In answer to your letter of 28 June, we are pleased to inform you that the SS Northern Cross has now docked in Wellington, but was delayed by engine trouble. I am sure that your customers will now have been able to collect their consignment and apologize for the delay. As you know from previous experience of shipping with us, our line keeps to schedules and this incident was an unfortunate exception. Please contact us if there is any further information you require.
Y. Pollard (Miss)
Documentation for exporting goods by container
A bill of lading can be used as it is in ordinary shipments, with the usual conditions applying, i.e. a clean shipped on board bill, naming the port of acceptance (where the goods have been loaded) and port of delivery (where the goods will be unloaded). In this case the shipping company only accepts responsibility for the goods while on board ship. But if a combined transport bill of lading is used, the place of acceptance and place of delivery may be covered, which means the company accepts door-to-door responsibility, which offers more extensive cover than the bill of lading.
Non-negotiable waybills (see 11.7.3) are also used, but unless instructed, banks will not accept them as evidence of shipment, and they are not documents of title which can be transferred. Although waybills do not have clauses relating to responsibility printed on the back of them, as bills of lading do, container companies will accept the usual liabilities as applying to the waybill.
Documentation for importing goods by container
A freight invoice is needed if the sea freight is to be paid in the UK and this is accompanied by an arrival notification form, which advises the importer that his goods are coming. On claiming his goods, the customer has to show a customs clearance form, which allows the goods to be taxed, copies of the certificate of origin (see 11.7.4), if necessary, commercial invoices, import licence, and health certificate tor food or animal imports. The bill of lading or waybill also has to be produced to prove ownership of the goods, and the customs issues an out of charge note once the goods have been cleared by them.
This procedure is not unique to container importation, but common to any form of imports. This is one of the reasons why Clearing Agents are employed by either exporters, to get their goods accepted quickly in a foreign country, or importers, to clear their goods in their own country.
We saw earlier that the Baltic Exchange was the market for chartering ships and that the vessels were hired through shipbrokers. Once a broker is contacted he will find a ship owner who is prepared to hire his vessel on either a Voyage charter' or 'time charter' basis.
Voyage charter charges, i.e. taking freight from port A to B, are calculated on the tonnage value of the cargo. For example, if an exporter ships 500 tons of coal at £1.20 per ton, he will pay £600.00 for the charter.
Time charter charges are calculated on the tonnage of the ship (i.e. the weight of the ship) plus running costs of the vessel, excluding wages. So the larger the ship, the more the charterer pays, regardless of whether he ships 500 tons or 5,000 tons.
There are also mixed charters combining both time and voyage charters. The contract signed by both parties is known as a charter party.
Ships listed on the Baltic Exchange do not run on scheduled routes, and freight rates vary from company to company depending on supply and demand. Correspondence between hirers and brokers, and brokers and owners is done by phone, telex, fax, or cable, with letters confirming the transaction.