Bills of Lading
Commercial & Legal Insights
25th September 2009, Grand Hyatt, Kalina, Mumbai

Endeavour Associates leads with a seminar on "Bills of Lading- Commercial & Legal Insights".

Endeavour Associates organised their 4th Shipping Academic Seminar today at the classy Grand Hyatt Hotel in Mumbai. The focus this time was on comprehension of the quintessence of "Bills of Lading (BL): Commercial and Legal Insights." The auditorium was packed to capacity with a nebula of eminent personalities, experts and young aficionados from the maritime and logistics sectors of industry.

Mr CK Sharma, Academic Advisor to Endeavour Associates, welcomed the delegates cordially to the learning meet. Complimenting the talented Mr S Swaminathan, VP Chartering of ISPAT, for playing beautiful devotional music to complement the lamp lighting ceremony, Mr Sharma was also all praise for ESSAR Steel in Hazira who had nominated the entire BL department for participation at the meet. "Endeavour believes in sharing knowledge with a broad cross section of the industry through such seminars". Mr Sharma said, underscoring the imperative of the conference.

Mr Umesh C Grover, Director Technical and Offshore Services of Shipping Corporation of India (SCI) congratulated Captain Kamal Chadha, Managing Director of Endeavour Associates and Mr Sharma for creating a platform to impart knowledge through the series of conferences. "Although both of them are very eminent professionals in their own right, they have together taken a step forward to share their knowledge. I, too, strongly believe in this and lecture at various institutes," revealed Mr Grover. "We all have to take a cue from such people and devote some time from our busy schedules to share the knowledge that we have acquired over the years," he stressed.

Enlightening the delegates on the essence of this seminar, Mr Grover pointed out that a single mistake committed would be registered into modern systems that made erasure of the error very difficult right through the chain. He advised the audience, "From today onwards, do not focus on any more losses. Instead, the idea should be on doing the job right from the start itself; at no point should there be any room for the slightest mistake that can create havoc later."

Mr Krishna Prasad, Director of Tradex Marine Global DMCCO in Dubai, made a detailed presentation on the origins, functions and usage of a BL. Defining a BL, Mr Prasad said, "BL is a document which evidences a contract of carriage by sea and the taking over or loading of the goods by the carrier, and under which the carrier undertakes to deliver the goods against the surrender of the document. A provision in the document that the goods are to be delivered to the order of a named person, or to order, or to bearer, constitutes such an undertaking."

Mr Prasad said that it was not clearly known when a BL was first used. "However, the earliest records of Ordonnance Maritime of Trani"(1063) and "Droit Commercial Maritime" (1255) refer to a register where all articles loaded on board are entered and specify the quantity and nature of cargo," he revealed. Educating the audience on the BL Act of 1855, Mr Prasad quoted from the Act: "Every consignee of goods named in a bill of lading and every endorsee of a bill of lading to whom the property in the goods therein mentioned shall pass, upon or by reason of such consignment or endorsement, shall have transferred and vested in him all rights of suit, and be subject to the same liabilities in respect of such goods, as if the contract contained in the bill of lading had been made with himself."


The next speaker, the young and dynamic Dr R Sunitha Sundar, Advocate, Consultant and Professor, spoke on the legal aspects of BLs. In her presentation, she covered the meaning of Watershed management, "stage by stage" process, impeding factors, some relevant statutory acts and case laws.

Explaining the meaning of the Watershed management, Dr Sundar stated lucidly, "The goal of watershed management is to plan and work towards a professional, legal, technical, environmental friendly and economically healthy shipping trade activity that benefit all parties who have a stake in it."

Mr David John Sharman, Country Head of JM Baxi in London shared his vast expertise on the role of all the stakeholders in a BL. He listed the key players associated with a BL: shippers, Masters, banks, agents and receivers. Mr Sharman touched upon the legal aspects of BLs and supported his presentation with case studies in a brief but clear address.

Going a little away from the main focus of the seminar, Dr Chris De Souza, MS, an ENT Specialist with Holy Family and Leelavati Hospitals in Mumbai, made an impressive presentation on managing personal health hazards, where he spoke on the five senses being the avenues of the body and mind. He also laid emphasis on the increase of illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension and acidity and the dangers of cigarette smoke.

An interactive question & answer session was scheduled towards the end of the seminar. Mr SS Rangnekar, Chief Executive Officer of the Indian National Shipowners' Association chaired this seated along with panellists Mr S Swaminathan, Mr Bansi Jaising, President, Seagate Shipping Private Limited Mumbai and Captain NK Sah, VP Mumbai Port Division, JM Baxi.

The panel discussion was followed by Mr Sharma announcing the winners of the shipping quiz held earlier. Distribution of the quiz prizes followed shortly thereafter.

The informative seminar ended after Captain Chadha proposed a vote of thanks.