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General Information

Bill of Lading (B/L)

The bill of lading is a transportation document issued by the carrier, or by the carrier's authorized agent, for the consignment to be shipped. This document states the main shipping terms for the consignment.

There Are Three Different Kinds of Bills of Lading

  • The on-board bill of lading is issued after the consignment has been loaded onto the ship. It states the loading date and the name of the ship.
  • The received-for-shipment bill of lading merely confirms that the carrier has received the goods designated for shipping.
  • The through bill of lading covers the entire journey of the goods, whether they are transshipped or carried by different means of transport.

A Bill of Lading Is a Security

Only the holder of the bill of lading can take possession of the goods. The bill of lading can be issued (addressed) as follows:

  • To the order of" a natural or legal person (order bill of lading): Entitlement to the goods can be transferred by endorsement.
  • A "straight consignment" to a natural or legal person ("straight bill of lading"): Transfer can be effected only by assignment.
  • An "order" (bearer bill of lading): Whoever has possession of the original bill of lading is entitled to the goods. The bill of lading is transferred on the release of the document.

Commercial Invoices

The commercial invoice is the accounting document which shows the financial claim of the seller against the buyer. A customs invoice is often required in addition to a commercial invoice to document the value of the goods for import clearance.

Packing List, Weight List

Packing lists, weight lists, and official accompanying documents or permits required by certain countries for export and/or import (such as EUR, ATR, "Clean Report of Findings") are not covered in the UCP (Uniform Customs and Practice for Documentary Credits); they must be issued under the conditions stipulated by the letter of credit.

Certificates

Certificates of quality, analysis and inspection, etc., are not covered in detail in the UCP (Uniform Customs and Practice for Documentary Credits); they must be issued under the conditions stipulated by the letter of credit. Certificates must be signed by the issuer.

Certificate of Origin

A certificate of origin is a document that confirms the origin of the goods. It may be issued by an official organization, such as a chamber of commerce, or by the beneficiary or the manufacturer (but always as per the terms and conditions of the L/C).

Insurance Documents

If the agreed delivery terms are CIF or CIP, it is up to the seller to arrange insurance. The insurance document (policy or certificate) is the proof that he has done so. According to UCP (Uniform Customs and Practice for Documentary Credits), the insurance document must cover a minimum of 110% of the CIF value of the goods and the risks defined in the letter of credit, unless stated otherwise.

Forwarder's Certificate of Receipt

A document issued by a forwarding agency confirming receipt of the goods for shipment/dispatch and dispatch instructions. The forwarder's certificate of receipt (FCR) does not fall under the UCP (Uniform Customs and Practice for Documentary Credits) and is not recognized as a valid transportation document.

Sea Waybill

A non-negotiable sea waybill certifies that goods have been loaded on board a ship, but the document itself does not have the properties of a security. It is not necessary to present this document in order to take possession of the goods.

Courier Delivery Slip

This certifies that goods have been accepted and forwarded by a courier service.

Air Waybill

An air waybill confirms the conclusion of a contract between carrier and consignor, and sets out the conditions with respect to handling, flight route and delivery of the goods.

Road Waybill

This certifies that a contract has been signed between the consignor and the carrier concerning the transportation of goods by road (by truck).

Inland Waterways B/L

This certifies that a contract has been signed between the consignor and the carrier concerning the transportation of goods by inland waterways.

Postal Delivery Slip

This certifies that goods have been accepted and forwarded by a postal service. 

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