Multimodal Transport document (UCP 600 Article 19) | Trade Samaritan

Multimodal Transport document (UCP 600 Article 19)

It is interesting to note that the article 19 applies even when the credit does not call for a Multimodal transport document explicitly. If the the port of loading or the port of discharge required by the credit is not a port but is an inland place, it is evident to all parties that more than one mode of transport will be utilized and hence UCP Article 19.

A multimodal transport document is a bill of lading covering two or more modes of transport, such as shipping by rail and sea or rail and road or sea and road etc.

Article 19 of UCP 600 applies to cases where the credit calls for a Multimodal or Combined transport documents and sometimes even to cases where the credit does not explicitly call for a transport document covering more than one mode of shipment or transport.

We are likely to have 4 scenarios wherein the LC may not specifically call for a Multimodal transport document but more than 1 mode of transport will have be used to complete the end to end delivery of the shipment. And Article 19 automatically comes into the picture.

  1. Port of Loading is mentioned in the credit is not a port
  2. Similarly Port of discharge mentioned in the credit is not a port
  3. Both ie Port of loading as well as the inland Place of receipt is stated, however place of receipt is not a port
  4. Port of discharge as well as the Place of of Final destination is stated, but place of final destination is not a port


1)      Need not be titled as a ‘Multimodal’ or ‘Combined’ transport document even if it is named that way in the credit

2)      Is a negotiable document/document of title

3)      Statement in the credit such as “Freight Forwarder’s Multimodal Transport Documents are not acceptable” or “House Multimodal Transport documents are not acceptable” are to be ignored unless further specific details are elaborated in the credit

4)      Should not bear the indication that it is subject to Charter party or should not be a charter party B/L

5)      Cost incurred as a result of delay cannot be included as freight. Costs should be as per the related trade term only. If the credit states that costs additional to freight are not acceptable, the transport document should not conflict with credit as well as the trade term with respect to costs.

Clean and Original

6)      Deletion or absence of the word ‘clean’ does not make the transport document discrepant unless there are conflicting statements with respect to the defectiveness of the goods appearing on it.

7)      Same applies to packaging.  Only if a statement indicating an occurrence of a defective condition of the goods or packaging is explicitly present on the transport document it will be considered as a discrepancy.

8)      1st original, 2nd original, 3rd original, duplicate, triplicate, original = Original and should be presented in full set

9)  Should indicate the number of originals issued and must be presented in full set. Even if one container is covered by more than one set of the multimodal documents, full set for all such transport document should be submitted

Trans-shipment and Partial shipment

10)  Can state ‘Transshipment may/will take place’ even if credit prohibits as in case of a multimodal transportation, transshipment is inevitable.

11)  Multiple sets of transport document containing the same means of i) conveyance, ii) journey and ii) destination is not a partial shipment, but a single shipment wherein more than one set of transport documents have been issued. If there is mismatch in any of the above 3 points, it qualifies as a partial shipment.

12)  Cannot explicitly indicate that only one mode of transport has been utilized but can be silent

13)  If the credit states that the first means of conveyance is by sea, the on board stamp should evidence the same

14)  Last mode of shipment in the entire journey is not by sea then it is a Non-negotiable transport document

 Dates and Stamps

15)  Stamp or On Board notation is present then the date mentioned therein will be considered as the date of shipment else the date of issuance of the transport document is the date of shipment

16)  If multiple sets of transport documents are presented, earliest date will be considered for the presentation period

17)  None of the dates on the multiple sets should exceed the last date of shipment/receipt/dispatch/taking in charge as required by the credit


Multimodal Bill of Lading Signature convention

18)  Multimodal/Combined Transport operators (MTO/CTO) cannot sign the transport document in either of  their capacities, while they may operate as transport operators they must sign as Master, Carrier or their Agent

19)  Multimodal transport operator = Contractual carrier, Combined Transport Operator

20)  Actual Carrier = Carrier

21)  Corrections of the original set needs to be authenticated.

22) Signature can be of a different Agent however the naming convention and the identification should be in compliance with the requirement (as described in the above chart)

23)  Non-negotiable copies do not require any authentication of corrections/changes made.

24)  When a credit indicates “Freight Forwarder’s Multimodal Transport Document is acceptable” or “House Multimodal Transport Document is acceptable” or words of similar effect, a multimodal transport document may be signed by the issuing entity without it being necessary to indicate the capacity in which it has been signed or the name of the carrier as both these types of transport documents are issued by the Agent directly.

Places and Ports

25)  Cannot state the geographical area only (Any European Port or Any African Port or USA) as the port, place of receipt, delivery or final destination.

26)  Name and the address of the delivery agent can be of the different place than the place of final destination or the port of discharge

27)  Can state ‘intended’ vessel, port of loading, port of discharge, provided that actual vessel and ports are stated somewhere on the transport document

28)  If the journey does not involve final port by sea to the country of import, the multimodal transport document will not be classified as a negotiable document capable of transferring title by delivery or by delivery and endorsement as the case may be

29)  Name of the country even if stated on the credit under place of receipt, dispatch, taking in charge, port of loading or airport of departure need not be mentioned on the transport document

30)  Place of dispatch, taken in charge, Shipment, and place of final destination should be as per the documentary credit

Parties and Issuer

31)      Notify party/Consigned to party/to the order of

32)      If Applicant or the Issuing bank, address and contact details need not be mentioned

33)      If the address and contact details for Applicant are mentioned on the transport document as consigned to party or the notify party,  full details have to match with the credit

34)      If the credit is silent about the notify party, any party can be the notify party but if applicant is the notify party once again full details including the address and the contact number have to match\

35)      There can be more than one notify parties

36)      ‘Dispatched’, ‘Taken in charge’, ‘Shipped on board’ can be preprinted or stamp/notation – means the same

37)      If credit calls for goods to be consigned to ‘the order of’; the transport document should show the same and not show as consigned straight to that named party and vice versa

38)      If  issued as ‘To Order’ or ‘To the order of shipper’ – endorsement by/on behalf of the shipper is required

39)      In case the Multimodal transport document is not issued as Bill of lading, goods will be delivered to the named consignee

40)  A multimodal transport document may be issued by any entity other than a carrier or master (captain), provided it meets the requirements of UCP 600 article 19.