shipper-consignee-notify-party

There is sometimes great confusion as to the actual identity of shipper, consignee and notify party. Here I explain these terms which are widely used in shipping specially in the bill of ladings.

Shipper: Who is this guy ??

Many believe “Shipper” is the supplier or owner of the goods being supplied. It is true but not always.  The business directory defines shipper as  the party responsible for the shipment. When a buyer of goods enters into a contract with seller of the goods through sale contract, apart from other things they also decide who would arrange for the transport. In the multi-modal transport, they may decide which leg of transport is under whom. Who bears what risk is also the basis of various INCOTERMS defined by the International Chamber of Commerce.

If the buyer of the goods is responsible for sea transport, he would arrange for a ship to carry the goods and enter into a “Contract of carriage” with the carrier. The buyer here would be “Shipper” under “Contract of carriage”.

Shipper is a term related to “Contract of carriage” but is also closely related to sale contract. So the Shipper bears two hats. He is shipper under “contract of carriage” but he is buyer (or seller) under sale contract.

Consignee: Consignee is the person to whom the carrier (Ship) is supposed to deliver the goods. In most cases the consignee is the Buyer of the goods but not always. Consignee could be the agent nominated by the buyer. Consignee could also be the buyer’s bank.

Another principle different between the terms “Consignee” and “buyer” is that while “Consignee” is the term used in “contract of carriage”, the term “buyer” is used in “sale contract”.

Notify Party: Notify party is the party to whom the carrier is suppose to notify regarding the arrival ETA’s of the vessel. Notify party is then responsible for arranging the arrival formalities of the vessel. By now you must have guessed it rightly that notify party could be agent ,  receiver of the cargo or any other person/entity who has the interest in the arrival of the cargo.

While the shipper or carrier has the responsibility to keep the notify party abreast of the arrival details of the vessel and failing to do so may lead to unpleasant situations, you may sometimes find on bill of lading a clause where shipper and carrier assume no responsibility for failure to notify. This clause is particularly common in liner shipping.

* Though very unusual, however there is no restriction on having more than one notify parties. Usually there is only one notify party, who in turn informs all other interested parties regarding the arrival notifications of the vessel and cargo.

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Capt Rajeev Jassal

About Capt Rajeev Jassal

Capt. Rajeev Jassal has sailed for over 19 years mainly on crude oil, product and chemical tankers. He holds MBA in shipping & Logistics degree from London. He has done extensive research on quantitatively measuring Safety culture onboard and safety climate ashore which he believes is the most important element for safer shipping.

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75 Comments

komal
komal
Jun 24, 2016

I really like d way they provide information. The language is easy, understandable, exact.

Rajeev Jassal
Rajeev Jassal
Jul 12, 2016

Glad that you found it useful Komal..

akintola yusuf
akintola yusuf
Mar 27, 2017

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Kunal
Kunal
Aug 23, 2017

Hi Rajeev a very big thank for the information.and i want to know about CNEE company... And company asked for cnee and the notify

komal
komal
Jun 24, 2016

I got what I want to know. thanks for d information.

Rajeev Jassal
Rajeev Jassal
Feb 5, 2017

Thanks Komal..

Desmond
Desmond
Jul 7, 2016

Really helpful precise information

Rajeev Jassal
Rajeev Jassal
Jul 12, 2016

Glad that you found it helpful Desmond..

Newman
Newman
Jul 25, 2016

Hi Rajeev, in my case i am ABC company(located in USA) who is responsible for payment to seller/shipper. But the receiving party whom goods should be shipped to, is located in Asia they are a different company XYZ(located in Dubai). Now in our case since i am making the payment, i am = Co Signee? and receiving party (XYZ located in Dubai) is Notify party? shipment should be sent on their name and i am making the payment. Please clarify. :) Thanks.

