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The Countryman & McDaniel
Logisitics & Customs Documents
Transportation Document Overview
1. Master Ocean Bill of Lading / Air Waybill
2. House Bill of Lading/Air Waybill
3. Terms & Conditions of Service
4. Export Declaration & Shippers Letter of Instruction
5. FAA Security Endorsement
6. Invoice, Packing List, etc.
7. Bills of Lading From The Past - a present day tutorial, based on lessons of the past
Master Ocean Bill of Lading / Air Waybill
Generally speaking, an master ocean bill of lading (MB/L) is a document of title. Therefore , anyone win possession of the ocean bill of lading is entitled to possession. In contrast, a master air waybill (MAWB) is a receipt and evidence of the contract, but not a title document. The purpose of the air waybill is to (1) provide proof of the contract for carriage; (2) act as a receipt for the goods shipped; (3) act as the freight invoice; and (4) act as an insurance certificate, if insurance is requested. A master air waybill is issued by a carrier or a freight forwarder /IAC, acting as an agent of the airline. At the same time, the freight forwarder or an IAC is also the agent of the shipper. The effect of the MAW is to bind the parties to the contract to the terms and conditions of carriage, which are found on the face and reverse side of the air waybill. In the case of international shipments, the Warsaw Convention requires the issuance of a signed air waybill.
House Bill of Lading/Air Waybill
The House Bill of Lading/Air Waybill (HB/L- HAWB) is issued by an IAC or NVOCC. It is the contract for carriage between the shipper and the NVOCC/IAC. Generally, the IAC HAW are identical to the IATA form bill of lading and contain provisions concerning notice, limits on liability, etc. Like a MB/L - MAWB, the purpose of the HB/L- HAWB is to (1) provide proof of the contract for carriage; (2) act as a receipt for the goods shipped; (3) act as the freight invoice; and (4) act as an insurance certificate, if insurance is requested. In the case of ocean they are generally documents of title. The effect of the HB/L - HAWB is to bind the parties to the contract to the terms and conditions of carriage, which are found on the face and reverse side of the air waybill. In the case of international shipments, the Warsaw Convention requires the issuance of a signed air waybill.
Terms & Conditions of Service - U.S.
Terms & Conditions of Service are generally found on the reverse side of the IAC or freight forwarders invoice in the U.S. Many of the world's trading nations use similar trading terms to define legal obligations of local freight forwarders.
The effect of issuing Terms and Conditions of Service is to attempt to form a contract between the parties to the shipment and the NVOCC, IAC or freight forwarder. Each time an invoice is issued, the shipper is notified of the terms and conditions under which the service is provided. These terms and conditions limit the liability of the IAC or freight forwarder and seek to establish the rights and responsibilities of the parties to the transaction. Terms and conditions of service are essential to establish contract for services, such as a packing or COD collections, which fall outside services outside the contract for carriage (ocean, motor carrier or air waybill). The validity of Terms & Conditions of Service has been upheld by many published decisions of the U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal.
For a review of Terms & Conditions of Service, and how they are followed by the courts, in such trading nations as France, the UK and Kong Kong, vist our section on this subject at The Transport Law Navigator
To read the full text of Terms & Conditions of Service - CLICK HERE
Export Declaration & Shippers Letter of Instruction
Generally this is a two part form, the export declaration and shippers letter of instruction. A shipper's export declaration is required on all shipments with values exceeding US$2,500.00, and is required to be submitted to the airline and attached to the document pouch along with the master air waybill. U.S. Customs is presently testing an electronic filing system of the export declaration. The effect of the export declaration is to provide the U.S. Dept. of Census with accurate export statistics and allow for control of U.S. exports. There are significant penalties for falsifying export declarations. A completed shipper's letter of instructions should be provided to the forwarder by the shipper. The shipper's letter of instructions will provide the instructions and details as to how the shipment is to be transported, insured, reference numbers and any other special instructions which pertain to the shipment. The effect of the shippers letter of instruction is to authorize the IAC or freight forwarder to complete the export declaration and other documents necessary to complete the contract for carriage.
FAA Security Endorsement
Air Carriers and IACs are required by the Department of Transportation & The Federal Aviation Administration to enforce a cargo security program approved by the FAA that protects passenger aircraft's from the threat of explosive or destructive devices. You should be familiar with the definition of a "Known Shipper," "Other Than Known Shipper" and a FAA Security Endorsement.
Invoice, Packing List, etc.
The invoice should detail the buyer and seller, a description of the goods, the quantity, the amount paid, the terms of sale and date. The packing list generally provides the weight, number of cartons and other relevant shipping information for the corresponding commercial invoice. Taken together, the commercial invoice and packing list evidence a contract of the sale of goods between a buyer and seller and provide the NVOCC / IAC or freight forwarder with information about the value of the shipment and other requirements of the parties to the trisection. For example, a shipment of frozen fish may require a special temperature setting. This may be recited on the SLI, commercial invoice, packing list, or all three.
THE SAFEST COURSE:
Purchase quality air cargo insurance from your air forwarder professional and avoid uncertainty.
* The Cargo Letter does not provide legal advice applicable to specific situations. The information provided is believed generally reliable, but should be confirmed through the current text of cited laws and authorities. It is understood that all laws & authorities are subject to change without notice to the public. Where specific situations or the conduct of your busniess are concerned, it is important to consult your company attorney or advisor directly. The Cargo Letter cannnot be responsible for failure to follow these instructions.
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