Should the Shipped on Board Date and Bill of Lading Date be the same..??

Shipped on Board Date and Bill of Lading date

If you are involved in global trade, exports, trade financing or in the banking sector, especially where documentary credits like a Letter of Credit is involved, you might have noticed the term SHIPPED ON BOARD mentioned..

This is an important notation on the Bill of Lading..

Just to refresh your memory,

A Bill of Lading is a transport document issued by the carrier of the goods to the client (usually a shipper or exporter).. 

Shipped on board is a notation displayed on the bill of lading by the issuer of the bill of lading (usually the carrier) to confirm that the cargo has been loaded on board the ship..

There seems to be some confusion between the terms Shipped on Board date and Bill of Lading date prompting questions like

  1. Should the Shipped on Board Date and Bill of Lading Date be the same..??
  2. Can a bill of lading be issued without a Shipped on Board Date..??
  3. Can a bill of lading be issued without a Bill of Lading Date..??

Let us look at the answers..


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A lot of letters of credit comes with a requirement as highlighted below :

Letter of Credit Shipped on Board

 

 

shipped on board stamp

This means that in order for the terms of the letter of credit to be satisfied,

  • the bill of lading must be issued in ORIGINAL, which means a “Negotiable Bill of Lading” and
  • the bill of lading must have 3 of those Originals and
  • the bill of lading should have the notation SHIPPED ON BOARD displayed on the bill of lading

This notation may be in the form of a stamp or typed in the body of the bill of lading and is shown along with a date.. This is the Shipped on Board Date which denotes the date on which the container was loaded on board the ship..

Bill of Lading Date = the date on which the bill of lading is issued..

bill of lading dateYou can see this date (either as Date of Issue or Place and Date of Issue) usually near the signature area on the bill of lading..

This date is DIFFERENT from the Shipped on Board Date as the container could have been loaded on board the ship at a different date and Bill of Lading was issued to the customer at a different (later) date..

So to answer question 1 “Should the Shipped on Board Date and Bill of Lading Date be the same“, the answer is NO, not necessarily..

These two dates can be same or different.. But the important point to note is that the Bill of Lading date can only be after the Shipped on Board date..

For example, if the container has been Shipped on Board on 11.03.2012, the bill of lading date cannot be 10.03.2012 as the carrier is supposed to issue a bill of lading showing Shipped on Board only after the container has been physically Shipped on Board..

The bill of lading date has to be on or after the shipped on board date..

In response to Question 2 “Can a bill of lading be issued without a Shipped on Board Date..??” UCP600 Article 20 – Section A – sub-section ii clarifies this point quite clearly..

UCP600 - Shipped on Board Date and Bill of Lading date

So if a bill of lading is issued without a Shipped on Board date, the date of issuance of the bill of lading will be considered as the Shipped on Board date..

bill of lading date

If a date is shown along with the Shipped on Board notation in the body of the bill of lading, then that date becomes the Shipped on Board Date

bill of lading date

In terms of Question 3 “Can a bill of lading be issued without a Bill of Lading Date..??“, technically and legally speaking, a bill of lading shouldn’t be issued and is normally never issued without a date on it..

Releasing a bill of lading without a date will put the carrier at risk as the client can put any date they want and the carrier may be exposed to all sorts of claims and other issues including shipping and freight fraud etc.. You can also read why a shipping line won’t back date a bill of lading..

Have any of you had experiences with banks or other authorities rejecting your documentation due to issues with either of these dates..??

(Post republished after some updates)

37 thoughts on “Should the Shipped on Board Date and Bill of Lading Date be the same..??

  1. Hi, We have shipped one consignment from India to Singapore customer through our Dubai office. Our India office (Exporter) Export the goods to our Dubai office as per the Invoice received from Dubai office & in turn Dubai office export the same goods to Singapore customer as per their Invoice to Dubai office.
    Now, as per India Invoice Marine Insurance policy generated & value covered is also as per India Invoice.
    My question is can we amend the Insurance no. & value as per our Dubai office Invoice for higher value.
    please advise

  2. Hi,

    I have one quick question, one of our customer is insisting vessel birthing date as SOB date,
    whereas container loaded on next day,
    in brief – vessel arrived on dated 30th May, whereas container loaded on 31st may at 0410hrs and sailed in noon hours, customer is requesting SOB date should be 30th May. Can we issue SOB date as 30th May. if not… please share the reason, in order to explain the same to our dear customer.

    Thanks & BRgds/Santosh Pandit

  3. For DES, the shipment date on the LC referring to BL date or arrival date at discharge port? Please advise.

  4. Sometimes bill of lading is issued after draught survey for bulk cargo showing the quantity loaded.
    If the vessel sinks before issue of Bill of lading
    Can the shipping co avoid their liability if loading is complete?

