Sending goods on a risky long trip abroad implies a high degree of confidence and a time limit during the journey of the goods. Complex financing and documentation have therefore evolved. That's how the trend of the e- bill was set up. Succinctly, an “electronic bill (e- bill)” is either printed or a written receipt (bill) mentioning the prices of the goods or services which are on their way to delivery or else need to be delivered. “Lade” refers to transfer the freight via ship, aircraft, or motor vehicles from one place to another. Thereupon, the e- bill of lading is a kind of record comprised of few significant features like-
a) An agreement between a consignor (owner or supplier of the goods shipped) and carrier (any person or company assigned for transferring the goods). In this case, the transportation Company issues the records of the goods to the shipper and is also responsible for any sort of damage or loss regarding the goods towards the shipper.
b) In the e- bill of lading, the shipper has to mention the possible details of the goods which are meant to be delivered, such as the category of the good, price, quantity, final destination, and lastly about the mode of transportation.
Here, the consignor is not bound to submit all the original documents before the time of delivery of goods to the carrier. Consequently, the shipper is required to hold on to the authority over the bunch of originals until the payment is been effectuated by the carrier or a bill of exchange is obtained, or some kind of other security for securing the future payment which will be bestowed. Hence, an e- bill of lading can be declared as a legal document that incorporates all the necessary details, required by both the shipper and carrier for their convenience of shipping the freight through several nautical countries and invoicing it accurately. E- bill of lading are categorized into two types-
a)Negotiable bill of lading: The buyer or receiver or his/her agent is required to exhibit an original copy of the bill at the port of discharge. In case he/she fails to produce the original copy at the moment of the delivery process, freight will not be released.
b)Non-negotiable bill of lading: In case of a non-negotiable bill of lading, there is a fixing done of the specific consignee or his/her name of the receiver. Anyways the bill itself does not set out the ownership of the goods.
II.IN WHAT WAYS THE E- BILL OF LADING IS USEFUL?-
Till now, it has been clear to us that what the e- bill of lading serves to the people involved in shipments and customers getting benefitted out of it. E- bill of lading in reality serves as a transport document that validates evidence of the contract for the transportation of carriage of goods. A negotiable bill of lading comes with the subsequent legal qualities:
a)It is being treated as evidence which proves that the carriage transporting the goods from one to another point is included within the terms and condition of the contract drafted.
b)It constitutes a receipt, witnessing that the freight acquired by the carrier as mentioned in the contract. Also, gives the security that the goods will be received in a satisfactory condition.
c)It’s a legal document holding the title and allowing for the sale of goods in transit with a certain inclination in financial credit.
d) It is important to be able to play its "founding point in international trade" by defining both carriers' and shipping companies' responsibilities and rights. This is based on the credit needed to finance commercial contracts, which can be established through bankers.
III.VARIOUS METHODS FOR BILL OF LADING-
THROUGH THE EXECUTION PART:
1. Straight bill of lading: It reveals that once the goods are consigned to a designated person, it then becomes non-negotiable from the present valuation of goods.
2. Open bill of lading: This is a type of negotiable bill that gives the option for changing the name of the Consignee is present after obtaining the consignees’ signature. This bill of lading can be pass on multiple times.
3. Bearer bill of lading: This type of bill states that the delivery will be conveyed to whosoever bearing the bill. These bills are useful when carrying bulk cargo.
4. Order bill of lading: This bill is used to make the bill negotiable by the wording. The freight is delivered after the verification of the true owner of the cargo bill, and the delivery order and the checked lading account are verified by an agent.
THROUGH VARIOUS METHOD OF OPERATIONS:
1.Received for shipment bill of lading: This type of bill is forwarded from the agent to the shipper. The bill's approval gives assurance but doesn't confirm that the carrier has received products onboard the vessel assigned.
2.Shipped Bill of Lading: When the cargo is loaded on either means of transport, the cargo bill gets issued. It directly binds the buyer and the supplier.
3.A clean bill of lading: Under this bill, when the cargo loaded in the ship is apparently in the correct order and expected condition. Then such a loading bill does not contain a clause or note that explicitly states that the goods and packaging are defective. It demonstrates that the goods were received in any other than good condition by the carrier.
4.Through Bill of Lading: This lading bill is a legal document enabling direct cargo delivery from one point to the next. It permits the transport of goods both inside and outside national borders.
5.Combined Transport Bill of Lading: This bill allows for information on freight that is transported by sea and by land, that is via the transportation of several models.
6.Dirty bill of lading: When the shipowner objects towards “the cargo condition in order”, he/she may showcase a clause causing the loading bill to be “dirty”. For example, ripped packing, broken cargo, quantity deficits, etc.
IV.LEGAL REGULATIONS RELATING TO E- BILL OF LADING-
With respect to the bill of lading, some major key points must be incorporated in it which are as follows-
1. In a legible and easy-to-place format, the name and address of the shipper and the consignee (contact information) must be added.
2. Purchase orders and special reference numbers shall be used because these two acts as a specific identification document for the goods transported and are necessary for their collection and delivery.
3. The shipper and the receiver of the goods for their handling and acceptance shall be given special instructions.
4. The date of the pickup of the ships should be informed when the shipper loaded the goods. The recipient of the product can reconcile the shipping invoices with this date.
5. Description of items should be provided because this includes cargo details such as total unit counts, dimensions, weight, and material and make-up information.
6. Information relating to the type of packaging for the packaging of the load must be provided. It could therefore be decided whether the cargo can be transported by cardboard, pallet, box, or drum.
7. As this affects the shipping costs, NMFC Freight Class must be informed. Weight, size, density, ease of handling, value, liability, and storage ability are determined in 18 classes of freighters.
A Lading Bill is an important document, and it has been a century-old document in the field of international trade and marine insurance. It provides the exporter with financial security and allows goods to be traded many times before reaching their destination while in transit. However, due to the different documentary practices of carriers, bankers, and shippers, many challenges get created for the paperless trade.
The challenge in an electronic context is “to maintain the marketability of electronic records that replicate paper data by, inter alia, securing their true, unique and confidential electronic system”. Companies do not have trust in electronic bills for international business because of their security concerns and document authority.
Legally, the transfer of ownership by delivery of goods from the seller to the purchaser must be made. However, it is a business rather than a legal decision to use an electronic loading statement. The legislation applicable to electronic lading bills may act in the same way as the traditional lading bill. Nevertheless, the use of electronics loading letters focuses more on the accuracy, data protection, transactional security, and procurement. The issue is not legal solutions, but technology.
June 17, 2021