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Main Document Used in Transport


MAIN DOCUMENTS USED IN TRANSPORT 

Bill of lading 

1.  The bill of lading is the most important export document whenever goods are sent by ship. It is issued by the shipping company. 

2.  The key information in a bill of lading (See diagram of a bill of lading below) is as follows:
(a) The name of the shipping company.
(b) The name of the shipper (beneficiary) or his agent.
(c) The name of the carrying vessel.
(d) The names of the ports of shipment and discharge.
(e) The identification (shipping) marks and numbers.
(d) The number of containers, cases, packages or individual items.
(g) A description of the goods in general terms consistent with the description of the goods in the letter      of credit.
(h) Evidence that the goods have been received for shipment or shipped (loaded) on board and its date.
(i) The name of the consignee (if not made out 'to order') and also the name and address of the 'notify party' wherever applicable.
(j) Whether freight has been prepaid or payable at destination.
(k) The number of originals issued (A bill of lading is normally issued in a set of three originals; anyone of which may be used to take delivery and possession of goods. It is important that the consignee must secure all the originals.)
(1) The date of issuance and the signature of the ship's master or the carrier or his agent. 

3. Bills of lading are normally issued in a 'set' of two or more transferable copies, all of which must be signed by the master of the ship who makes a note on the bills of lading, of the number of copies issued and any damages to the goods taken on board. He then keeps one copy for reference. The other copies are sent to the foreign importer by separate mail or returned to the exporter (consignor). 

4. However, if the exporter has arranged for the importer to open a letter of credit in the exporter's favor in a local bank, then the bills of lading together with the other shipping documents such as the invoice, the consular invoice, the marine insurance policy and a certificate of origin must be lodged by the exporter at the local bank, together with the bill of exchange. 

5. It is one of the documents that have to be submitted to the advising bank before the shipper can secure payment in the letter of credit. 

6. The functions of a bill of lading are as follows:
(a) It acts as an advice note indicating the quantity and description of goods sent by a named ship.
(b) It is a receipt of goods in good condition on board, signed by the master of the ship. Any damage to goods is noted.
(c) It is evidence of a contract of carriage between the shipper and the shipowner.
(d)  (i) It is a document of title to goods described therein. This means that the holder of the bill of lading can claim the goods when he hands it over to the Port Authority at the port of discharge.
      (ii) When delivery of goods has taken place, all other copies of the bill of lading are rendered invalid.
(e) Since it is a document of title it can be used as a basis for negotiating for a letter of credit from the bank.
(f) (i) It informs the customs authorities of the type of imports/exports and the country of origin or destination respectively.
    (ii) It allows the customs to see at a glance whether the imports or exports are taxable.
    (iii) It helps in the recording of statistics.
(g) It may be used as a document in support in the event of an insurance claim.


 A bill of lading is used whenever goods are sent by ship. It is signed by the master of the ship or by an agent on behalf of the shipping company. The description of the goods should be consistent with the other documents such as the invoice, insurance policy, etc. Freight charges are to be calculated by the shipping company. 


Consignment note / Delivery note

1. It is sometimes called a rail and road consignment note or a delivery note. It is normally prepared by the road/rail transport company or a freight forwarder. 

2. The key information in a consignment note/delivery note (See diagram of a delivery note below) is as follows:
(a) The name and address of the sender (consignor).
(b) The name and address of the recipient (consignee).
(c) The number of packages or cases.
(d) The marks and numbers on the packages or cases.
(e) A brief description of the goods.
(f) The place of departure and the date of departure.
(g) The time of collection and delivery,
(h) The time of arrival.
(i) The type of haulier and the vehicle number.
(j) The signature of the carrier, (if its a Rail Consignment Note, it is stamped by the Station master).
(k) The freight charged.
3. The functions of a delivery note are as follows:
(a) This is an advice note, indicating the quantity and description of goods being dispatched on a certain date by the named road or rail transport agency.
(b) It is evidence of a contract of carriage but is not negotiable.
(c) It is not a document of title but should be dispatched with other documents for it shows the date of dispatch of the goods which is useful for exchange and import control purposes.
(d) It is a receipt for goods and a document for delivery.
(e) It is also on a note of freight charges.




