Alexandria

In The Ardennes (1950) it was held that the bill of lading was not in itself the contract between the shipowner and the shipper. The shipper was entitled to show that the prior promise, to call first at a UK port, constituted the contract on which he could make the shipowner liable for the payment of higher import duty.  As Lord Goddard said in The Ardennnes it is well settled that the bill of lading is not a contract itself between the shipowner and the shipper of goods although it is excellent evidence of (indeed Lord Bramwell in Sewell v. Burdick the best evidence of) that contract. Where the bill of lading is transferred to the consignee as in The Aliakmon (1986) or by the consignee to an indorsee, the bill of lading represents i.e. is the contract of carriage as between the consignee/indorsee and the shipowner.  In Leduc v. Ward (1888) it was held that the indorsee of a bill of lading was not affected by the alleged agreement between the shippers and the carriers that the ship would proceed via Glasgow. Where a Charterer charters the ship to carry goods for himself the bill of lading issued in respect of the goods is a receipt for those goods.  It is neither evidence nor the contract of carriage.  The charterparty contains the contract for the carriage of the goods as between the charterer and the shipowner.  In Rodocanachi v. Milburn (1886) R chartered M’s ship for carriage of a cargo of cotton seeds from Alexandria to the UK.  The bill of lading signed by the master contained an exclusion clause which was not in the charter party.  Lord Esher held M was liable for non-delivery of the goods.  The bill of lading did not operate as a new contract or alter the contract in the charter party.  In President of India v. Melcalf (1970) the charterer (the fob buyer) was also the consignee, but the contract of carriage was in the charter party between him and the owner.  Where the shipper is not the consignee the bill of lading is the contract of carriage between the owner and the consignee/indorsee.