Rajeev Jassal
Rajeev Jassal
Jul 26, 2016

Let us say I am the Carrier of the goods. I (as the carrier) and shipper have signed a contract of carriage where he agrees to pay me an amount for carrying his goods and deliver it to XYZ. As I need to deliver the goods to XYZ, they are the consignee unless XYZ tells to deliver the goods to an agent, his bank or their sub-company. To whomsoever XYZ wants me to deliver the goods, he is the consignee of the goods. XYZ would also be interested to know when the goods are arriving in Dubai. He need to tell me (the carrier) whom should I send estimated time of the arrival or inform when the goods arrives in Dubai. This party to whom I am supposed to notify for arrival of goods is the Notify party. Suppose XYZ want that I should inform him directly. In this case XYZ becomes the Notify party. Now where do your company ABC come in picture ? Actually they don't. ABC is nowhere in the picture both in seller/buyer agreement and in contract of carriage. Why ABC is paying to seller, what actually buyer of the goods is supposed to pay ? Are ABC and XYZ related to each other ? If yes, it is internal financial matter of ABC and XYZ. Role of ABC looks more of a bank of XYZ who is making payments to the seller of the goods and they have no role in contract of carriage for which these terms are related. Role of ABC is a related to finance in the seller/buyer agreement. Please let me know if you any question with this Newman.

Monica
Monica
Aug 3, 2016

Hi Rajeev, I have a similar situation as the one described by Newman and it goes like this: Company A from France is Buyer of the goods from company B in Korea. Company A from France is also Seller to company C in Nigeria. The transport of the goods is arranged by company C in Nigeria directly from Korea . Who is the Consignee and the Notify in each case? There will be 2 invoices - one with Seller/Shipper B and Buyer A and one with Seller A and Buyer company C. Willthe Shipper remain the same? Thank you in advace for your reply :)

Rajeev Jassal
Rajeev Jassal
Aug 3, 2016

We sometimes get confused by mixing two entirely different contracts. These 2 contracts are.. Buyer seller contract (contract between buyer and seller of the goods) and contract of carriage (contract between carrier of the goods and person arranging that carrier) . The terms shipper and consignee are related to the contract of carriage and has nothing to do with buyer seller contract or agreement. Now in your case if I am the carrier (ship, aircraft etc), I have been contracted by company C so me and company C are in contract of carriage in which company C becomes the shipper and I take the role of carrier. Since I am only in contract with company C, I do not legally know A & B and I will listen to company C only. I will ask C, when i arrive in Nigeria, who will take the delivery of the goods from me. The person (or company) the company C will nominate for taking the delivery will be the consignee. The details of the consignee will be entered into the bill of lading. Consignee is required because company C may be in Lagos but the consignment may be destined in another city/port of Nigeria where these goods will be required/used. So company C will name some of their representative to take delivery of the goods. If the goods are arriving in Lagos itself, company C may nominate themselves as consignee. Consignee is simply the person whom I have been instructed to delivere the goods by the shipper who is in legally binding contract with me. Hope I have clarified this. Let me know if you have any question Monica..

abra
abra
Aug 15, 2016

Hi Rajeev, I just have problem on the difference between consignor and shipper. Could you please help me to distinguish them?

Rajeev Jassal
Rajeev Jassal
Aug 15, 2016

Hello Abra..The consignor is the person who tells the carrier about the details of the consignee. But carrier will only listen to the shipper, So with respect to carrier both consignor and shipper are same. There is a thin line between two if we move beyond carrier's view point although there will be very less times these situation can arise. Take the example where I have my goods stored in a warehouse and I advise the warehouse to arrange for the transportation of the goods. Warehouse will enter into a contract of carriage with transportation company and warehouse becomes the shipper. But I as the owner of the goods will be instructing the warehouse about the consignee details. So for warehouse and consignee, I will be the consignor. But from the point of view of carrier, carrier only knows the company/person who contracted with them and for carrier that company is the shipper as well as consignor. Hope I was able to clarify that. Let me know if you have any questions.

abra
abra
Aug 16, 2016

Thank you very much! You are so cool!

Sandeep
Sandeep
Dec 29, 2016

In a bill of lading there is Shipper A based in country X seller in invoice is B based in country Y and consignee in B/L is to the order, could you please explain the difference in this context. Thanks.