A delivery note is used whenever a consignor (trader) sends goods by a road haulier company.



Airway bill/Air consignment note 

1.       An airway bill is a very important document used whenever goods are sent by air. 

2. An airway bill is issued by an airline company in a set of 12 copies. However, only three copies are originals — the first is for the carrier, the second for the consignee and the third is for the shipper. The balance 9 (nine) copies are retained by the airline company for administrative purposes. It corresponds to a BJ1 of Lading but it is only used when goods are sent by air. 

3. The key information in an airway bill is as follows:
(a) The name of the Airline Company or carrier.
(b) The name and address of the shipper (beneficiary).
(c) The names of the airports of departure and destination, flight number and actual flight date.
(d) A description of the goods in general terms, its weight and the freight charged, its declared value
(c) The number of pieces sent.
(f) Evidence (by and authorized signature) that the goods have been received by the carrier or its agent, and the date of issuance.
(g) The name and address of the consignee and also the name and city of the carrier or its agent.
(h) The status of the freight charges prepaid or payable at destination.
4. It is normally prepared in triplicate by the consignor. The part marked for the 'Carrier' has to be signed by the consignor. The part marked for the 'Consignee' travels with the goods. The third part is signed by the carrier and returned to the consignor.
5. The consignee is usually the bank that issues the letter of credit, and the party to be notified when the goods arrive is the importer.
6. The functions of an airway bill are as follows:
(a) It is an advice note indicating all the key information stated above.
(b) It is evidence of contract of carriage but it is not negotiable.
(c) It is not a document of title. The delivery of goods is not dependent upon the presentation of the Airway Bill but rather the goods will be delivered to the named consignee against proof of identification at the airport of destination.
(d) It should be dispatched with other documents for it shows the date of dispatch which is useful for exchange and import control purposes.
(e) It may be used as a receipt to be signed by the consignee on the delivery of the goods.
(f) It is also a note of freight charges.


 An Airway Bill is used whenever goods are sent by aeroplane.



Packing list and Weight note 

1. These two documents are normally combined together. The weight note shows the gross weight and net weights of the goods. These must agree with that stated in other relevant documents such as the bill of lading. 


2. The key information in a packing list (See diagram of a packing list below) is as follows:
(a) The name and address of the shipper. Generally it is prepared by the shipper using his letterhead.
(b) The name and address of the consignee.
(c) The name of the ship.
(d) The port of departure and port of destination.
(e) The marks and numbers on the packages or cases.
(f) The number of packages.
(g) A general description of the goods.
(h) The gross and net weight of the goods,
(i) The date of issuance and the invoice number.
(j) The signature of the shipper or the agent as a verification of all the above information.

3. The functions of a packing list are as follows:
(a) This may be one of the documents that have to be submitted to the advising bank, together with the other relevant shipping documents such as the Bill of Lading, etc. according to the terms of the letter of credit before the shipper can secure payment.
(b) It serves as a verification of important information of the goods shipped or transported by road haulage such as gross and net weight of the goods, details of the packaging, description of the goods as agreed upon in the contract of sale between the importer and exporter. These details must agree with that in the other documents, e.g. the bill of lading.



A Packing List has to be prepared and signed by the shipper or his authorized agent when goods are packed for export.


Goods received note/Cargo receipt 

1. The key information in a goods received note (See diagram of a goods received note below) are as follows:
(a) The name and address of the consignee or his authorized agent who is claiming delivery and possession of the goods.
(b) The description of the goods.
(c) The number of packages of cases claimed.
(d) The unit price.
(e) The total value of the cargo claimed.
(f) The date of issuance.
(g) The signature of the consignee or its authorized agent.
(h) The condition of the goods upon receipt. 

2. The functions of the goods received note are as follows:
(a) The acknowledgement of receipt of goods at the port of destination by the consignee or its authorized agent.
(b) The undertaking by the consignee that the goods were received in good order and according to the contract, thus absolving the ship owner or the port authorities from any liability to later claims for damage or theft. 


A goods received note represents an acknowledgement of the receipt of goods by the consignee.


Reference:

Betsy, L., & Tan, K. S. (1999). Transport., Modern certificate guide: Elements of Commerce
                    (pp. 154-158). Singapore: Oxford University Press.