If a bill of lading is an evidence of contract of carriage, then what is a contract of carriage..??

types of bill of lading - shipping and freight resource

A Bill of Lading is one of the most important documents in the shipping cycle and comes in different forms such as Negotiable or Order Bill of Lading, Seaway Bill of Lading or Express Bill of Lading and Straight Bill of Lading with further permutations and combinations such as Port to Port Bill of Lading, Combined Transport Bill of Lading or Multimodal Bill of Lading and Through Bill of Lading ..

As most of you may know by now, a Bill of Lading has 3 basic purposes or roles..

  1. Evidence of Contract of Carriage;
  2. Receipt of Goods; and
  3. Document of Title to the goods

In its role as Evidence of Contract of Carriage, the emphasis is on the term “Evidence” because contrary to popular belief, a Bill of Lading is neither

  1. a contract between the Seller and the Buyer nor
  2. a contract of carriage between the Carrier and Shipper

So if the bill of lading is the evidence of the contract of carriage, then what is the contract of carriage..??

This is the question in the minds of many in the industry and I will try to shed some light on this issue here..

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Product Review : CargoX Platform – secure, trusted, instant transfer for trade documents

Product Review by Shipping and Freight Resource

The world of shipping involves several commercial, documentary, operational and financial processes..

While there have been many developments in the industry, a lot of the documentary processes in shipping and freight has stayed much the same for many decades..

Delays in document transmissions which could take anywhere between 5-10 days with the added risk of loss or delay of documents have severe consequences such as demurrage, detention and/or port storage, possible loss or cargo damage due to non-clearance and abandoned cargo..

CarogX Platform, a neutral, public blockchain-based platform is offering to provide a solution which will help to digitalize the trade documentation process using BDT (Blockchain Document Transfer) and reduce document transmission time to 20 seconds..!!

I took the platform for a test drive to see how it works and if it can assist the industry in saving costs and making the process of document transfer simpler, easier, economical and more importantly, secure and safer..

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What is a Certificate of Origin..??

Certificate of Origin Shipping and Freight Resource

If you are in the business of international trade you would have no doubt heard about a Certificate of Origin.. But not everyone is familiar with what is a certificate of origin, why it is required, who issues it etc.. This article aims to clarify these points..

A Trade agreement is a contractual arrangement between countries concerning their trade relationships and how they conduct trade with each other..

Customs department in the importing country may require a “proof of origin” in order to determine whether or not the cargo that is imported may be subjected to trade measures such as the preferential duty tariff (for stuff that is imported from with the PTA bloc), free trade deals, prohibited goods etc..

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Government of India drives digitalization of the bill of lading and trade documents with Portall and CargoX

Government of India

India is digitalizing its bills of lading and other trade documentation workflows as one of the last missing elements within the country’s electronic Port Community System (PCS).

The PCS, offering the P-CaSo curated marketplace of specialized services, was built by Portall Infosystems, and they have integrated CargoX’s Platform for Blockchain Document Transfer (BDT).

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

sales contract and trade

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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Cargo release without Original Bill of Lading – COVID-19

cargo release without original bill of lading

The pandemic that is COVID-19 is sweeping the world, disrupting global trade patterns like never before.. When one part of the globe is starting to settle down, the other part starts or spikes..

No one has any real idea of how long it will take for the world to get back to normal and its after effects..

Shipping lines, importers, exporters, ports, terminals, Governments, all businesses, insurance companies have all been affected by the pandemic and continue to look for ways to make the business of shipping as easy as possible considering the severe constraints everyone is going through..

This issue is also putting some of the documentary issues and cargo releases under pressure and leaving the industry to face the unknown.. One such issue that is affecting business is the transmission and handling of Original Bills of Lading..

There are a few options that customers can exercise to secure release of cargo without Original Bill of Lading..

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ONE more line goes the route of Electronic Bill of Lading

featured image for EBL

Probably not related to COVID-19 but right on time, Ocean Network Express (ONE), the world’s sixth largest container line became the latest shipping line to offer fully electronic bills of lading to their customers..

As we have seen, we are in a unique moment in history as COVID-19 sweeps through the world affecting all countries around the world and in many cases disrupting the flow of physical documentation flow, especially with regards to Original Bills of Lading..

ONE announced recently that they handled their first ever electronic negotiable Bill of Lading (eB/L) using essDOCS’s paperless document solution, CargoDocs..

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Coronavirus COVID-19 and Bill of Lading

electronic bills of lading - shipping and freight resouce

Last year, I asked a question “Electronic bill of lading – are you and your country ready for it..??”..

This question could not be more relevant TODAY, considering the current circumstances, and the impact COVID-19 on the shipping and freight industry..

An electronic paperless bill of lading is a bill of lading issued electronically instead of being printed on paper and issued physically to the customer as a hard copy..

