Bulk Cargoes

In the case of homogeneous bulk cargoes, however, bills of lading should contain reference to (i.e.: evidence of) the relevant charterparty; adding, for example, that “all terms, conditions and exceptions of charterparty dated London… are deemed incorporated herein”. Indeed, charterparties frequently contain wording to the effect that certain charterparty clauses (e.g.: Clauses Paramount) are to be fully incorporated into bills of lading issued thereunder, and it is particularly important that the charterparty arbitration clause be incorporated into bills of lading as, failing this, a bill of lading holder may not be able to call for an arbitration against the carrier. Should any of the terms of these two documents be in conflict, however, those of the bill of lading will take precedence over those of the charterparty. This may sound strange at first when one considers how much work went into preparing the charterparty, but remember the paragraph about the B/L’s role as a document of title. If, for example, title to a cargo has indeed been ‘sold on’, a new consignee would be quite remote from the original negotiations between the charterer and the shipowner. What the consignee would have, however, is his document of title and that is what he paid money for and that is what he has a right to receive. Whilst, therefore, a B/L may incorporate the charterparty it should not mean that it incorporates anything that is more onerous than that which is specifically stated in the B/L. A ship’s port agent may be given the task of drawing up bills of lading, and if these are subsequently required for letter of credit transactions, it is useful that the agent be supplied with appropriate details of that letter of credit so that all relevant material can be included in the wording.