What is a letter of credit, how it works and who needs it..

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Many of you would have come across the term Letter of Credit (L/C)..

If you are a shipping line, you would have heard this term from various customers asking you to expedite the draft bill of lading for checking by the bank or for the release of the bill of lading to be expedited because the shipment is under L/C..

If you a freight forwarder or agent, you may have been put under pressure by the BCO to get all the documents required by the L/C sent to them in time..

If you are a BCO, you may have been told by your bank that the documents submitted do not match the requirements of the L/C and some of the documentation may need to be redone..

So what exactly is a Letter of Credit, what is the need for a letter of credit, who issues it and how does it work..

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India’s first blockchain enabled Letter of Credit transaction completed

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Blockchain – that newfangled concept seems to be catching on quickly and moving along quite nicely in the shipping and freight industry..

A Blockchain is a ledger that uses cryptography, the internet and naturally computers to create, share, transfer, track and secure assets and transactions (represented/organised as blocks) belonging to everyone to fulfil a certain function..

Unless the previous transaction is not completed in the chain and shared forward with a timestamp, the next transaction cannot happen..

In the first transaction of its kind in India, HSBC India and ING Bank Brussels have enabled, successfully executed and completed a full blockchain driven trade finance transaction between India’s Reliance Industries and USA’s Tricon Energy..

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Shipped on Board Date stamp – should it be signed..??

Shipped on board stamp
A shipped on board date is an important date on a bill of lading, especially where a Letter of Credit is involved..

Should the Shipped on Board stamp be signed and the implications whether it is signed or not..

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Letter of Credit and Trade Finance timelines

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A reader asked me a question about letter of credit and trade finance timelines..

With a letter of credit. What sort of timings are usually connected to when the payment between banks occurs? Does the shipment sail prior to the LC being satisfied?

This is actually is a very good question – and the answer usually is: “it depends..” Kim Sindberg provides below comprehensive response on what it actually depends on and the relevant rules applicable..

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Do banks verify if cargo is actually loaded on a ship..??

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Do banks verify if cargo is actually loaded on a ship..??

Shippers who deal with documentary credit know that the term Shipped on Board carries quite a bit of weight and there is often a lot of discussions, disputes, rejections etc from the side of the bank if there is any discrepancy in the shipped on board clause or date or stamp or signature..

So one would naturally assume that the banks verify if the cargo covered in the bill of lading is actually loaded on board the ship or not..

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Part Bill of Lading to the rescue..

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When answering my last post Question regarding cargo under Letter of Credit, I mentioned that part bills could be a solution for two shipments in a same container where part of the cargo is covered by L/C and the other part is not..

However, there are several criteria/requirement in order for the carrier to be able to issue Part Bills of Lading and for the customer to accept Part Bills of Lading for this particular scenario..

We will examine these criteria/requirements in this post..

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UPDATE to – Question regarding cargo under Letter of Credit

FI for asked and answered

In my last post, I posed a question on behalf of a reader about the possibility of two cargoes being shipped under one bill of lading where one cargo is covered under Letter of Credit and other cargo is not..

Should the carrier issue two bills of lading..?? Or is mentioning in the same B/L the goods under L/C and goods that aren’t is enough..??

This post is an update where I have discussed the answer to the above question..

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Question regarding cargo under Letter of Credit

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What happens if the exporter would like to send in the same container goods covered by L/C in addition to some other goods.

Should the carrier issue two bills of lading..?? Or is mentioning in the same B/L the goods under L/C and goods that aren’t is enough..??

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