FIATA Bill of Lading. FIATA is the acronym for the International Federation of Forwarding Agents Associations and is based in Zurich, Switzerland.
The FBL is a “Negotiable FIATA Combined Transport Bill of Lading” which is issued by freight forwarders acting as carriers and which is subject to the ICC Uniform Rules for a Combined Transport Document. The FBL is usually a standard form incorporating standard trading conditions, which do appear to favour freight forwarders. (See also Standard-form bills of lading.) The FBL may have the logo of the freight forwarder on the front with the logo of FIATA also on the front of the document. The issue of the FBL is approved by the International Chamber of Commerce. To be able to issue a FBL the freight forwarder must be a member of FIATA.
The carriage under a FBL will usually be by combined transport, and the document may be a “Combined transport document” as referred to in the UCP 1983, Arts. 25 and 26 (b) (i), and which is acceptable to banks. However, para. (d) Arts. 25 provides that:
“Unless otherwise stipulated in the credit, banks will reject a transport document issued by a freight forwarder unless it is a FIATA Combined Transport Bill of Lading approved by the International Chamber of Commerce or otherwise indicates that it is issued by a freight forwarder acting as a carrier or agent of a named carrier.”
Paragraph (c.iv) of Art. 26 provides that unless instructed otherwise in the credit, banks will reject a document which:
“is issued by a freight forwarder, unless it indicates that it is issued by such freight forwarder acting as a carrier, or as the agent of a named carrier.”
Article 26 deals exclusively with marine bills of lading and freight forwarders’ bills are not considered to be equivalent to marine bills of lading. For exclusive marine bills of lading, FIATA does not seem to enter the picture.
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