What are the Differences Between a Bill of Lading and a Charter Party Bill of Lading?

Understanding the main differences between a bill of lading and a charter party bill of lading.

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Under the current letter of credit rules and international standard banking practices, if a letter of credit calls for a marine bill of lading, then banks do not accept a charter party bill of lading in lieu of a marine bill of lading.

On this article I will try to answer the question “Why a charter party bill of lading is not acceptable in place of a marine bill of lading?” by clarifying the main differences between each transport documents.

Differences Between a Charter Party Bill of Lading and Marine Bill of Lading:

Charter Party Clause: Charter party bill of lading contains a clause stating that it is subject to a charter party. Marine bill of lading does not contain such a clause or similar wording.

Signatures:

  • Marine bills of lading can 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.
  • Charter party bills of lading can be signed by;
    • the master or a named agent for or on behalf of the master, or
    • the owner or a named agent for or on behalf of the owner, or
    • the charterer or a named agent for or on behalf of the charterer.

Usage:

  • Charter party bills of lading will be used mainly for big bulk shipments such as 20.000 mtons of soybean transportation from a US port to a Chinese port.
  • Marine bills of lading mostly used for containerized cargo that is transported by regular line container vessels.

Examples of Charter Party Clauses:

Below indications could turn a marine bill of lading into a charter party bill of lading. (Source : www.commerzbank.com)

  • “Prepayable freight paid as per charter party dd. …”
  • “Freight payable as per charter party dd. …”
  • “Freight as agreed”
  • “Bill of lading to be used with charter parties”
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