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Multimodal Transport Document / Transport


A Multimodal Transport Document (MTD) or Multimodal Bill of Lading (MBL) is a single document used in international logistics to cover the movement of goods using multiple modes of transportation, such as sea, road, rail, and air. It serves as a contract of carriage, receipt of goods, and evidence of the terms of agreement between the shipper, carrier, and consignee. The MTD is issued by a multimodal transport operator (MTO) or freight forwarder who assumes responsibility for the entire transportation process.

Key features and purposes of a Multimodal Transport Document

  • Single Document for Multiple Modes: The MTD combines various transport modes under one document, simplifying documentation and streamlining the logistics process.
  • Contract of Carriage: The document outlines the terms and conditions of the transportation agreement between the shipper and the carrier. It specifies the responsibilities, obligations, and liabilities of each party.
  • Receipt of Goods: The MTD serves as proof that the carrier has received the goods from the shipper or their agent. It includes details of the goods, their quantity, packaging, and condition.
  • Evidence of Title: In negotiable forms, such as a negotiable multimodal transport document, the MTD can act as a document of title, allowing the consignee to take possession of the goods upon presentation of the document.
  • Transferability: If issued in negotiable form, the MTD can be endorsed and transferred to a third party. This facilitates trade by allowing the transfer of ownership without physical transfer of goods.
  • Document of Delivery: The MTD serves as proof of delivery to the consignee upon completion of transportation. It aids in customs clearance and other regulatory processes.
  • Insurance: The MTD may indicate whether the MTO provides insurance coverage for the goods during transportation. However, separate cargo insurance is often recommended.
  • Liability and Limitations: The MTD outlines the carrier's liability for loss, damage, or delay to the cargo. It may include limitations and exceptions to the carrier's liability.
  • Details of Transport: The document specifies the various legs of the journey, including the names of the carriers, departure and arrival locations, scheduled dates, and other relevant information.
  • Regulations: The issuance and use of MTDs are governed by international conventions, such as the United Nations Convention on International Multimodal Transport of Goods.

It's important to note that the Multimodal Transport Document is distinct from individual bills of lading issued for specific modes of transport (e.g., ocean bills of lading, air waybills). MTDs offer a more streamlined solution for transporting goods using multiple modes while providing a comprehensive record of the entire logistics journey.

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