What’s a Marine Waybill?

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Sea waybills are proof of a contract between a shipper and shipping company, allowing for the release of goods to the consignee. They are an alternative to bills of lading, which can be delayed. Sea waybills cannot transfer title, unlike bills of lading.

Shipping companies issue sea waybills to shippers as a sort of proof or evidence that a contract of carriage exists between the shipper in question and the shipping company. Simply put, the sea waybill is a document that serves as proof that the shipper has indeed received the cargo from the shipper and has agreed to take it to a stated destination. In some ways, the sea waybill is similar to the bill of lading, which is the primary shipping document.

The sea waybill is important because it is an alternative to the bill of lading for the purpose of shipping the goods and for someone to collect the goods upon arrival at the port of destination. The reason this document is needed is because the bill of lading may take much longer to arrive due to situations such as postal delays and other unforeseen circumstances. In this sense, the sea waybill also acts as an authorization for the release of the goods covered by the document to the consignee indicated on the document. This precaution helps shippers to speed up the process of unloading the cargo upon arrival at the final destination. Without the waybill, they may be forced to wait for the various bills of lading for the different loads to arrive, which could delay the unloading process.

To this end, shippers usually require those seeking to ship any cargo to present sea waybills before accepting cargo from them. This assures them that they will not be subjected to any unnecessary delays caused by the delayed arrival of the bill of lading at the port of discharge. This document is used in both international and local travel. For international travel, the owner of the cargo may require the sender to collect the goods from one point and deliver them to the consignee. In this type of arrangement, sea waybills often come in handy to speed up the process of delivering the goods without waiting for the bill of lading to arrive.

One major difference between sea waybills and bills of lading is that the bill of lading can transfer title, but the sea waybill cannot do the same. This means that the bill of lading can be used as a form of security, unlike the sea waybill. The reason is that the consignee name on the sea waybill is locked and cannot be changed after it has been issued by the cargo owner. Conversely, the owner of the cargo or the person whose name is on the bill of lading can transfer title to anyone.

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