Parts of a bill of lading – Part 1

Parts of a Bill of Lading

 

Welcome to the 1st of a 4 part series about the different parts a Bill of Lading  (abbreviated to B/L), one of the MOST important documents in the whole shipping and freight chain, that needs to be filled up..

Please bear in mind that this “generic” information and does not refer to any line in particular as each line have their own format and setup..

In this article we will discuss the address and reference details..

Shipper – is the name and address details of the shipper who is shipping the cargo.. This may or may not be the actual owner or manufacturer of the cargo, but could also be a trader or freight forwarder depending on the type of bill of lading that is issued.. This could also be different from the exporter of the cargo..

Image of mascot holding bill of ladingConsignee – is a key entity in the shipping chain and this field reflects the name and address details of the person or company that is legally allowed to receive the cargo covered in the bill of lading..

This may or may not be the actual owner or recipient of the cargo as it could be a bank or trader or forwarder depending on the type of bill of lading that is issued..

Being named as the consignee on the bill of lading also comes with the risk and responsibility of being held accountable for many issues such as non-clearance of cargoes, late clearance, claims etc..

Notify – is the name and address details of the person who should be notified of the arrival of the cargo.. Depending on the bill of lading that is issued this could be the actual buyer or receiver of the goods, clearing and forwarding agent or the trader.. Generally the notice of cargo arrival is to be sent to this notify party..

Bill of Lading Number – is the unique number provided to the shipment covered under a specific bill of lading.. This is allocated by the shipping line and must be quoted by the client for any queries, sailing info, arrival info, claims etc..

Reference Numbers – this space can be used to update any reference numbers specific to the client or the freight forwarder which they will use to trace their shipments..

Carriers Agents – here the details of the agents at discharge port is usually recorded by the shipping line so that the destination agent of the client/forwarder can contact the shipping lines agents to query the status of the shipment or go for release etc..

Balance in the next article.. Stay tuned..

What did you think of the above article..?? Comment below..

18 comments on “Parts of a bill of lading – Part 1

  1. jitender kumar says:

    hello sir
    actually we are indian based construction company exporting raw material to US .our raw material comes from nigeria .we want supply it directly to US so can u pls tell me what is the shipper and consinee name and other information regarding bill of lading ??

  2. Anand says:

    How will be B/L made if Buyer places order with U.K. party
    and U.K. Party arranges goods from Holland and asks Holland party to
    ship the cargo direct to Buyer ( say in India ).
    2.
    In such case Indian party to make payment to UK party
    and UK party to Holland supplier
    3.
    In B/L what name would be given to UK party
    Indian party is – consignee
    Holland party is – consignor
    and what will be UK party ?

  3. Anand says:

    Can consignee make payment against imports to “Notify Party ”
    and further “Notify Party ” make payment to consignor /Shipper ?

  4. gamage says:

    well done most import to knowledge

  5. Biju P Madhavan says:

    Excellent blog, all the articles are subject specific and industry related thus better than institutes.

  6. Munuswamy says:

    Hi Manaadiar,

    I have come across one situation, the clearing agent is holding a Bill of lading showing the consignee as a company which is in different loaction and the actual consignee is mentioned in the notifiy party. When the actual consignee approached us with one bill of lading without endorsement of consignee and we have requested them to take the endorsement of the consignee for issuing delivery order but the client instead of taking endorsement they have given us three original bill of lading and request us for the delivery order.

    Please confirm whether we can issue the delivery order or not without actual consignee endorsement.

    1. Manaadiar says:

      Hi Munuswamy, this depends on what type of bill of lading was issued, who was shown as the consignee in the bill of lading.. If a Straight Bill of Lading has been issued, you can issue a delivery order to the party surrendering all three original bills to you.. If a To Order bill or Negotiable bill of lading has been issued, then you would need to ensure that the bill of lading is properly endorsed to the person that you are issuing the release to.. If you require any further info on this, pls scan a copy of the bill of lading and send it to manaadiar@shippingandfreightresource.com..

  7. Interesting comments. We ship cars from the UK to South Africa every week and always issue express release B/L’s (unless a client specifically asks for originals) to avoid this kind of situation.

    If original B/L’s do have to be sent to South Africa (or any other country for that matter) we would always advise they are sent by courier – e.g. Fedex, DHL, UPS and not via Royal Mail.

    Glen

  8. Zak says:

    It was two Original Copies– which I scanned and then sent both of them through the post. However there is all the prrof that the consignee, my sister is the owner. She has paid for customs (SARS) and other charges using these scanned copies. She has spent a fortune paying clearing agents and customs. Now she is daily being punished for the delay of the originals in the post. I have tried to reason with these guys but they cant bulge. They want the originals. I wonder if they stand to gain anything for keeping the car longer or they just cant exercise any discretion despite all evidence that she is the actual consignee.

  9. Zak says:

    Thanks for your advice. Its the first time my sister was shipping anything. Everything was done electronically. The shipping agent never told her that an original Bill will be needed, never posted it to her address in South Africa, but to me here in the UK. I scanned it and then mailed it using Royal Mail. South African Post Office cannot get hold of it-using the reference number given to them from Royal Mail. We are in a bit of a situation, with charges growing up by the day. Some of the shipping rules are so inflexible for a once off user, and I feel that the guys who are in charge of the Cargo cannot excercise any discretion at all. Its “the computer says no” kind of a situation.

    1. manaadiar says:

      Zak, how many original bills did you receive from the shipping line..?? Normally there would be about 3 if it is original bills.. How many did you send by post..?? If you sent all by post, then you are in a fix.. If you have at least 1 with you, then you can try to surrender that 1 or 2 originals at UK to the shipping line and ask them to consider the one in the post as NULL & VOID and do a telex release based on the surrender.. Normally they should oblige.. At destination, your sister should provide relevant proof that she is the actual consignee of the cargo and take release.. Try that..

  10. Zak says:

    My sister shipped car to South Africa from England and moved to South Africa before she could receive an Original Bill of Lading. The shipper in England sent the Bill to an address in England, instead of South Africa. Now the car is sitting at the port, despite her having gotten someone to scan and send the original Bill of Lading electronically and by posts. The scanned copy looks as good as the original, but the ship cannot release the car…until the Original Posted Bill of Lading has arrived. NOw everything throughout the initiation of shipping the car has been done electronically. It is only the Bill of Lading that was posted and is not wanted in an electronic format, but by post. What can be done to get the car released. The charges are so big at the harbour, about R750.00 a day, until the posted B/L arrives.

    1. manaadiar says:

      Hi Zak, unfortunately there is no other option under this circumstance.. When releasing an original bill of lading, it is expected that this be surrendered at the discharge port in order to secure release.. If this bill was NOT already in the post, then you could have at least surrendered all three originals back to the shipping line at UK and secured a telex release..

      But you say now the bills are already on its way and in this case the only thing that can be done is to wait or the receiver in South Africa can give a bank guarantee to the shipping line (if they will accept it) and clear the cargo based on that and when the original bill of lading is received then the guarantee can be cancelled..

    2. does the shipper sign the bill of lading during the transport contract with the transporter
      please i need a good explanation how this contract document thanks for comprehention

    3. Hello Mundu, your question is not clear.. Are you trying to understand who signs the bill of lading..??

  11. Aris says:

    Hi Hariesh,

    Did you see the e-mail I sent you last week?

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