What Is a Charter Party Bill of Lading?

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  • Written By: Esther Ejim
  • Edited By: Kaci Lane Hindman
  • Last Modified Date: 06 November 2019
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A charter party bill of lading is a document issued by the charterer of a ship or vessel outlining certain information like the types of goods, quantity, and conditions under which the goods are to be transported. The document is issued under different circumstances to a liner bill of lading. The bill of lading is generally the proof or evidence that the cargo has been loaded onto a ship, the quantity of the cargo, the cost of the cargo, and under what conditions the cargo is to be transported.

The main differences between a liner bill of lading and a charter party bill of lading are in the origin and disclosures. The liner bill of lading comes from the master of the vessel or the captain, indicating that he or she has received the goods. This document contains all the disclosures and written clauses relating to the conditions under which the cargo is transported. This is important because the goods on the vessel will be delivered to anyone with the bill of lading. If such a person has purchased the goods, he or she will be able to see if there are any restricting conditions attached to them.


The charter party is anyone who charters a vessel. Such a person assumes authority over certain functions normally reserved for the ship master or captain. The main responsibility of a ship captain under a charter is to safely steer the ship to its destination. The charterer is responsible for the goods on the ship, including signing the bill of lading for those goods.

The charter party bill of lading does not have all of the normal disclosures of the liner bill of lading. This factor is important because anyone who purchases this cargo has no way of knowing all of the conditions attached to the goods until he or she receives them. Such a bill of lading will merely have a clause informing the recipient that the bill originates from a charter party. The origin of the bill of lading matters because if there is a dispute, a liner bill of lading will suffice as evidence of the transaction. A charter bill of lading, however, must be supported by other documents, including another copy of the bill of lading from the charterer.


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