Delivery of cargo against presentation of sea carriage document
Produced in partnership with James Watthey and Quentin Tannock of 4 Pump Court
Delivery of cargo against presentation of sea carriage document

The following Commercial guidance note Produced in partnership with James Watthey and Quentin Tannock of 4 Pump Court provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Delivery of cargo against presentation of sea carriage document
  • Sea carriage documents
  • Bill of lading
  • Receipt for cargo shipped
  • Evidence of contract of carriage
  • Negotiability
  • Charterers’ bills and Owner’s bills
  • Negotiable bills of lading as security for finance
  • Switch bills of lading
  • Sea waybill
  • more

This Practice Note describes the purpose and functions of sea carriage documents with reference to the delivery of cargo, in particular it examines a bill of lading and sea waybills. It considers how bills of lading may either be charterers’ bills or owner’s bills, and how they act as evidence for a contract of carriage or as security for finance.

Sea carriage documents

A sea carriage document is presented to obtain delivery of cargo, either at the port of discharge or the place of delivery, which will depend on the type of sea carriage document issued by the carrier to the shipper. That document may either be:

  1. a bill of lading, or

  2. a sea waybill

There is additional information on bills of lading and sea waybills in the Practice Note: Bills of lading and sea waybills.

Bill of lading

A bill of lading may be:

  1. a bearer bill of lading:

    1. cargo covered by this type of bill of lading is only deliverable to the person holding and presenting an original of it

  2. an order/negotiable/transferable bill of lading:

    1. this type of bill of lading is one made out ‘to order’. The carrier undertakes to deliver the cargo under the shipper’s order rather than to a named consignee. That order will be given by endorsement on the original bill of lading to