What is a Change of Destination Request and how should it be handled..??

Image for CODIn my previous post about Parts of a bill of lading, I explained in detail regarding the port of discharge (POD) and place of delivery.. You also read in the post about Bill of Lading that when a B/L is issued as a Combined Transport B/L, the shipping line is directly responsible for the delivery of the container to the Place of Delivery nominated in the Bill of Lading.. 

A Change of Destination (COD) is a request asking the shipping line to discharge/transport the container to a destination other than the one mentioned in the Port of Discharge or Place of Delivery fields in the Bill of Lading issued..

This is a very important request and one that can create several problems if not handled properly.. In this article, we will discuss how to handle a Change of Destination request and its implications..

A COD is requested due to a variety of reasons chief among which are :

  • The original buyer has withdrawn from the contract and the seller has found a new buyer in another country while the shipment is on the water
  • The contract between buyer and seller was upto the Port of Discharge, but the buyer now wants the shipping line to deliver the cargo to his door at his cost and risk
  • The contract between buyer and seller was upto door on a Combined Transport B/L, but the buyer requires the cargo to be terminated at the Port of Discharge so he can perform the inland haulage

When a COD request is received by the shipping line they have to :Image for verification

  1. Firstly ascertain whether the requesting party has the authority to request a COD.. This authority could vary based on the type of bill of lading issued and at what stage of negotiation the bill of lading is.. For example :
    • If the bill of lading issued is a Straight Bill of Lading and the shipper is still legally in possession of the bills of lading, only the shipper can request the shipping line for the COD..
    • If the bill of lading issued is an Order Bill of Lading consigned To Order of Shipper, but the bill of lading has already been endorsed by the shipper to the consignee, then only the consignee can request the shipping line for the COD..
    1. The COD request should be received before the container reaches the destination and the manifest has been filed with customs.. In a lot of countries, Customs don’t allow for a change of destination once the container has been landed..
    2. If the COD is acceptable to the shipping line and customs, then a Manifest Corrector must be actioned by the lines agent requesting this COD, changing the destination and a copy of this manifest corrector must be sent to the discharge port agent (new and old) and also submitted to Customs..
    3. It is very important that the manifest be amended, failing which the container might be delivered to the wrong destination attracting additional costs for the defaulting party..

    A question posted by a reader (Yusuf) was :

    “My question particularly relates to the legal implication on the Shipping Line when ‘redirecting’ a container.

    As you are aware, it is common practice in SA to redirect shipment between Johannesburg & Durban.

    The redirection is exercised at the request of the Consignee/consignee agent, usually without the knowledge or permission of the Shipper. Is this legal? Can it not be considered a breach of contract between the Shipper and Shipping Line?

    An example: A shipment is booked for final destination Johannesburg, The Consignee requests the shipment be redirected for final destination Durban. The consignee takes release of the shipment, ex Durban. Enroute to Johannesburg, the container is hijacked. Can the Shipper not make a claim against the Shipping Line for allowing the container to be released in Durban instead of Johannesburg?”

    (For those of you that might not be aware, Johannesburg is an inland dry port in South Africa and Durban is a sea port in South Africa which is normally the gateway to Johannesburg)

    In response to Yusuf’s question – A COD cannot be generalized as requiring only the shippers permission.. Based on the various types of bills of lading issued and at what stage the bill of lading is at present and who the bill is consigned to, the shipping line may or may not require the shippers permission..

    But for a redirection, the shipping line surely has to check and ensure that their liabilities are covered before proceeding with the redirection and the most important aspect is that a manifest corrector is passed..

    In your cited example, if the shipping line has accepted the consignee’s request without checking the status of the bill of lading and getting required approvals (where required) from the shipper and actioning manifest correctors, they might well be exposed to a claim..

     


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    12 thoughts on “What is a Change of Destination Request and how should it be handled..??

    1. my Shipper wants to change of consignee after customs manifest already field and containers at POD from 1 month…. ???

    2. how can make letter request for take out the container for deposit in port from same port, actually its is still in port for free zone trading company warehouse for empty.

    3. Hello, i have a question,

      delivery terme is DDP

      The port of discharge is ZEE and the place of delivery is lille (france). we want to change the place of delivery (because we have 2 warehouses) the second warehouse is based at 25km of the first.
      do you think that a COD is mandatory in that case.
      please what is the average fees of COD in that case they are asking 350 €

    4. Hi Hariesh, the redirection of FCL cargo manifested for JHB via road was initiated by a Customs Letter of concession in December 1999. Do you perhaps have a copy of that letter. My internet searches have come up with nothing.

    5. Questions:
      In case of war / warlike operation, destination port is closed and liner request for COD about 800km away from destination.
      1) is this considered ‘force majure’?
      2) currently at transhipment port incuring demurrage charges
      3) CIF. Insurance is still in effect, but for how long?
      4) it’s on TELEX RELEASE.
      5) liner requesting consginee approval for COD. While B/L back clause:

      “21.Matters Affecting Performance
      If at any time the performance of the contract evidenced by this Bill is or is likely to be affected by any Force Majeure hindrance, risk, delay, difficulty or disadvantage of whatsoever kind which can not be avoided by the exercise of reasonable endeavours, the Carrier (whether or not the transport is commenced) may without notice to the Merchant treat the performance of this Contract as terminated and place the Goods or any part of them at the Merchant’s disposal at any place or port which the Carrier may deem safe and convenient, whereupon the responsibility of the Carrier in respect of such Goods shall cease. The Carrier shall nevertheless be entitled to full freight and charges on Goods received for transportation, and the Merchant shall pay any additional costs of carriage to and delivery and storage at such place or port. ”

      Need some insight on this matter.

      Thank you.

    6. Can my BL still read port of discharge: Durban and final delivery: Johannesburg if I want my container to move from Durban to Johannesburg by road haul under carrier haulage?

      • Hello Claudine, yes whether by road or rail, if the carrier is undertaking the carriage of cargo from Port of Discharge to Place of final delivery, they can show POD as Durban and FDE as Johannesburg..

    7. Based on the above, I think its a normal route. Vessel discharges @ Durban as the port and truck inland to final destination Johannesburg

    8. As a practice carriers do seek the consent of shipper when a consignee of a BL requests for diversion of container. Further, carrier has to make necessary corrections in the manifest to authenticate POD / place of delivery .

      Ramana Murthy R S V
      India

      • I also agree that the consultation and permission of the Shipper should be necessary.
        However, I am not sure if this is common practice in SA, especially when ‘redirecting’ between JHB & DBN.
        Hence, I seek confirmation as to whether it is indeed obligatory on the Shipping line to obtain the Shippers permission before processing a COD?

      • Hi Yusuf, as discussed in the post above, a COD cannot be generalized as requiring only the shippers permission.. Based on the various types of bills of lading issued and at what stage the bill of lading is at present and who the bill is consigned to, the shipping line may or may not require the shippers permission.. But for a redirection, the shipping line surely has to check and ensure that their liabilities are covered before proceeding with the redirection and the most important aspect is that a manifest corrector is passed..

    Be part of the discussion and share your views about the article here..