ROHAN
ROHAN
Aug 16, 2016

Hi, I'm in freight forwarding, my consignee importing good from Italy, they also paid the full payment of the cargo as per the invoice value but the supplier is still holding the original bill of lading with him and now supplier is asking for more money, and only once the consignee pay the additional money then only supplier will send the original bill of lading to the consignee, in this case if the consignee wont pay the additional, then can we as a freight agent at destination how to release the cargo or issue the delivery order to the consignee, please advise me, it is going to become a big issue now, I'm about to loose this customer (consignee).

Rajeev Jassal
Rajeev Jassal
Aug 21, 2016

Hello Rohan, didn't the supplier sign buyer-Seller agreement which lists the costs involved ? If the demand of the supplier is not legitimate (Which I would recommend to think upon) Supplier may be exploiting a poor pre-agreement between the supplier & receiver. If a good agreement is in place, there are plenty of resources to sue the supplier.

AIda
AIda
Aug 20, 2016

HI Rajeev, I want to ask in case of a large bulk shipment that has to be divided and received by different receivers/ buyers who all pay by LC terms, what would be the best way to prepare the B/Ls, if it is LC Payment should the consignee by always the bank , or can it be the buyers directly or can it be one common agent for all of them? Thank you,

Rajeev Jassal
Rajeev Jassal
Aug 21, 2016

Hi Alda, In my opinion consignee should either be the "Buyer" or it can be marked "To order".

 Dr LP Sharma
Dr LP Sharma
Aug 24, 2016

Great Supportive Details

Rajeev Jassal
Rajeev Jassal
Aug 25, 2016

Thank you Sir..

Irshad
Irshad
Aug 31, 2016

Hi rajeev. I want to know what is the contract between the seller of the goods and the shipper ( who will handle the goods to consignee) can i have any format and links for that please

Rajeev Jassal
Rajeev Jassal
Sep 1, 2016

Hi Irshad, There is no contract between seller and the shipper. The contract is always between seller and buyer of the goods. Seller and buyer decided in their contract who will arrange for the transportation and that is the party who becomes the shipper. If you google Seller buyer contract format or Seller buyer agreement format, you can find tons of resources. You may have to personalise these format to your requirement with the help of a specialised lawyer.

seema
seema
Sep 13, 2016

Can you explain me what is notify party ? with example?

Rajeev Jassal
Rajeev Jassal
Sep 13, 2016

I am the receiver of the cargo. The carrier (Ship, trucks company or aircraft) is supposed to give me daily update (ETAs) on when the consignment will arrive to the destination. But I do not have time to read all the daily emails and keep track of all the consignments arriving at different locations. I have appointed a person (or company) who will receive this information for different consignments from different carriers and give me update in a single sheet which I can easily manage and track. This person or company will be notify party. But if I am not a busy man, I can myself act as a notify party. In simple words, notify party is a person or company to whom carrier is supposed to notify of the arrival of consignment. I hope this clarifies Seema. Let me know if you have any further question.

Koolhi
Koolhi
Sep 14, 2016

Hello Rajeev, I have this kind of issue now. Our company (A) bought many goods in London (B) with many sellers(PIX). A is located in South Africa (D). Finally, we have to load 3 containers. We've got one B/L for these 3 for the transport from B to D that we've paid. And we've already mentionned that we are the consignee and the notify party. Can we also be the shipper in this case? thanks

Rajeev Jassal
Rajeev Jassal
Sep 17, 2016

If you paid the shipping company (carrier) directly and have a contract with them, yes you are the shipper. But usually for this small parcels, there is a charterer who handles many such small parcel and then contracts with carrier. In this case charterer is the shipper. The person who has signed the contact with the carrier is the shipper.

pradeep
pradeep
Sep 22, 2016

I am in export marketing for more than 25 yrs ... This is Very useful article written in simplest possible language !! Nice ! Thanks ...

Rajeev Jassal
Rajeev Jassal
Sep 27, 2016

Thank you Pradeep..

ashutosh tripathi
ashutosh tripathi
Sep 24, 2016

Hi Rajeev, i have a question reagrding this third party export. i am the shipper and buyer is in singapore and he wants us to deliver the cargo in india to his buyer. so being as a shipper i asked the booking from shipping line origin port to pod in india can i put the singapore company as an consignee while goods are going to india. i checked here with few freight forwarders and they said the singapore company cannot be consignee. please suggest.

