Module-Customer Clearing & Freight Forwarding

Third on one hand the rotterdam rules approves the

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Third, on one hand, the Rotterdam Rules approves the delivery of goods without a bill of lading under conditions; on the other hand, it balances the benefits of the holder of the original bill of lading. The balance is embodied in the provision in Article 47.2(d). A typical example of this theme is the intermediate buyer of goods after a series of negotiations. As the bill of lading is transferred too slowly in a series of negotiations, when the goods arrive at the place of destination, the bill of lading would not have arrived. According to the provision in Article 47.2(d), if the intermediate buyer becomes a holder of the bill of lading after the carrier has delivered the goods, he does not have the right to claim delivery of the goods; however, if the carrier is liable to cargo losses or damage, the intermediate buyer has the right to appeal against the carrier. The balance is also embodied in the protection of benefits of “the holder that becomes a holder after goods delivered, and that did not have and could not reasonably have had knowledge of such delivery at the time it became a holder”. According to provisions in Article 47.2(e), “a holder that becomes a holder after such delivery, and that did not have and could not reasonably have had knowledge of such delivery at the time it became a holder”, acquires the rights incorporated in the negotiable transport document or negotiable electronic transport record. While such cases are extremely rare in practice, given that business people in general are usually prudent and diligent to protect their own interests they will be prudent with the holder of the bill of lading in the delivery of the goods. In summary, the Rotterdam Rules is pragmatic legislation. It, on one hand, abolishes the rule of delivery of goods with the surrender of transport documents to some extent to meet the legitimate demand of delivery of goods without bill of lading in practice. On the other hand, it maintains the “document of title” function of the bill of lading. Whether the carrier can make
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219 delivery of goods without a bill of lading under the contractual parties’ control, when a negotiable transport document is issued will raise concerns. Faced with the fact the delivery of goods without a bill of lading happens frequently in practice under the principle of delivery of goods with the surrender of transport documents, compared with the practice of delivery of goods without bill of lading through letter of guarantee issued by the consignee or the bank in transportation, the provisions in the Rotterdam Rules are pragmatic and positive. If such provisions can be accepted by the legislation in various countries and the international cargo transport practice, they will undoubtedly prove to be of great significance to reduce disputes in delivery of goods without B/L and promote the international trade.
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Christopher Reinemann
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