26 April 2008

Transport Document

Most of the discrepancies discovered in LC operations are associated with the transport document. It is largely because LC stipulates a type of document which is not appropriate to the mode or modes of carriage which will be used. Some traders, particularly new traders, are not well versed with what transport document to follow with which trade term. Terms such as FOB, CFR and CIF are only meant for carriage by sea or waterway only where Bill of Lading or Non-Negotiable Seaway Bill should be stipulated in the LC. Terms such as Ex-work, FAS, CIP, CPT and etc where one mode of transport are used should be followed with a multimodal transport document.

Generally, the details on the transport document should include the following information:
1. An indication that it has been issued by a ‘named carrier or his agent’
2. A description of the goods in general terms not conflicting with description in the LC
3. Identifying marks and numbers
4. The name of the carrying vessel in the case of a Marne Bill of Lading, or the name of the intended carrying vessel in the case of a multimodal transport document including sea transport
5. An indication of dispatch or taking in charge of the goods or loading on board, as the case may be
6. An indication of the place of such dispatch or taking in charge or loading on board and the place of final destination
7. The name of shipper, consignee (if not made out ‘to order’) and the name and address of any ‘notify’ party
8. Whether freight has been paid or still to be paid
9. The number of originals issued to the consignor if issued in more than one original
10. Date of issuance of the transport document

The date of issuance of the transport document is very important and critical, firstly, to show whether the goods have been shipped in time, if the LC stipulates a latest date for shipment.

Secondly, it is important to meet the requirement that the documents must be presented for payment, acceptance or negotiation, as the case may be, within the validity of the LC and within 21 days from the date of issuance of the transport document unless the LC stipulates some other period of time.

Another importance is to determine the acceptability of the insurance document which, unless otherwise stipulated in the LC, or unless it appears it appears from the insurance document that the cover is effective at the latest from the date of shipment of the goods, must be dated not later than such date of shipment (loading on board or dispatch or taking in charge).

Traders are also to scrutinize and ensure that if a transport document bears a superimposed clause or notation which expressly declares a defective condition of the goods and/or the packaging, it will not be acceptable unless acceptance of such clause is authorized in the LC. A transport document specifically stating that the goods are or will be loaded on deck is also not acceptable unless expressly authorized in the LC.

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