Delivery orders

Delivery orders: At the request of shippers, consignees or endorsees, delivery orders may sometimes be issued by the agents of the shipowner for part of the goods shipped under bills of lading.

The request may originate when the bill of lading is for a large quantity of bulk cargo and only one set of bills of lading has been issued to cover the entire quantity loaded. After shipment, the seller may be able to sell the goods to various parties in smaller lots. The characteristic of the bill of lading as a document of title would then fail because each party may require a separate bill of lading. The seller may either request the carrier to exchange the single set of bills of lading for separate bills covering different amounts or request the shipowner or his agents to issue “Ship’s Delivery orders” for smaller portions than those described in the original bill of lading. While the bill of lading is a document of title, the delivery order is not. However, the delivery order can be a receipt far cargo and may also be evidence of the contract of carriage.

If the carrier declines to issue a delivery order, the shipper may attempt to issue his own delivery orders to the carrier or vessel’s agent at the discharging port to deliver part of the cargo under the single bill of lading to different consignees or receivers.

The phrase “delivery order” can also be used in another context. When the vessel arrives at the discharging port and discharges the goods into a warehouse, the consignee or endorsee may present the bills of lading or a letter of indemnity, if the original bills of lading have not yet arrived, to the vessel’s agents. The agents will sight the documents and, if they are considered to be in order, the agents may issue a delivery order addressed either to the master or to the persons in charge of the warehouse to deliver the goods to the holder of the order.


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