Sugar discharging at Novorossiysk and other Russian Black Sea ports (10.01.2001)


It is well known that Russia is a large importer of raw sugar. Only through Black Sea ports of Russia (Novorossiysk and Tuapse) more then two millions of tons of sugar are discharged every year. A lot of different tonnage ships have called Novorossiysk and Tuapse ports for discharging raw sugar in bulk since late autumn. Mainly, the port for bulk sugar discharging uses five piers at Novorossiysk and one/two at Tuapse and, of course, sometimes big queue of ships has to wait at outer roads for berthing. 

The problem, which we would like to touch upon, is very vital and important.  This is the matter of discharging the cargo against presented Bills of Lading, issued “TO ORDER”.

The latest practice has showed that almost every ship coming with bulk sugar to Novorossiysk and Tuapse faces the same question, when on berthing the original “TO ORDER” Bills of Lading are presented to the Master but without endorsement. In this situation reasonable question appears: - Who is the cargo receiver and in favor of whom the cargo is to be released?

It should be noted that we have never come across the cases of fraud with this kind of cargo. But such practice when Bills of Lading are not formalized properly may cause a delay in commencement of discharging. The Master requests to bring on board the vessel properly endorsed Bill of Lading and when the port is congested very much the port authorities never permit for the ship to stay alongside the pier without discharging operation and the port  tries to shift the vessel to outer roads until the question with the Bill of Lading is settled.

The representatives of forwarding company, acting on behalf of the cargo receivers, try to convince the Masters that such actions, when the Bills of Lading are not endorsed, is a normal and usual procedure at the port. But even those representatives never provide the Master with any Letters of Authorization from the cargo receivers, proving that they are acting on behalf of them.

It is well known that at the port of loading the Master or ship’s agent issues the Bill of Lading “TO ORDER”, which covers the parcels of cargo loaded on board the vessel when the cargo receivers are unknown. The selling of cargo is affected during the voyage. Before arrival to the port for discharging the Bills of Lading should be changed to the named one or endorsed. In this connection we would like to recommend to Ship Owners to pay attention to this matter so that they could advise the Master of their ships accordingly.  


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