Re-posted with some updates and adding some links
Some time ago I was 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 Bill of Lading, I had mentioned below :
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..
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 in the shipping instruction submitted to the shipping line.. There may or may not be a relationship between consignee and notify party or shipper and notify party..
All bills of lading show the details of shipper/consignee/notify party.. It is important to remember that the information mentioned in the consignee column of the bill of lading determines who secures release of the cargo, who the cargo must be delivered to..
The permutation and combination of how the bill of lading maybe consigned, what is a duly discharged bill of lading and endorsements required on a bill of lading has been discussed at length in this blog..
Instances of who can be shown as Notify Party on a bill of lading could be :
- Actual receiver of the cargo may be shown as the notify party in instances where a bill of lading is consigned To Order, so that they are aware when the shipment is expected to arrive at destination..
- Agent of the consignee who could be either a Freight Forwarder or a Clearing Agent who is nominated by the receiver of the cargo to arrange for the receiving, clearance and delivery of the cargo..
- Trader or indenting 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 such 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 main 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..