Who is a notify party in a shipment and what is their role..??

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.. Who is a notify party - image

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 :

  1. 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..
  2. 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..
  3. Trader or indenting agent that brokered the deal/shipment and who would like to keep a track of the shipment..
  4. 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.

Image of bill of lading showing Notify Party clause on bill of lading

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..

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

41 comments on “Who is a notify party in a shipment and what is their role..??

  1. Prabu Chinna says:

    hello gentleman’s. This is prabu from India. I want to know that which type of “EDI” will be suitable for “HERBALS Exporting and ARCHITECTURAL SERVICE Exporting” business. If any one has interested to clarify my doubts. plz tell me.

  2. saeed rafiee says:

    Dear Hariesh
    I work in forwarding company in Iran.
    once, our company was notify party on the B/L, the carrier agent in Iran didn’t give us the arrival notice!!!
    and they insisted on their decision.
    are they right????????

  3. Kkwaku Duah-Anane says:

    There are several instances where the consignee and the notify party are the same. In the case of banks being the consignee or the consignee reading” TO ORDER” the notify party usually is the actual consignee.

  4. Kevin says:

    What happens if the goods are not custom cleared by cnee and demurrage and detention charges have accumulated for say more than 1year now.

  5. Nathalie Gan says:

    I have an dispute with our Indonesia clearance agent. This is 3rd country sales arrangement whereby
    Shipper on BL is China company
    Seller (shipping invoice) is Singapore company
    Cnee on BL is Indonesia company

    According to Indonesia side, this shipment is under Form E arrangement and due to the new format of Import declaration custom form in Indonesia, custom require exporter stated on BL must same as shipper stated on BL. (Initially shipper on BL is the Singapore company).

    Due to this issue, Singapore company do not have any shipping document (BL) to support and as evidence of export. Therefore, we are putting Singapore company as notify party, however Indonesia clearance agent said the notify party must be Indonesia company.

    Is there any issue to show notify party is out of Indonesia?

    1. Nathalie, irrespective of where the notify is based, they are not a contracted party to the contract of carriage.. The role of the notify party is just that.. To receive notification of the shipment.. Nothing else..

    2. Paulo says:

      As far as I know the Notify Part if referring to final destination. If your cnee/buyer/importer is in Indonesia and Indonesia company should figure on BL

  6. Mudasar says:

    But my bank did not allow me to change country. They said that shipment will only sent to Indonesia.

  7. Mudasar says:

    I am in Pakistan.
    My buyer (consignee) is in INDONESIA. and he already sent ma ADVANCED PAYMENT from INDONESIA.
    But he wants shipment in SINGAPORE. He gave me a NOTIFY PARTY (SINGAPORE) for this purpose.
    IS IT POSABLE ?.

    1. Mudasar, you mean he wants you to send the shipment to Singapore..?? I don’t see a problem there..

  8. claudia says:

    Dear Hariesh,

    I have a question related the consignee field on the ocean Bill of Lading. Who should be mentioned there when my company sells to Company A (Bill to on the Invoice) but goods should be shipped to an different company (Ship to on the Invoice).

    Should be the Bill to from our Invoice = consignee of the Bill of Lading or can it also be the final recipient (ship to)?
    Currently we think it should be the Bill to of our Invoice which should be the named consignee as the consignee on the B/L hast eh possession of the goods after arrival upon presentation of a original bill of lading to the carrier.

    1. Hello Claudia.. Whoever pays the money to you should be the consignee as they could then further sell to others if required..

  9. wawang says:

    @ Chetan,
    I have same experince with you :
    Party ( India) is Buyer —— > Vietnam
    Party ( UK ) is seller ——> Japan
    Party ( Holland ) is shipper ———–> Indonesia ( My Side )

    I have shipped 4 ctnrs to above Buyer. First and second use LC, 3rd and 4th shipment use TT.
    LC issued by Seller / Japan side to me (Indonesia). The Cargo shipped to Vietnam.
    In this circumstances I think “NOT BL must follow the LC” but ” The LC must follow the flow of the Cargo”

    My BL become :
    Seller :
    My Company / Indonesia

    Consignee :
    Vietnam Buyer

    Notify party :
    same as consignee

    The Japan Seller not involved in the BL

    Flow of The Shipping Documents as flws :
    I (Indonesia) submitt all documents as per LC to my bank for negotition
    and then my bank send these to Japan Bank.
    Japan bank send these docs to Applicant (Japan)
    and finally Applicant (Japan) will couriered all the shipping docs to Vietnam for release the cargo.

    Thank you,
    Regards,

  10. lakshmi says:

    Hi,

    What is the difference between “Arrival Notice” & “Bill of Lading”……

    1. Hi Lakshmi, if you search the site for Arrival Notice, you will see several articles about same and also about Bill of Lading..