Rajeev Jassal
Rajeev Jassal
Sep 27, 2016

Hello Ashutosh, While I am not aware of any rule where in this case Singapore company cannot be a consignee but it for sure is not a customary practice. Also I fail to understand why it would be required. The singapore company can easily give his buyer's name as the consignee. As you must be aware that for the goods to be released at POD, the consignee need to endorse the Bill of lading and present it to carrier. So in this case the bill of lading need to travel from port of loading to Singapore and then Singapore to POD in India. I ams sure nobody want that.

Pancy Tamang
Pancy Tamang
Nov 9, 2016

Thank you Sir

Rajeev Jassal
Rajeev Jassal
Nov 9, 2016

Thanks for reading Pancy..

SUJANAN T P
SUJANAN T P
Nov 10, 2016

HI Rajeev, We are a USA based company named ABC. we (ABC) are trying to buy material from Germany company name MNO and ABC is selling the goods to company in Dubai xyz. MNO is invoicing to ABC and ABC will be invoicing to XYZ. ABC wanted to keep it secret who the customer is in Dubai(XYZ) from Company MNC ( the shipper & first seller). MNC is shipping goods to Dubai with Consignee as ABC. Can we allow XYZ to clear the goods? if yes, what is the procedure? if not How we can ship the goods by not to tell our supplier (MNO) who is the end customer? I appreciate your immediate valuable answer. Thanks in advance. Sujanan

Rajeev Jassal
Rajeev Jassal
Nov 11, 2016

Usually in this case ABC should have arranged the transport and should have been the shipper. This way as soon as ABC has bought the goods from seller, the seller is out of the picture. But even otherwise ABC can allow XYZ to clear the goods. As I am not an expert in export/Import (I can talk from the carrier's point of view) so I am not sure about the exact procedure to follow but I am certain it can be done.

Fred v Niekerk
Fred v Niekerk
Nov 11, 2016

Hi Rajeev, we are the local owners agent for a vessel working in South Africa. They are shipping shipper owned equipment from Singapore via seafreight to Cape Town. They have a nominated forwarding agent at origin who is doing clearing at destination. What is the correct consignee details for this shipment ? Masters & owners MV X care of clearing agent, with us as notify party, or can we consign Masters & Owners care of our company , being notify as well ? Looking forward to hearing from you.

Rajeev Jassal
Rajeev Jassal
Nov 11, 2016

In my opinion consignee can be any of these two. It is upto the buyer of the goods (local owners in this case) to decide who they are comfortable with.

Danny
Danny
Nov 11, 2016

Hey Rajeev, I am trying to find public information records of recent import/export data that included listed consigned and notified party. Can you please inform me of a few options to search for this?

swapnil
swapnil
Dec 18, 2016

Hi Rajeev, Would like to know that why carriers are refusing to do the telex release if consignee is 'To Order' on OB/l? If my company is shipper on OB/l, Cnee is To Order and notify is actual buyer or any forwarding company on behalf of Buyer, what would be the issue with line to do the telex release?

Rajeev Jassal
Rajeev Jassal
Dec 29, 2016

In one word, it is because of insurance. P&I clubs that insure the liability of the carrier do not allow release of the cargo without production of original Bill of lading. Though P&I clubs do not encourage use of "Letter of Indemnity", it is widely used to release the cargo. But a simple telex message to release the cargo won't be enough to secure carrier's interests.

DINESH KUMAR
DINESH KUMAR
Dec 26, 2016

Case1-We are getting Purchase Order from party A from chennai Stating to Ship the party B in Malayasia. Case 2- We dont have manufacturing support in chennai company (C) hence we are giving Purchase order to our group company located in Poland- D stating ship the material to Malayasia Party (B). No my question is whether it is possible to move goods. or there is any other issue will be raised. in this circumstance they Payment should be received to Chennai company (C).