Whether using an electronic paperless bill of lading issued on the back of a Blockchain based platform or a Bolero based platform, these electronic bill of lading options are said to fulfill the functions in the same manner as a traditional paper bill of lading..

Many believe that the electronic bill of lading will be a game changer in the shipping industry with faster, efficient transactions, reduction in costs with greater security and less risk..

However, there were concerns on the issue of safety, security and acceptability relating to the transmission and receipt of electronic paperless bill of lading and in several cases it was required to check whether the carrier and country were ready for electronic paperless bill of lading..

Currently, we are in a unique moment in history where as per reports, COVID-19 has affected all countries around the world.. And this my friends is a time when almost all shipping lines and customers would be wishing that they had access to Electronic Paperless Bills of Lading..

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Pitfalls of digitalisation in shipping and freight

Opinion Piece

Digitisation, Digitalisation, Digital Transformation are some buzz words that have recently taken the shipping and freight industry by storm..

Let’s take a quick look at what these terms mean and what it is all about..

While Digitalisation is inevitable in the industry, there are also some pitfalls and you can read about the pitfalls and how to avoid it here..

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Trade and Digitalisation

Trade and digitalisation

Trade as we know it (or don’t know it) has been around for centuries in various forms across various time-lines..

Starting from trade on the Silk roads around 1st century BC, through the Spice Routes between the 7th and 15th centuries to the current age of globalisation, trade has come a long way indeed..

While the business of trade itself hasn’t changed from the basic concept of buying and selling, the methodology of trade and trade patterns have changed drastically especially over the last few decades..

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G2 Ocean to strengthen its digital footprint

Digitalisation - shipping and freight resource

Developing, implementing and providing new digital solutions to its customers lies at the core of G2 Ocean’s business. 

For many companies in the shipping industry, where the digital transformation is moving slower than many other industries, new developments such as Blockchain, Internet of Things, Big Data, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence are merely buzzwords.

But not to G2 Ocean. Since the company launched in 2017, it has had a continuous focus on developing and implementing new digital solutions for its customer, employees and partners.

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Electronic bill of lading – are you and your country ready for it..?? – Part 1

featured image for EBL

Global trade has been around for centuries in various forms, starting from the Silk roads to the current Digital economy/age and has come a long way bringing alongwith it many changes and advances..

After the 3rd Industrial Revolution brought the Internet into play, there has been no turning back for globalisation with global exports accounting for almost 25% of global GDP..

Digitalisation, which was very much in its infancy a few decades ago has become the new frontier of globalization.. Advances like Blockchain, IoT, Big Data, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence have arrived in our industry as well and are here to stay, innovate and enhance global trade..

One of the digital advances that is catching on quite quick is an Electronic Bill of Lading..

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Documentation and other tips for household relocation

household relocation

Household Relocation…………………… a stressful item for many people but sometimes inevitable.

Moving internationally is not an easy thing to do and you have to try and stay well-informed about many things. It could be a tedious process both on the pocket and the mind. You may face several stressful moments.

Avoiding cargo damage, safeguarding yourselves against fraudulent freight forwarders, gathering the correct documentation for household relocation and also ensuring that your goods reach your new destination in time and in good condition.

You may also be faced with endless paperwork, customs and port documentation as well as many other forms of documentation for the move.

The paperwork and documents that you and your family need might take months to gather if you don’t know which ones you need at the very beginning. If just one is missing, it could be a big problem for you. And when moving internationally, you don’t want to have any problems at all – or you want to at least keep them as minimal as possible.

Here are some tips about documentation that you need for international household relocation.

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Blockchain based bills of lading making rapid progress

Bill of Lading in retirement

Another one bites the dust.. By this I mean another company that is moving away from Paper Bill of Lading.. 🙂

It is inevitable that influential shippers and shipping lines are embracing tech one after the other.. Whether it is India’s first blockchain enabled Letter of Credit transaction, the first smart bill of lading issued using blockchain or the first blockchain based coffee exchange, technological innovations are here to stay in the shipping and freight industry..

G2 Ocean and Manuchar became the latest partnership to show that paper Bill of Lading is ready for retirement..  Together, they completed a successful pilot trial of CargoX’s blockchain-based Smart Bill of Lading Solution..

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Saudi Customs completes first blockchain based shipment

blockchain - shipping and freight resource

Blockchain seems to have become a prolific “enabler” of businesses, particularly in the shipping and freight and trade industry..

Whether in its use by Banks and Shippers to create Trade Finance documents; or creating and transmitting smart bills of lading; or setting up a blockchain-based marketplace app for trading in coffee; or making documentation easy for ports; or ensuring prompt delivery of mandarins for the Chinese New Year; Blockchain is making its presence felt quite rapidly in our industry..

Many shipping lines, ports, financial institutions and other private entities are using Blockchain and testing it in many different ways through many pilot projects..

Saudi Customs became the latest entity to successfully test drive its first shipment powered the blockchain technology..

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