Importance of Bill of Lading in Used Car Import from Japan


Bill of Lading often abbreviated as BoL or B/L is a legal document between the shipper of Japanese used cars and the carrier listing the type, quantity and destination of the cars being transported. The Bill of Lading is one of the most crucial documents associated with trade. Being a document of title, it is used as proof of transportation of vehicles in various authorities all over the world.

The Bill of Lading serves three important purposes:

  • As a receipt of shipment when the car is delivered to the destination port.
  • As an evidence for the contract of carriage.
  • As a document of ownership.

There are two types of B/L, either straight Bill of Lading or Order Bill. In straight bill vehicle is delivered to a chosen party, while in case of Order Bill, vehicles are shipped to the order of a named party. B/L can be both negotiable and non-negotiable. In negotiable form, B/L is issued in original and maybe consigned “To Order” or “To Order of Shipper” or “To Order of ABC Bank”. It is sometimes also known as an Order Bill. In non-negotiable form, a sea waybill may be issued instead of Bill of Lading as Under Article III of the Hague-Visby Rules, a carrier must, on demand, provide the shipper with a bill of lading; but if the shipper agrees, a lesser document such as a “sea waybill” may be issued instead.

The sea waybill does not grant title of the cars to the bearer, hence there is no need for the physical document to be presented for the vehicles to be released. The carrier will automatically release the cars to the consignee once the import formalities have been completed. This results in a much smoother flow of trade.

However, for Letter of Credit transactions, in negotiable form, Bill of Lading is commonly used in letter of credit transactions and may be bought, sold, or traded, or used as a security for borrowing money. It is important to retain title to the cars until the transaction is complete. This means that the Bill of Lading still remains a vital document within international trade.

It is an important financial instrument and contains the following information:

  • Consignor’s/Exporter’s and Consignee’s/Importer’s name.
  • Name of departure and destination ports.
  • Vessel’s name
  • Date of Departure.
  • Itemized list of cars being transported with number of packages and kind of packaging.
  • Marks and numbers of the packages.
  • Weight and/or volume of the cargo.
  • Freight rate and amount.

All the used vehicles from Japan are exported to the different countries are accompanied with the Bill of Lading, no matter the form of transportation. B/L is required in almost all the countries at the time of clearing the vehicle at the destination port and must be signed by authorized representatives from the carrier, shipper and receiver. To resolve the problem of cost and inefficiency with paper Bill of Lading, electronic Bill of Lading (eB/L) is used as substitute. The eB/L is equally legal and functional to that of paper bill of lading. The core functions of B/L such as receipt, evidence of contract of carriage must be replicated by eB/L and in case of negotiable, as a document of title.

A Bill of Lading is important while claiming compensation for any damage, delay, or loss. Even while resolving any disputes regarding ownership of the car in some cases, B/L is required. The rights, responsibilities, and liabilities of the carrier and the shipper under a bill of lading (often printed on its back) are governed generally either by the older Hague rules, or by the more recent Hague-Visby rules.

Bill of Lading is an important document while shipping the vehicle. It is general an agreement between the dealer, the carrier and the buyer. If B/L turns out to be inaccurate or wrong, then one may face costly consequences such as buyer may not receive the vehicle or may lost the right of insurance.


2 thoughts on “Importance of Bill of Lading in Used Car Import from Japan

  1. Pingback: Importance of Bill of Lading in Used Car Import from Japan |

  2. Pingback: What is Cargo Tracking Note? |

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