lie in the transshipment port at the merchant's risk.

Clean Bill of Lading

A clean bill of lading is a bill of lading without any restrictive clauses. It will only be delivered if the quantity of the goods is correct and if they are in apparent good order and condition and loaded under deck. If, during the loading of the cargo, the apparent good order and condition or the quantity, is different with the particulars given on the shipping permit, measurement slip, and mate's receipt, remarks will be entered by the head tallyman on the shipping permit and the measurement slip and by officer, responsible for the loading of the goods on board, on the mate's receipt (e.g. 5 bags less in dispute, 7 bars rusty, etc.). Later, these remarks, called restrictive clauses, will be copied on the bill of lading.

Consequently, a clean bill of lading is a bill of lading stating: "Shipped on board in apparent good order and condition" , without handwritten or stamped remarks (called restrictive clauses).

Remarks or clauses which do not refer to the quantity or the state of the goods, do not make the bill of lading "foul". The following clauses: "Carrier's liability ceases on transshipment in paper bags - carrier's rights reserved" or "Second hand drums" , or "Weak strapping" , etc. don't make the bill of lading "foul".

Foul Bill of Lading

Bill of lading with restrictive clauses are called "foul bills of lading" or "unclean bills of lading" , " claused bills of lading" or "dirty bills of lading".

As stated above, we can assume that when the mate's receipt is clean, the bill of lading will also be clean. On the other hand, if the mate's receipt is foul, the bill of lading will also be foul.

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Foul bills of lading are non-negotiable and are not accepted by banks. The bank will only pay the seller when he produces a full set of clean on board bills of lading . This means that the seller must receive clean on board bills of lading from the company or the shipping agent. This condition is clearly indicated on the shipping permit, mate's receipt and other similar documents.

It is senseless to be vague when restrictive clauses are entered into the bill of lading. All restrictive clauses must be detailed and limited:

  • not "bundles loose" but seven bundles loose" or "all bundles loose";
  • not "some bars rusty" but "eight bars rusty";
  • not "some barrels damaged" but "three barrels dented and leaking".

For most goods, the P & I Clubs and the insurance companies publish lists with standard clauses which are generally accepted by the courts. It is highly recommended to use these standard formulas rather than give one's own description of the apparent condition of the goods, in order to avoid differences in interpretation and misunderstandings with regard to the used terminology or the descriptions made.

For the description of a shipment of steel, which shows traces of rust, following clauses can be used:

— Partly rust stained;
— Rust stained;
— Rust spots apparent;
— Some rust spots apparent;
— Rust spots apparent on top sheets;

— Rusty edges;
— Some rusty ends;
— Rust and oil spotted;
— Wet before shipment;
— Covered with snow;
— Edges bent and rusty;
— Covers rusty/wet;
— Etc.

Received for Shipment Bill of Lading:

The BL merely acknowledges receipt of goods by the ship owners or their agents for shipment. Such a BL will contain a clause reading “Received in apparent good order and condition (or otherwise) for shipment by m.v………or the next following vessel”. It is compulsory to mention the name of the actual vessel in case of change of vessel after the issuance of Received for Shipment BL. This BL can be converted into “On-Board BL” after completion of loading by putting the notation “On-Board” Such notation will be dated and authenticated by the Shipping Company. In such cases, the date on notation shall be deemed as date of shipment.

Shipped Bill of Lading

B/L which certifies that the specified goods have been received in apparent good order and condition from the named shipper (consignor), and have been taken aboard the named ship (vessel) on the stated date. Banks funding a shipment require this type of B/L and not a received for shipment bill of lading. Also called onboard bill of lading.

Negotiable/Non Negotiable Bill of Lading

Negotiable bills of ladingare bills of lading which can be transferred to a third party by endorsement.

Therefore, the bill of lading must meet the following two conditions:

— it must be drawn up to order or to bearer;
— it has to be clean.

It follows that bills of lading to a named person and bills of lading with restrictive clauses (with regard to the quantity and the condition of the goods) are not negotiable.