  11. Sameer M. says:

    We are making shipments to a new market and are utilizing a freight forwarder to safeguard our exposure to a new customer. The shipments are made on CAD basis and no L/C is involved. The format we are following is:

    MBL:
    Shipper = Freight forwarder on a/c of actual shipper
    Consignee = Freight forwarder counterpart
    Notify = blank

    HBL:
    Shipper = Actual shipper
    Consignee = Local bank
    Notify = blank

    Once the customer makes full payment, the HBL is endorsed by bank in his name. However, the issue we are facing is that the payment is coming a few after vessel reaches so the manifest needs to be amended to the customer’s name first which takes time and costs money. This is damaging our relationship. Reason for not stating customer name in MBL is so that manifest is not filed under his name as otherwise we will require NOC from customer to call back container.

    Are there any suggestions on how to avoid this or expedite without increasing our risk?

  12. Evelyn says:

    Hi there,

    can we have more than one party under notify party in the B/L?

    Notify Party

    XXXX (Consignee)

    XXXX (Shipment Clearing agent)

    On this note, I would like to check is it the producer’s responsibility or buyer’s responsibility to update the carrier on the list of recipients for the NOA? I’ve encountered on several occasions where shipping line has informed they sent the NOA but we did not receive it.

    Many thanks for the advice!

    1. Helly Evelyn, yes there can be more than one party under notify in a bill of lading.. Whoever submits the bill of lading instruction to the shipping line should also give the information of the notify party to the shipping line and the line will then send the NOA to that notify party(s).. However, depending on the clauses on the bills of lading, a shipping line may or may not accept liability to notify..

      Read – http://shippingandfreightresource.com/is-a-shipping-line-liable-for-any-costs-if-they-dont-send-the-arrival-notification-for-import-cargo/ and http://shippingandfreightresource.com/case-study-about-sending-of-arrival-notification/

    2. Yes, you can use a Second Notify. It is usually placed within the body of the BL (not the header). Again, the carrier has no responsibility on actually notifying anyone.

  13. chetan says:

    Sir

    We would appreciate if you would kindly clarify our query.

    Party ( India) is Buyer
    Party ( UK ) is seller
    Party ( Holland ) is shipper.

    Party (India) has to make payment to Party UK
    and Party UK has to make payment to Party Holland.

    Party Holland will ship the goods direct to party India on instructions of Party UK.

    In such case How the B/L will be made ?

    Reference to the above
    Is Party UK – consignor
    or it will be mentioned on B/L as ” To order of – Notify Party ”

    Is Party Holland shipper or consignor ?

    Party India is consignee
    and
    Party India has to make payment to UK Party.

    Please advise in such case how the B/L will be made.
    Thanks for your cooperation.
    Regards
    Chetan

    eximwrld@yahoo.com

    Whose names would be mentioned ?

    Consignor
    Consignee
    Shipper
    Notify Party

    1. Hi Chetan, is this shipment on a Letter of Credit..?? If so then you will have to follow the documentary credit instructions..

  14. LD says:

    Hi,
    I have an issue/dispute going on between a freight forwarder we are using, and our broker. Under normal circumstances, any freight forwarder we use sends an arrival notice to the broker, but on a recent shipment, there were issues receiving the notice from the shipping line. In this particular incidence, the freight forwarder put the broker as the notify party, and therefore expected the broker to follow-up with the shipping line regarding arrival. Our broker tells me that since the freight forwarder is our agent, that it is the freight forwarder’s responsibility. The broker also indicated that freight forwarders should always make provisions to receive the arrival notice on time so their will be no delay. Please note that our broker not only handles our customs in this instance but also truck shipping from the local rail.

    What I’m trying to figure out is how do we ultimately determine where the actual responsibility falls.

    Thank you

    1. Hello Lacie, as I have mentioned in this post,

      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..

      In this case, the broker has been shown as the Notify Party and therefore the shipping line would have sent them the notification..

      Generally, the broker doesn’t follow up on such things unless he is asked to.. I am not sure if the FF informed the broker that they have been shown as the notify on the bill.. If they had been notified and asked to follow up on the shipment, then the responsibility lies with the broker..

      As your agent, however the FF should have followed up with the line and the broker to check if everything is in order with the shipment.. They cannot just waive responsibility based on the fact that the broker has been shown as the Notify Party..

      Both should be responsible as they both have handled your shipments previously and they should know your patterns.. Also as you mentioned, your broker does your transportation as well, so he could have also followed up..

    2. LD says:

      Thank you Hariesh, your point is very helpful!

      Best Regards,

      Lacie

    3. You are welcome Lacie, that is the aim of this blog..

  15. Mohit says:

    Hi All,

    Greetings.

    Is it allowed that a bank be the consignee and also the notify party in case the shipment is LC based?

    Mohit

    1. Hello Mohit, in the case of LC shipments, normally the issuing bank will be the consignee.. As I have mentioned in my previous post (http://shippingandfreightresource.com/role-of-a-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..”

      Notify party will be shown on the bill of lading as per the instructions of the shipper or as shown on the LC.. Trust this assists..