Rajeev Jassal
Rajeev Jassal
Feb 5, 2017

I do not see any issue in this.

isaac
isaac
Jan 4, 2017

Hello Rajeev, can a bank named in a Bill of Lading as a consignee endorse the bill to a different person other than the notifying party?

Rajeev Jassal
Rajeev Jassal
Feb 5, 2017

If consignee is a bank, yes they can endorse the Bill of lading. Notify party is for sending/receiving notifications and does not play much role in the transactions.

HDS
HDS
Jan 10, 2017

Hello, I am an exporter in India. The person buying the goods (A) is from Hong Kong, and his final buyer is in Sri Lanka (B). Hence I am arranging the shipment of goods to Sri Lanka from India. In the BL, since I am arranging for the goods to be shipped, I am the shipper and since the goods are going to Sri Lanka, the final buyer (B) becomes the consignee. The Hong Kong buyer (A) is a notify party on the BL. Is this correct?

Rajeev Jassal
Rajeev Jassal
Feb 5, 2017

Looks OK except the buyer in Sri Lanka may want to have his own Notify party too. In this case, there can be more than one notify party in Bill of lading.

mudassar
mudassar
Feb 3, 2017

sir can i have the format for trio agreement as i had sent the shipment to a country but the i am receiving the money from b person so when i had went to the bank they had said kindly get the trio agreement so m since struggling for the trio agreement please help

Rajeev Jassal
Rajeev Jassal
Feb 5, 2017

I am not sure what this trio agreement is but if it is the bank who advised, they must have the format of it too.

Ashish roy
Ashish roy
Feb 12, 2017

Sir suppose Buyer "A" is in India has to bring the cago back to India from seller "S"which is in brazil for that Buyer "A"contracted shipper "B" to arrange Carrier"C" and appointed consignee "D" by buyer. My question is where I put my consignee in this chain??, As the vessel is going from india as A contracted B as a shipper which in turn appoints C as a carrier, C arrives in Brazil and took/loaded the shipment and sails back to India same place of where A is. Secondly Is contract of carriage is limited to only shipper-carrier-consigene? ? And sale of contract is only between buyer and seller ??

Rajeev Jassal
Rajeev Jassal
Feb 13, 2017

The term for party B is charterer. Party B is the charterer appointed by Buyer A. The contract of carriage in this case is called "Charter party agreement". It is OK if buyer of the goods wish to consign the good to party D. In that case D will be the consignee. Contract of carriage is between a party requiring transport for his good and the party providing that transport for hire. So yes it is between shipper carrier. Same logic goes for Sale contract.

OUMY CISSE
OUMY CISSE
Feb 28, 2017

good day to you Rajeev I want to know if the shipping company can release a container at the consignee without agreement of the notify party?

Jessica
Jessica
Mar 2, 2017

Hi Mr Rajeev. My company "A" is selling to company "B" goods. Goods are bought and shipped from company A's factory, company Z. Normally, on the B/L Shipper name, we always use "On behalf of Company A, Company Z..." But the buyer right now is insisting that we use "Company A C/O Company Z..." I'd like to ask what is the difference in the usage of "on behalf of" and "care of" ?

KARNER
KARNER
Mar 4, 2017

Good Day Rajeev: A shipping line consigned our Container to a Clearing Agent at destination country, , then proceeded to make that same Clearing Agent, the NOTIFY PARTY on the On board bill of Lading. The error as you would guess is FATAL. For nearly more than 30 days, we the actual owners of the container cannot take possession of our goods. Our request to the Shipping Agent and the Shipping Line to send us "NO OBJECTION TO AMEND CONSIGNEE AND NOTIFY PARTY, has been ignored by both the shipping line and the export Shipping agents . Meanwhile, our goods assume huge clearing charge .. what else can we do to get our goods properly consigned so we can take possession of our consignment This is insane.

