What is a Seaway Bill?

A seaway bill is a receipt for goods shipped on board :

  1. Is a good evidence of existence and terms of a contract between the shipper and the carrier, but not a contract by itself;
  2. Identifies the person to whom the delivery of goods is to be made by the carrier in accordance with the contract of carriage. In contrast to a B/L the seaway bill always bears the consignee name and address in an appropriate box.
  3. Is non-negotiable and usually (but not always) bear the words “non-negotiable” on their face. The condition of carriage may also bear a statement such as “This Waybill is not a bill of lading and no bill of lading will be issued” or “This Waybill is not a document of title”.
  4. Is not a document of title and does not give the right to possession of the goods.
  5. May be a receipt for the freight, if endorsed to indicate that freight is paid.
  6. May contain conditions of carriage.
  7. May be subject to Hague-Visby Rules or Hague Rules.

A seaway bill is used when a negotiated document will not be required i.e. when the goods will not be sold or credit will not be raised on the security of the goods from a bank etc. If the shipper and the buyer are well established trading partners, seaway bill is encouraged by BIMCO.

The benefits of a seaway bill as against a B/L are that :

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