What is a bill of lading?
The Vehicle Shipping Documentation
A Bill of Lading is a contract to carry the goods to its final destination. You will need to have this documentation in order for you to take delivery of your vehicle upon arrival at its final destination. In most cases a Telex Release can be used where a copy of the Bill of Lading is sufficient, although there are some Countries that will actually require you to have the Original Bill of Lading. This will be organised by the shipper who will upon receipt arrange for air courier delivery to the consignee before the vessel is due to arrive at the port.
The Bill of Lading contains information such as the
- Complete address and telephone number for the point of origin;
- The final shipping destination address and contact details;
- Vehicle details such as vehicle registration, vin/chassis number, year of manufacture and the colour of the vehicle;
- The dimensions of the vehicle to include the approximate weight and cube (CBM=cubic metre). The CBM is worked out as follows:- eg. 5.00 x 2.50 x 1.66mtrs = 20.75CBM.
The Bill of Lading also includes an Inspection area where you can record information relating to major dents or defects in your vehicle (hopefully this is not necessary). When your vehicle has been delivered to the port or the final destination, you MUST make sure that you do a thorough inspection before signing the document. Your shipping agent cannot do anything to assist you if you do happen to find any damage (which is a rare occasion) once you have signed for the release.
If you are unfortunate and damage has occurred, you must note down any damage and contact your shipping agent who will be able to either reimburse you directly or through the insurance company, verifiable damage and proof of negligence must be proved to the shipper or contractor who is shipping your vehicle.
Do I need the Original Bill of Lading?
You will need to speak to the local customs agent at the destination prior to shipping your vehicle overseas. You will need to know in advance, if you will need to arrange to have the original documentation sent to you, the agent or if they will actually accept a telex release. Unfortunately you cannot have both, it is one or the other – so it is important to get this right. To get it wrong can cause un-necessary delays in collecting your vehicle from the port.
Can my car be cleared at customs using a Telex Release?
Some countries prefer this. A telex release replaces the need to have the original bill of lading couriered to you. If the telex release option is preferred, the shipping line will hold at their office 3 original copies – these will remain on file for a number of years in the sole care of the shipping line. A telex release is an internal message from the shipping line direct to the ships agent to advise them that freight has been paid by the shipper or will need collecting by the consignee at the port of arrival.