The Bill of Lading and the Sea Waybill are essential documents that guarantee maritime transport both nationally and internationally. Both are documents specific to maritime transport, but they have certain non-conformities. So, in this article, we tell you the main differences between the Bill of Lading and the Sea Waybill.
Bill of Lading
The sea bill of lading, known as Bill of Lading, is the accreditation of the existence of a transport in maritime service. This BL is issued by the shipping company indicating that the goods have been received on board the vessel.
The functions that the bill of lading must fulfil are:
- Acknowledgement of receipt of the goods and the state in which they have been received.
- Proof of the existence of a transport contract.
- Title deed, which grants ownership to the holder of the document. The legal owner of the cargo will be the one who appears on the B/L as consignee and must present the document to remove the goods from the port of destination.
- It can be issued by the ship's master or the transport company. Usually 3 original B/Ls and a certain number of copies are issued.
It is most advisable to use it when the commercial relationship between client and supplier is recent or not yet trustworthy, in other words, when a representative title is needed to protect the goods and to guarantee payment before the goods are picked up by the consignee.
Particulars to be included in a B/L
- Name and address of the carrier.
- Name and address of the shipper.
- Name and nationality of the ship.
- Port of loading and discharge or final destination.
- Name and address of the person or entity notified of the arrival of the goods.
- Nature and quality of the goods (number of packages or pieces, quantity or weight and identifying marks).
- State and apparent condition of the cargo.
- Freight agreed and place of payment. If paid, write "pre-paid", otherwise "collect".
- No. of originals delivered.
- Place, date and signature of the carrier, shipping agent or master
It also includes the amount of freight, surcharges, the currency used and whether the freight was paid at origin or will be paid at destination.
On the other hand, we find the so-called Sea Waybill, also known as Express Release Bill of Lading or Straight Bill of Lading, which, like the Bill of Lading, serves as a contract of carriage and attests to the state in which the goods have been received.
This document only verifies that the goods have been shipped and received, but does not transfer ownership of the goods, so it has no title of value.
Among its characteristics we can find:
- The SWB functions as evidence of the contract of carriage and receipt of goods, simply fulfilling an evidentiary function.
- The main purpose of this document is that the goods can be picked up immediately by the consignee indicated in the document, without the consignee having to present any original paperwork to claim the cargo.
- It is mainly used when the shipper wishes to release the cargo quickly, as soon as it arrives at the port.
Data included in the SWB
- Shipper's name.
- Name of consignee.
- Port of origin.
- Port of destination.
- Sea route on which the vessel will sail.
This document is very useful because it allows export and import to be expedited quickly. Once the exporter has the SWB in his hands, he gives the go-ahead to release the goods, which automatically come under the control of the port. After that, the transport company can start the process of getting the goods to their destination.
Differences between BL and SWB
The main difference is that the SWB does not transfer ownership and therefore does not function as a security. However, the Bill of Lading is used as evidence of the contract of carriage and receipt of goods as a credit note.
In other words, the Sea Waybill is itself a contract and receipt of goods, so it is not recommended to ship only with the Sea of Waybill, unless there is a relationship of trust between exporter and importer. In the meantime, the B/L also fulfils a title function, so this document can allow the holder to dispose of the goods.
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