  16. Cathy Li says:

    Normally the carrier would send arrival notice to the pointed staff of consignee by email. Once time the pointed staff was on holiday, she set up auto reply to everyone. The carrier still sent the arrival notice to her caused the container stayed the wharf over 1 week and high penalty. Who should be responsible for it ? Will the consignee can claim the penalty from the carrier?

  17. Naveed says:

    DOES A BILL OF LADING BE ENDORSED TO NOTIFY PARTY ON ISTRUCTIONS OF APPLICANT IN CASE OF LETTER OF CREDIT BY BNAK?

    1. Hi Naveed, not able to understand your question, please elaborate..

  18. Diamond Atuyota says:

    Hello there,

    I had a shipment sent by a shipper where the consign/Consignee had made me a notify party as the destination customs broker on the line BL. Cargo arrives and after we as notify party had customs cleared and safely delivered shipment to Consignee.

    Upon destination customs demand, the local shipper,s representative who was never a party in the shipment BL consign age sends all shipments documents to customs without recourse or informing the Consignee or the notify party. In this case, can the notify party press charges for breach of confidentiality? Can damages be claimed? Is the right thing to do in the first place?

    Thanks to revert with your clarifications pls.

    Diamond

    1. Diamond Atuyota says:

      Should a cargo consolidator whose name appears on the line BL as Consignee be held liable even when and after the ultimate Consignee has shown himself to the line as the owner of a longstanding containers?

      Brgds
      Diamond

    2. Hi Diamond, whoever is shown as the consignee on the bill of lading has the liability to clear and release the cargo.. If the consignee is a cargo consolidator and is not the actual and final owner of the recipient of the cargo, then they must transfer the bill of lading to the actual owner or recipient or their nominated agent as per their instruction, provided of course the bill of lading is a negotiable and transferable bill of lading..

      If the bill of lading issued is a straight bill of lading, there is no option for the bill to be transferred and the responsibility to clear and release the cargo lies with the consignee..

    3. Hi Diamond, a notify party on a bill of lading is just what the term means “a party that needs to be notified about a shipment”.. The notify party has no legal obligations or authority over the cargo..

      In this case mentioned, Customs chose to ask details to the shippers representative and they chose to forward the details.. Sure the shippers rep could have contacted you or the consignee as a matter of courtesy, but legally they are not obligated to.. So I don’t think your case will stand up in court unless there are provisions for such issues in the law of your land.. If you want to be doubly sure, I suggest you seek legal counsel in your country..

  19. chaz says:

    Hi everyone!
    IF say a forwarder is shown as Notify party on direct Bill of lading (straight from shipper to consignee).
    The ocean freight was paid directly by shipper to ocean line at origin.
    The notify party notifies shipper and thier customs broker of vessel arrival and availablity of cargo, when the boat arrives at destination. .
    IS THE NOTIFY PARTY LIABLE FOR PORT WAREHOUSE FEES AND DEMURRAGES – if the consignee does not pull containers out from port on time or return containers back to ocean port on time?

    1. Hi Charlie, technically and legally Notify Party cannot be held liable for ANYTHING.. The shipper/consignee or their contracted agent are the main parties involved legally..

  20. Ava Cristi says:

    Notify Party is the person or company to be advised by the carrier upon arrival of the goods at the destination port.Thanks for the info! I learned a lot from this article.

  21. Mahesh says:

    Sir,

    Thanks for the clarification, I would be careful with buyers’ instructions.

    Regards,
    Mahesh

  22. Mahesh says:

    Hi!

    I have to upload shipping instructions on a liner’s portal where there are two data fields for notify party details ie. First Notify Party & Second Notify Party.

    The carriage is by “Seaway Bill” and the buyer has not clarified any requirement of a notify party. I have mentioned buyer as the first notify party and left the second notify party as blank.

    My question is: “Under what circumstances the liner expects two notify parties?” and “Will a second notify party other than consignee make any difference in cargo release under Seaway Bill?”

    Regards,
    Mahesh

    1. Hi Mahesh, the lines portal could be providing this option for 1st and 2nd notify party IF REQUIRED, as there are cases where some customers require more than 1 notify to the shown on the bill of lading..

      However the line is not obligated to notify one or all of them as per their terms and conditions in general as I have mentioned in the post..

      I presume you are acting as a freight forwarder and if that is the case you should be careful when you say “buyer has not clarified any requirement of a notify party. I have mentioned buyer as the first notify party and left the second notify party as blank.

      This means that you have taken the responsibility of providing the shipping instructions to the shipping line which is a risk on your part.. The instructions should come from the shipper to you..

      Liner has no expectations with regards to details provided on the bill of lading.. The line does not know who the shipper, consignee or notify are (until it is shown on the bill of lading) and they will go by what is declared by the booking party..

      The line only requires that the cargo and the weights are same as what has been booked otherwise it will be considered a mis-declaration.. It makes no difference to the shipping line who is shown as the consignee or the notify..

      This is true whether the bill is an Original Bill or a Seaway Bill..

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