Bill of lading identifier. In the United States the Customs authorities require that all shipping documents covering cargo imported into the U.S. be marked with an identity code, identifying the issuer of tile bill of lading.
Even if bills of lading are issued by charterers, the ultimate responsibility for obtaining the Code number from the Customs authorities may lie with the shipowners or their agents. The master becomes liable to penalties for failure and the master usually represents the shipowner. BIMCO has recommended that all time charters, which relate to the U.S. trade contain a “Unique Bill of Lading Identifier” clause requiring the charterers to obtain the Unique Bill of Lading Identifier and indorse the bills of lading with that identifier. The clause should also provide that charterers indemnify the owners if this obligation is not carried out and also bear the risk of delay.