Do banks verify if cargo is actually loaded on a ship..??
Shippers who deal with documentary credit know that the term Shipped on Board carries quite a bit of weight and there is often a lot of discussions, disputes, rejections etc from the side of the bank if there is any discrepancy in the shipped on board clause or date or stamp or signature..
So one would naturally assume that the banks verify if the cargo covered in the bill of lading is actually loaded on board the ship or not..
The verification by the bank consists of only checking that the documents as required by the Letter of Credit are submitted properly.. The bank is not expected to verify if the cargo was actually shipped on the vessel mentioned in the bill of lading..
UCP 600 – Article 5 – Documents v. Goods, Services or Performance clearly states
Banks deal with documents and not with goods, services or performance to which the documents may relate.
UCP 600 – Article 34 – Disclaimer on Effectiveness of Documents further reinforces this in saying
A bank assumes no liability or responsibility for the form, sufficiency, accuracy, genuineness, falsification or legal effect of any document, or for the general or particular conditions stipulated in a document or superimposed thereon; nor does it assume any liability or responsibility for the description, quantity, weight, quality, condition, packing, delivery, value or existence of the goods, services or other performance represented by any document, or for the good faith or acts or omissions, solvency, performance or standing of the consignor, the carrier, the forwarder, the consignee or the insurer of the goods or any other person.
The bill of lading that is submitted to the bank is issued by a shipping line who is allowed to issue it only after verifying that
1) the container has been cleared by customs
2) the container has been physically loaded on the vessel/voyage and load port mentioned on the bill of lading
Therefore the bank is taking the bill of lading issued by the shipping line to be authentic and will proceed with the verification of the other documents (like Commercial Invoice, Packing List, Certificate of Origin etc) submitted as per the LC requirement..
As regards the specification of the goods, the bank does not see the cargo physically so here again, they cannot and will not verify if the cargo specifications mentioned in the bill of lading or commercial invoice are physically correct..
They will merely check if the description of the goods mentioned in the bill of lading and commercial invoice and other documents submitted match the description of the good mentioned in the LC..
If there is a variance between these two descriptions, they will reject the wrong document..
So if any of you were under the misconception that the banks actually verify if the cargo covered under a documentary credit has been loaded on not, well you know the answer now..
Do you have any interesting experiences relating to submission of documents to the banks as part of the documentary credit process..??