21. What is a bill of lading and its types?
Bill of lading (B/L) is a document issued by carrier of the cargo to the cargo owner. It is used to certify the ownership of the shipped goods.
The bill of lading simultaneously performs several functions:
- it is a carrier's receipt of cargo for transportation, with a simultaneous description of the visible state of the cargo;
- it confirms the contract for the carriage of goods;
- it is a document of title to the goods.
A House Bill of Lading (HBL) is a bill of lading issued by a freight forwarder (NVOCC), often in addition to a Linear or Master Bill of Lading (MBL). House and Linear (Master) Bills of Lading are often considered as alternatives to each other, there is no difference in the properties of title between them. The first one confirms the contract between the sender and the transport or forwarding company, a multimodal transport operator, but not the line; the second one confirms the contract between the sender and the sea line.
A House Bill of Lading is issued by a forwarder himself. A Linear Bill of Lading is issued simultaneously with a House Bill of Lading, but in electronic form; it is stored within a carrier's electronic system. In this case, a Master Bill of Lading does not contain real data of the sender and recipient.
The sender's agent, at the instruction of the sender, issues a telex release with the shipping line agent at the port of departure so that the buyer can receive the container at the port of destination. In a telex release (it is also called "express release", because it is visible in the carrier's electronic system within 24 hours from the date of issue) a Linear Bill of Lading exists only in electronic version. The release states that it is possible to receive the container without providing 3 originals of the bill of lading.