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International business law, go

Carriage of Goods by Sea

Transportation is a key element in todays business world. Along with the sale of goods one must ship them some how to the customer. In cases of international shipment there are many different rules and regulations that the shipper must follow in order to legally transport their goods. When a company ships their goods they generally ship by common carriers, in other words a carrier that transports more than parties goods. If however a party contracts to employ an entire vessel, then that is know as charterparty. The following paper focuses on the Common Carriage and aspects such as bill of lading, the carriers duties under a bill of lading, the carriers immunities, liability limit, time limitations, and third-party rights.

A general ship or a common carrier is a vessel that the owner or operator willing carries goods for more than one person. There are three different types of common carriers. First is a conference line which is an association of seagoing carriers who have joined together to offer common freight rates. Those that chose to ship all or a large share of their cargo through this process receives a discounted rate. Second is an independent line, which is when the vessel has their own rate schedules. Generally, independent lines have a lower rate than that of the conference discounted price. Finally the third aspect of common carrier is tramp vessels which are similar to independent lines by the fact that they have their own rate schedule, but they differ from both in that they don't operate on established schedules.

The next topic is the bill of lading, which is an instrument issued by an ocean carrier to a shipper that serves as a receipt of the contract of carriage, and as a document of title for the goods. The treaty that governs the bill of lading is the International Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules of Law Relating to Bills of Lading. It is also known as the 1921 Hague Rules and the Brussels convention of 1924. The Hague Rules were extensively revised in 1968 by a Brussels Protocol. The amended version is known as the Hague-Visby Rules. Most countries are a party to the 1921 Hague Rules, and a few have adopted that Hague-Visby amendments such as France and the United Kingdom. A bill of lading serves three purposes, First it is a carrier's receipt for goods. Second it is evidence of a contract of carriage, and finally it is a document of title. This means that the person rightfully in possession fo the bill is entitled to possess, use, and dispose of the goods that the bill represents.

One aspect of the bill of lading is that of the receipt for goods. A bill of lading must describe the goods put on board a carrier, and state the quantity and their condition. The process once goods are to be shipped goes as follows, first the form is filled out in advance by the shipper, then as the goods are loaded aboard the shop, the carrier's tally clerk will check to see that the loaded goods comply with the goods listed. The carrier, however is only respnsible to check for outward compliance. If all appears correct the agent of the carrier will sign the bill and return it to the shipper. This process leading up to the bill called a clean bill of lading.

If however a discrepancy is noted by the carriers clerk then a notation may be added to the bill of lading. This is called a claused bill of lading, which is a bill of lading indicating that some discrepancy exists between the goods loaded and the goods listed on the bill. These bills are normally unacceptable to third parties, including a buyer or the goods under a CIF contract or a bank which has agreed to pay the seller under a documentary credit on receipt of the bill of lading and other documents. Later notations will have no effect, and the bill will be treated as if it were clean.

When using bill of lading your need to distinguish between two different types, the straight bill and the order bill. A straight bill is issued to a named consignee and is nonnegotiable. The transfer of a straight bill gives the transferee no greater rights than those rights of his transferor. An order bill, on the other hand, is negotiable and conveys greater rights. One that holds an order bill has a claim to title and , by surrendering the bill, to delivery of the goods.

When a carrier is at sea they must follow the following duties under a bill of lading. First is the must make the ship seaworthy. They also must properly manning, equipping, and supplying the ship. Next they are to make the holds, refrigerating, and cool chambers, and all other parts of the ship in which goods are carried, fit and safe for their reception, carriage, a preservation. Finally the are to properly and carefully loading, handling, stowing, carrying, keeping, caring for, and discharging the goods carried. All of these restrictions are strictly enforced by the courts. Like in the case of Co. Pty., Ltd. v. Lancashire Shipping Co., Ltd. in which cargo was damaged by water due to the negligent work of a shipfitter employed by a ship repair company. The courts held that the carrier had failed to use due diligence in making the ship seaworthy.

The next issue of carriage of goods by sea are the liability limits. In the past carriers have long attempted to set monetary limits on their liability in the event that they were found liable for loss or damage ...

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