Bills of lading


In general, provisions of Vietnamese law as to the bill of lading are quite in conformity with international law. In the light of the Maritime Code, the bill of lading is identified as one of the transport documents, besides through bill of lading, sea waybill, and other transport documents. The bill of lading shall serve as evidence that the carrier has received goods of which quantity, nature, and condition are consistent with those specified in that bill of lading for the purpose of carrying such goods to the place of discharge; evidence of the ownership of the cargo and shall be used for the disposal or receipt of the cargo and evidence of the contract of carriage of cargo by sea.

Form of the bill of lading 

Form of a bill of lading shall be issued by sea transport service enterprises and must be sent and archived in maritime state authorities. Contents of the bill of lading must include the statutory particulars. 

The absence in the bill of lading of one or more such particulars does not affect its legal character provided that it is appropriate to the bill of lading’s role regulated by the law. In case the carrier’s name is not specified in the bill of lading, the ship owner shall be deemed the carrier. If the bill of lading contains inaccurate and fraudulent particulars about the carrier, the ship owner shall be liable for any compensation for any loss arising and shall be then accorded the right to request the carrier’s reimbursement. 

Delivery of the goods 

When the ship arrives at the port of discharge, the carrier shall be obliged to deliver the goods to the legal consignee if that consignee shows the original bill of lading. After the goods have been discharged, the bill of lading shall become void. Subject to each type of bill of lading, transfer of such bill of lading shall be different. 

  1. The order bill of lading is transferred by endorsement. The last person who endorsed the bill of lading being entitled to issue the order for delivery of goods is the legitimate consignee.  
  2. The anonymous bill of lading is transferred by the carrier’s handing over such bill of lading to the transferee. The person showing the anonymous bill of lading is the legitimate consignee. 
  3. The nominative bill of lading shall not be transferred. The person whose name is borne in the nominative bill of lading is the legitimate consignee. 

The current laws keep silence on delivery of the goods without the production of original bill of lading. As a result, international custom will be referred to. 

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