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Gard Guidance Masters GENERAL

The bill of lading is a valuable legal document with three very important functions
  • it is a document of title
  • it is evidence of the contract of carriage between the Company and the cargo interests
  • it is a receipt for the goods loaded.

    It is therefore extremely important when signing the bill of lading to ensure that the information inserted into the blank bill of lading form is accurate. If the information is inaccurate or false this has serious consequences for the Company
  • the Company may be exposed to possible claims from cargo interests, especially where the bill of lading has been endorsed to a third party consignee. Should the bill be negotiated whilst the vessel is proceeding to her discharge port, an innocent buyer will not be aware of the actual condition or quantity of the cargo. The details in the bill of lading are therefore considered to be conclusive evidence of the condition and quantity of the goods when shipped. The Company will therefore be unable to defend any claim if the actual condition or quantity of the cargo is not in accordance with that stated in the bill of lading
  • the P&I cover may be affected as P&I Rules exclude cover for claims in certain circumstances where the information in the bill of lading is found to be incorrect.

    Particular attention should be paid to the following
  • the description of the apparent order, condition and quantity of the cargo
  • the date of issue of the bill of lading.