Thammba Panni
Thammba Panni
Mar 4, 2017

Dear Capt Rajeev, I am a dual citizen of Sri Lanka and Australia and want to buy some equipment from India. The manufacturer in India does not send these equipment to Australia because he is already supplying the same equipment to an agent in Australia. . I visited the factory in India and told them that I am buying the equipment to Sri Lanka. But if he send it to Sri Lanka I have to pay all duty, levy and taxes and then re-export to Australia. It is a lengthy and costly process. I can't buy through another party in India because the manufacturer want to get the government rebate. He also want the payment in US$. If I send money from Australia manufacturer get to know that his equipment were sent to Australia not to Sri Lanka. Australian custom needs invoice in my name and address in Australia. I am not doing anything illegal but how can I overcome these hurdles. Are there any forwarders that can handle this type of matters?

Jonas DSouza
Jonas DSouza
Mar 5, 2017

Dear Capt. Rajeev, my query is as following: My company have a set of equipment sent from Dubai 3 years ago for storage at bonded place with a company (B) in the Netherlands for offshore projects use. Now we want to bring them back to Dubai. The company (B) who provided the storage facility do not agree to be the shipper as the equipment belong to us. Company B is asking us to provide shipping invoice and packing to process the export papers. As we are based in Dubai can my company be the shipper as well as consignee and the address of both shipper & consignee be the same i.e. Dubai address?

ahmed Fouad
ahmed Fouad
Mar 11, 2017

i usually write the bank as a consignee and the the person I'm selling to as the notify as i send the documents cash against documents so i thought that this will ensure that the buyer doesn't get the documents unless he pays to the bank. but my buyer wants me to write him as the consignee would that cause any problems with the money issues

nisha
nisha
Apr 4, 2017

as a shipper what is the risk for me to accept the letter of credit with the clause mentioning that in the consignee column i need to mention to order of consignee and not to order of issuing bank

Felix ngameni
Felix ngameni
Apr 16, 2017

hello all in the event customs authorities seize the container and destroy for heath issues who is liable for deumeurage storage and all others charges THE CONSIGNEE OR SHIPPER in my case as customs clearing agent shipping lines want to inccur these charges to me whereby i,m not a party on the bill of lading

RK
RK
Apr 18, 2017

I am exporter from Noida. my buyer is from Haryana and consignee is in spain. consignee will pay to haryana and haryana buyer will pay to us. my first question is that who will claim Drawback and others incentive. spain will pay to haryana in foreign currency. can Haryana party remit us in foreign currency.

Soon Kian Lip
Soon Kian Lip
May 9, 2017

Hi what is different between shipper (company) & (company o/b consignee)

meraj
meraj
May 11, 2017

can we write only buyer bank details in consignee area

Pradeep
Pradeep
Jun 8, 2017

Dear Mr.Rajiv, We want to import safety products from china and want to -re export it to europe country from custom bonded warehouse without paying duty, in this case can we get Certificate of origin / GSP ect from indian issuing authorities?

VRUSHAL
VRUSHAL
Jun 12, 2017

if consignee don't want to clear container than notify party mention on bl can clear container ?

Deepak Kumar
Deepak Kumar
Jun 16, 2017

Very much informatory

Pravin
Pravin
Jun 26, 2017

Sir, please explain about BIMCO and ICS..

Engr. Escapade
Engr. Escapade
Aug 1, 2017

Dear Capt. Rajeev, We are a trading company XYZ in India and purchasing goods from company ABC in USA for supply to Africa. ABC USA's is using a Freight Forwarder to arrange shipment to Africa and are paying the sea-freight since we are purchasing on CFR Basis. The BL's are made out with Shipper as "Freight Forwarder C/O XYZ India". In the event the OBL's are lost by a courier company, who will be liable to give LOI to the Shipping Line? Please can you elaborate on the procedure to obtain duplicate set of OBL's. Thanks.

Klodiana
Klodiana
Aug 14, 2017

Dear SIr, we are a compania that opperate in Albania,we have sold the products to our client in portugal but the consigner is in africa,the shippment is prepared by our byer in portugal as the incoterm we have used in FOB albania.do you this is our responsability to take care that the final invoice for the consigner to arrive innafrica with the portugal prices,not with our prices?thank you

Venus Yao
Venus Yao
Oct 20, 2017

Hello,sir,do you need freight forwarder in China,?We can handle all ports in China both in ocean and air.

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