I was recently asked this question regarding the role and obligation of a Notify Party in a shipment..
In my previous multi-part article regarding the Parts of a Bills of Lading, I had mentioned below :
Notify – is the name and address details of the person who generally 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..
The Notify Party is merely someone that needs to be notified about the arrival of the cargo covered in the bill of lading.. The details of the notify party are provided by the entity that provides the shipping instruction to the shipping line.. They may or may not have any contractual relationship with the shipping line or the shipper..
The consignee mentioned on the bill of lading is the party that can finally and eventually decide who the cargo must be delivered to, either themselves or their agent or another buyer to whom they have sold the cargo..
Instances of who can be Notify Party on a bill of lading :
- Actual receiver of the cargo – If a bill of lading is consigned to the bank the actual receiver maybe shown as the NotifyParty so that they are aware of when the shipment arrives at destination.. In cases where there is an LC, the details of the above 3 entities are mentioned on the LC and it must be adhered to by the shipper..
- Freight Forwarder who is nominated by the receiver of the cargo to arrange for the receiving, clearance and delivery of the cargo..
- Trader or intending agent that brokered the deal/shipment and who would like to keep a track of the shipment..
- Any other entity that has an interest in knowing the arrival and delivery of the shipment and may have a direct or indirect interest in the system..
However, most of the shipping lines, especially the ones that operate a Liner Service do not accept any liability for failure to notify and this clause is shown on the Page 1 (Terms & Conditions of the Bill of Lading – Yes that is Page 1) and also overleaf in the Notify Party field..
Examples of clauses as below :
- The Carrier, his Agents and servants shall not in any circumstances whatsoever be under any liability for failure to notify the Consignee of the arrival of the Goods, any custom of the port to the contrary notwithstanding.
- Any mention in this Bill of Lading of parties to be notified of the arrival of the Goods is solely for information of the Carrier. Failure to give such notification shall not subject the Carrier to any liability nor relieve the Merchant of any obligation hereunder.
The responsibility of a Notify Party is to receive the Arrival Notification from the shipping line and take further steps such as arranging a customs clearance agent to do the clearance with customs, and if the cargo is covered under LC to follow up with the banks regarding the receipt of the documents in case it is not received in time..
As much as the term Notify Party would mean someone that has to be notified, the Notify Party also has a responsibility to check on the whereabouts of the cargo and follow up on the same and not rely on the shipping line to notify them..