Hamburg

Similar in appearance (and function) to the conventional B/L except on the face it will have ‘boxes’ allowing for the name of a pre-carrier to be inserted together with the place of acceptance by the pre-carrier, then the usual port of loading and port of discharge will appear followed by the name of the on-carrier with space for showing the place of delivery by the on-carrier. It will be seen that such a B/L is suitable where the ocean carrier is remote from the place of origin and/or place of destination so that the cargo has to be “fed” to/from the loading/discharging port of the ocean carrier, usually by a coaster or short-sea vessel. A through B/L should not be confused with a Combined Transport B/L which will be considered shortly.  The point to emphasise is that the ocean carrier acts as agent for the pre/on carrier(s). He undertakes to make the arrangements and charges a single through rate but his liability is only for the ocean voyage, claims arising through problems during pre/on carriage have to be made to those parties. A through bill must provide coverage for the entire voyage.  In Hanson v. Hamel & Horley (1922) cod guano was to be shipped from Norway to Japan.  It was put on board a local vessel for transhipment at Hamburg onto a Japanese vessel.  A document, called a through bill of lading, was issued by the second carrier at Hamburg.  The House of Lords held that this was a bad tender because whatever the document purported to be it was not a bill of lading and since it was not issued until Hamburg it did not cover the local voyage.  If the goods had been damaged at the local stage the consignee would have had no action against the first carrier.