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Part II Bills of Lading and Other Documents of Carriage, 10 The Carriers’ Delivery Obligation

From: Carriage of Goods by Sea (3rd Edition)

Stephen Girvin

From: Oxford Legal Research Library (http://olrl.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved.date: 17 August 2022

Subject(s):
Bills of lading and carriage of goods — Carrier's obligations — Sea waybills — Shipper's obligations and immunities — Ship’s delivery orders — Letters of indemnity and damages — Delivery

This chapter explores the carriers’ delivery obligation. Following from the recognition that the bill of lading is a document of title at common law, a further principle has evolved which requires the master only to part with the goods on presentation of the bill of lading by the holder. This delivery function has been described as the ‘principal role’ of the bill of lading. The obligation to effect delivery pursuant to the presentation rule embodies an obligation to place the goods under ‘the absolute dominion and control of the consignee’. The shipowner’s obligation under the bill of lading contract and in bailment is not discharged until it has actually surrendered possession to the holder and the divesting or relinquishing of the ‘power to compel any dealing in or with the cargo which can prevent the consignee from obtaining possession’. The chapter then looks at the Rotterdam Rules, which are unique among cargo conventions in making detailed, albeit controversial, provision for the delivery of goods.

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