  5. same bill of lading format only have “laden on board”
    Shipper request manual insert wording “shipped on board” in BL description said to comply LC “Shipped on board” requirements.
    both is the same?
    Could explain more?

  6. there some mistakes in the article, when the L/C mention 3/3 original B/L that means ALL of the originals issued, if it was 1 issued then you have to give the 1. and, it have to show onboard date, in which case the first picture is discrepant while the second one is conform. it printed on UCP 600 you depicted: pre-printed wording or on-board notation INDICATING the date. it obvious there are no pre-printed onboard word (the B/L pre-printed RECEIVED by the carrier NOT SHIPPED onboard) so it have to have on-board notation with the date.

    • Dhany, when the L/C mentions 3/3 it means 3 of 3 should be Originals and the bank requires all 3 originals to satisfy the L/C conditions.. And by pre-printed, UCP600 means “typed” on the bill of lading..

    • Not entirely correct. when the L/C mentions 3/3 it means all of the originals, so if the carrier release 2 original the bank requires all 2. if the carrier release 1 original the bank requires the original. while the pre-printed, UCP600 means “typed” on the “BLANK” bill of lading. on your first picture with red markings there are no PRE-PRINTED On board, therefore you need “on board notation indicating the date” which means the first one do not have an onboard date! ask anyone with a CDCS title.

    • Your Question : “Not entirely correct. when the L/C mentions 3/3 it means all of the originals, so if the carrier release 2 original the bank requires all 2. if the carrier release 1 original the bank requires the original.

      My Answer : Yes agreed and this is what i have also mentioned in my previous comment that the bank requires ALL originals issued by the line for that shipment..

      Your Question : “while the pre-printed, UCP600 means “typed” on the “BLANK” bill of lading. on your first picture with red markings there are no PRE-PRINTED On board, therefore you need “on board notation indicating the date” which means the first one do not have an onboard date!” –

      My Answer : Yes exactly.. First picture (below)

      Bill without SOB Date

      does not have the On-Board date as some lines may issue a Bill of Lading without an SOB date in which case the Date of Issuance of the bill of lading becomes the SOB Date as also mentioned by UCP600..

      I am not sure what you are finding incorrect..

  7. The shipper requires OBL to be released without the wordings either “Shipped on Board” or “Received for Shipment”. Can the BL be issued without these words. Please advise

    • Bill of Exchange date can be 20/10/2017 or even later than that. you can not have Bill of Exchange date prior to Shipped on Board date.

  8. What in the case the applicant initially got “received for shipment” bill of lading and later on requested for “stamped on board notation” on it??..Obviously the date of issue in received fro shipment BL would prior to on board date. Is it acceptable bey bank. Correct me if I am wrong.

  9. Hi, we are facing issues where all documents have been dated with the SOB date and bank rejecting them view the date of issue is different. It is a shipment under LC. In this case what to do? can somebody please help 🙁

    • Hello Laura, if the date of issue is BEFORE date of Shipped on Board then bank will have a problem.. If Date of Issue is AFTER the Shipped on Board date, then they shouldn’t have the problem because both these dates are different.. However, if the body of the bill doesn’t show the notation Shipped on Board and only shows a date, then there might be issues because in the absence of SOB notation, the date of shipment and date of issue will be same..

  10. Hi,
    If the SOB date is 16th May and if the bill is released after 10 days, what would be the B/L date, what is acceptable variance in the dates between SOB date and B/L date ?

    • There is no time frame between these two dates.. It is in the shipper’s interest to get the bill of lading released asap (if it is a negotiable bill, they will usually take release pretty quickly) and its also in the lines interest to push the shipper to take release of the bill (if it is an original bill).. Each line has their own mechanism to deal with bills that have not yet been released..

      If it is a Waybill, the bill can be considered to be automatically released (issued) once the client confirms the final draft.. A copy of the Waybill is usually sent to the client which indicates that the Waybill has been issued..

    • Hi Hariesh, what is my understanding is SOB date will be the vessel sailing date and BL issue date will be the date when BL is issued to customer. Is that right ?

    • Hariesh, I’m still confused. The Shipped on Board date is the date that the goods are loaded on the vessel as stated in your post. Is the shipped on board date also the day the vessel actual sets sail, or can this be later than the shipped on board date?

      Thanks

    • Hi Sean, the actual date of sailing of the vessel can be different from that of SOB because not in all cases the ship will load and sail on the same day although this is the majority case..

      Therefore there are different terminology like ETD (Estimated Time of Departure) when the ship departed from the berth, and ETS (Estimated Time of Sailing) when the ship actually sailed from the port..

      Example : ship can load at container terminal and depart from the terminal, but had some engine trouble or crew sickness etc which it had to sort out before it finally sailed from the port.. From the time the ship departed from the terminal and finally sailed, it could have been staying at outer anchorage (still within the port limits)..

      Trust this helps..

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