In case of a bill of lading to a named person, only the consignee on who's name the bill of lading was made out, has the right to receive the goods.

Non-negotiable bills of ladingare bills of lading that, due to their nature, cannot be transferred to a third party. However, there a number of documents which are used as a replacement of the bill of lading and which, naturally, are never negotiable such as: the Sea Waybill, the Data Freight Receipt and the House  Bill of Lading.

These non-negotiable documents came into being out of necessity to create a document that did not have to be presented to the master at destination. The goods are delivered to the named consignee in the document who only has to prove his identity.

Stale Bill of Lading

Every credit which calls for a transport document(s) should also stipulate a specified period of time after the date of Shipment, during which presentation must be made in compliance with the terms and conditions of the credit. If no such period of time is stipulated, banks will not accept documents presented to them later than 21 days after the date of Shipment. In any event, documents must be presented not later than the expiry date of the credit.

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Charter Party Bill of Lading

“Charter Party” is a contract between the ship owners and the hirer who may hire the vessel on a voyage basis or duration basis. The document containing the terms and conditions of this contract are known as the Charter Party. The shipper who has chartered the ship may agree to carry the goods of others in the ship and issue a BL for the purpose. Such BL is called Charter Party BL. This kind of BL is subject to the terms and conditions agreed upon by the hirer of the ships / ship space and ship owners. Generally, banks do not accept Charter Party BL as the ship owner may exercise lien over the goods in case charterers do not pay hire charges.

Switch Bill of Lading

Often called “the trader’s second set” and intended to replace the first set of Bills of Lading issued. Usually used where a seller / trader wishes to keep the name of his supplier i.e. shipper, secret from ultimate buyer of the goods. Under this type of BL, only the name of the shipper and or consignee and or Notify Party can be changed. The normal BL has to be surrendered, but the BL number remains the same.

Master Bill of Lading

The MBL is issued by the original carrier/steamer agent or shipping line to freight forwarders, who generally consolidate, giving details of the cargo to be carried by the liner.

House Bill of Lading

The HBL is issued by the freight forwarders to the shipper, giving details of the consignment to be carried to the destination country. The HBL is generally issued by Non Vessel Operating Container Carriers (NVOCCs).

Container Bill of Lading

This type of BL indicates that goods are carried in a container as one unit of cargo. The container in which the goods are locked-in are generally numbered in a systematic manner indicating ownership, type of container, size of container and identification number. This facilities quicker loading/unloading at the port and thus avoids congestion.

Sea Waybill

The sea waybill is a document issued to a shipper by a shipping company and which serves as evidence of the a contract of carriage and as a receipt for the goods. The waybill can be compared to a bill of lading but to a lesser degree.

The goods will be delivered to the consignee on production of proof of identity without presentation of the waybill.

The sea waybill is not a document of title, it is not negotiable and it bears the name of the consignee who must only identify himself to take delivery of the goods. Because it is not negotiable, it is not acceptable to banks as a collateral security to obtain, for instance, a documentary credit. The main purpose of the waybill is to avoid delaying the delivery of cargoes when bills of lading arrive late at the port of discharge.

In America, the sea waybill is also called "Straight Bill of Lading".

Long Form Bill of Lading

The term long form bill of lading is a reference to an ordinary, usually negotiable bill of lading. As mentioned before, the face of the bill of lading (page 1) has boxes or spaces for the necessary details referring to the shipper, vessel, port of loading, freight details and charges, etc. which have to be properly typed; the back of the bill of lading (page 2) has numerous printed clauses giving the conditions of carriage.

Short Form Bill of Lading

A BL normally evidences as under flying contract of carriage and hence should have the terms and conditions of carriage may not be stated in full and merely stated the name of the shipper, name of ship, date of shipment etc. For full details, another document may be cited for being referred to. The total number of package and description are also to be stated in the document.

A sample form of Bill of Lading is given below for reference:

types of bill of lading

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