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Multimodal / Combined Bill of Lading in Letters of Credit Transactions











Definition and Usage :

On this page I will try to explain you "Multimodal Transport Bills of Lading" and "Combined Transport Bills of Lading". Both multimodal bill of lading and combined bill of lading are transport documents covering transport by more than one mode of transport. (No idea what mode of transport means, please follow this link for detailed explanation. Keep reading...)

Types of Transport Document Covering at Least Two Different Modes of Transport :

Multimodal Transport Bills of Lading : Multimodal Transport Bills of Lading are mostly printed on International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations (FIATA) standard pre-printed bill of lading forms. Multimodal transport document defined on UNCTAD / ICC Rules for Multimodal Transport Documents (ICC publication 481) as follows, a multimodal transport document (MT document) means a document evidencing a multimodal transport contract and which can be replaced by electronic data interchange messages insofar as permitted by applicable law and be,
(a) issued in a negotiable form or,
(b) issued in a non-negotiable form indicating a named consignee.

Important Note : Multimodal Transport Bills of Lading and Combined Transport Bills of Lading has the same meaning and application under letter of credit rules.

Through Bill of Lading :  Through Bill of lading is virtually identical to the Multimodal Transport Bill of lading but with one major difference. The Multimodal Transport Bill of Lading is issued by the Multimodal Transport Operator (MTO) (generally the sea carrier) who takes responsibility of the goods (e.g. shortages, losses, damages) during the entire period of transport, thus not only for the sea passage but also for the other transport modes as well. The Through Bill of Lading is issued by the sea carrier but the carrier states on the contract of carriage that he is only responsible of the goods for that part of the carriage he takes care of, such as the sea passage only. (source : www.maritimeknowhow.com )

Multimodal / Combined Bill of Lading in Letters of Credit Transactions :

Transport Document Covering at Least Two Different Modes of Transport covered under article 19 UCP 600.

a. A transport document covering at least two different modes of transport (multimodal or combined transport document), however named, must appear to:
i. indicate the name of the carrier and be signed by:
- the carrier or a named agent for or on behalf of the carrier, or - the master or a named agent for or on behalf of the master.
ii. indicate that the goods have been dispatchedtaken in charge or shipped on board at the place stated in the credit.
iii. indicate the place of dispatch, taking in charge or shipment and the place of final destination stated in the credit,
iv. be the sole original transport document or, if issued in more than one original, be the full set as indicated on the transport document.
v. contain terms and conditions of carriage or make reference to another source containing the terms and conditions of carriage (short form or blank back transport document). 
vi. contain no indication that it is subject to a charter party. (source : UCP 600)

Special Hints on Transport Document Covering at Least Two Different Modes of Transport from ISBP 2007 :

  • In all places where the term “multimodal transport document” is used within this document, it also includes the term combined transport document. A document need not be titled “Multimodal transport document” or “Combined transport document” to be acceptable under UCP 600 article 19, even if such expressions are used in the credit.

  • If a credit requires presentation of a transport document covering transportation utilizing at least two modes of transport ... the transport document must not indicate that shipment or dispatch has been effected by only one mode of transport.


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What is Multimodal Transport Bills of Lading? How can we use a combined transport document in a letter of credit transaction? 
Multimodal transport bill of lading and combined bill of lading are transport documents covering transport by more than one mode of transport.



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