Electronic bill of lading
– Bill of lading is considered one of the most important and compulsory documents required in the international shipping and customs clearance. Thereon, we will tackle one of the most important kinds of the bill of lading which is represented in the electronic marine bill of lading. Whereas the electronic marine bill of lading has become one of the irreplaceable matters in the field of the electronic trade by the traders and commercial companies. Accordingly, it is deemed electronic method that is used in the dealings, and it may be used in objection or referring to it for proof purposes. Thus, this concept includes many terms represented in the electronic messages, records, contracts and deeds.
Building on the foregoing, United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Carriage of Goods Wholly or Partly by Sea (the “Rotterdam Rules”) identified the electronic bill of lading in the first article – paragraph 18 as follows:
“means information in one or more messages issued by electronic communication under a contract of carriage by a carrier, including information logically associated with the electronic transport record by attachments or otherwise linked to the electronic transport record contemporaneously with or subsequent to its issue by the carrier, so as to become part of the electronic transport record, that proves the carrier’s or a performing party’s receipt of goods under a contract of carriage; and proves the presence of or contains a contract of carriage. “
– As long as the electronic bill of lading is deemed evidence for proving, so it is a legal argument that may prove the reverse, so it is distinguished by many functions represented in receiving the goods and possession of the goods in the electronic bill of lading.
First: Receipt of the goods:
– Receipt of the goods is considered one of the most important main functions for which the bill of lading was created as the marine custom considers it as confession by the captain or carrier regarding receipt of the goods on board.
The electronic bill of lading is considered as evidence for receipt of the goods by the carrier, so importance of this function lies in signing the electronic bill of lading by its parties.
Second: Possession of the goods:
– But as for possession of the goods in the electronic bill of lading, the conditions that shall be met in the electronic bill of lading will be shown in order to be a tool for representing the goods and then its possession which are represented in:
First: Conditions of representation of the electronic marine bill of lading of the goods:
– The marine transport activity is deemed international as it keeps up with the development and fast-paced world trade. Hence, it is necessary to meet three conditions in the electronic bill of lading to play its role in representation of the goods transported by the sea and to do its function that is performed by the ordinary bill of lading.
Second: The electronic marine bill of lading is a tool for representing the goods:
– The electronic marine bill of lading is not considered as an equity instrument as it is not conditioned in its holder to be owner of the goods that he represents. In addition, the ownership is not acquired except by a contract and when the carrier issues the electronic marine bill of lading, he issues a document which proves that he received the goods from the shipper and undertakes by it to deliver the goods to the consignee. Additionally, the electronic bill of lading is a tool for proving shipping of the goods as it is considered to be a credit tool because it represents the shipped goods and takes its place.
– Building on the foregoing, the tool of the electronic marine bill of lading is deemed a possession tool as it allows its legal holder to dispose of the goods during the voyage and using the electronic bill of lading according to the methods prescribed by the law.
Third: Idea of representation of the traditional bill of lading of the goods – Representation of the bill of lading has a significant importance in the field of transport and trading which requires the speed and guarantee, especially after increase of the trading exchange among the countries which are done by the marine transport. The bill of lading plays important role in representation of the goods as such money is no longer delayed to be invested during the period in which the goods are transported by the sea. Since this period is often a long time due to expansion of the international trading exchange as transport of the goods needs long times that reach sometimes many months. Therefore, due to the electronic marine bill of lading, the money is no longer held without exploitation but it has become investable and tradable during this period.