LEGAL SENSE (Hint 27)
by ANSLAM C. AGIM, ESQ
“Bill of lading serves as Receipt, Title Document and Evidence of Contract between the Carrier and Shipper of Goods”.
Bill of Lading serves three basic purposes:
- Receipt of Goods of goods delivered and accepted for carriage.
A bill of lading serves as a receipt under the hand of the carrier that goods of certain description therein have been delivered by the shipper to the carrier and accepted by the carrier for carriage.
The description, quantity, weight, and quality of the cargo concerned and whether or not in apparent good condition, are stated on the face of the bill of lading serving as such receipt.
- Document of Title to the goods.
Bill of lading is a document of title to the goods transported by the carrier. Once the named consignee presents original of the bill of lading at the place of discharge of the cargo and is properly identified, the consignee claims the cargo upon surrendering the bill of lading to the carrier’s representative. The consignee may even confer title to the goods on another by endorsement and the endorsee would have the same right over the goods as the consignee of the bill of lading.
- Evidence of Contract of Carriage.
Bill of lading starts in almost all cases contains or evidences the contract of carriage between the carrier and the shipper, under which the carrier and the shipper promises that the goods will be carried from the port of loading and safely delivered at the port of discharge.
It is a settled fact that bill of lading evidences the contract of carriage by sea between the shipper and the ship-owner/carrier but in some cases, bill of lading does not only evidence contract of carriage, rather it forms the actual or part of the contract of carriage.