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the released value, are authorized by the Interstate Commerce Commission.2

(4) Beginning and termination of liability as insurer. The liability of the carrier as such begins upon the receipt of the goods for shipment without further order of the shipper. Upon the question when the liability of the carrier as a carrier (that is, as an insurer) ceased, and its liability as a warehouseman (that is, liable only in case of negligence) began there were three rules. The Massachusetts rule was that the carrier's liability as such ends when the goods arrive at their destination and there safely deposited in the warehouse or upon the platform, no notice to consignee necessary. The New Hampshire rule was that the carrier's liability ends when the goods have arrived at destination and a reasonable time elapsed during which they might have been removed, no notice to consignee being necessary. The New York rule was that the carrier must give the consignee notice, and then he must have a reasonable time in which to remove them. The New York rule is also the rule applied everywhere as to water carriers. By order of the Interstate Commerce Commission, the bill of lading now reads to the effect that the carrier's liability shall become that of warehouseman for loss by fire occurring after the expiration of free time allowed by the tariffs lawfully on file, after notice of the arrival of the property, duly sent or given, and after the property has been placed for delivery, or tendered to consignee's order.


23. Interstate Commerce Commission Reports, Vol. 54, p. 66.

takes to use diligence to transport without delay. But any cause not arising out of his negligence excuses him.

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The common carrier is not an insurer of undelayed transportation; he undertakes only to use due care. Causes beyond his control excuse him; they need not be “Acts of God.”



Sec. 15. FREIGHT AND DEMURRAGE. Freight is the charge which a carrier of goods is entitled to make for its services as carrier. Demurrage is the charge for delay by the shipper or consignee in not unloading the cargo after a reasonable length of time has elapsed for its unloading.

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The compensation of the carrier for carrying the shipment is called freight. Freight rates must be reasonable and equal upon all. What maximum rates may be charged is now governed by the federal law, so far as interstate commerce is concerned, under the supervision of the Interstate Commerce Commission.

The carrier may also charge demurrage, that is, charge for delay in unloading cars whereby they are held on the track more than a reasonable length time. This would not apply of course to small shipments in which it is the carrier's duty to unload upon the platform or in its warehouse, but refers to the charge made upon cars which are set upon sidetracks for the consignee to unload.25


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25. Schumacher v. R. Co. 207 111. 199.





Sec. 16. DOCUMENTS OF TITLE DEFINED. A document of title is a document issued by a carrier or warehouseman reciting the receipt of goods for carriage or keeping and the terms and conditions thereof. It sets forth the contract between the bailee and bailor; and also is a symbol of the goods themselves whereby they may be transferred.

A document of title is a document issued by a bailee setting forth the fact and terms of the bailment. The term is not used to describe a document which in itself effects or evidences transfer of title. Thus a bill of sale while in one sense a document of title, inasmuch as it is a document whereby the transfer of title is witnessed, is not a document of title as that phrase is used in commercial law. The idea in the phrase document of title is that one has possession of goods to which another is entitled, and to show such possession issues an instrument which instrument thereupon stands to the owner in the place of the goods and is the evidence of his ownership thereof. 26

Documents of title in use in commercial life are bills of lading and warehouse receipts.

A document of title is a contract between the parties, and is a symbol of the goods themselves whereby they may be transferred. It also in its form is very important

26. “All documents of title have this in common, that they are receipts of a bailee or orders upon a bailee." Williston on Sales,

Sec. 405.

in determining whether title has passed between buyer and seller. 27

Sec. 17. ASSIGNABILITY AT COMMON LAW. Documents of title were assignable at common law.

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By the common law (meaning thereby the non-statutory law and ignoring the distinction between equity and law), bills of lading were assignable; they were not negotiable. A transferee took such right to the goods as his transferor had, and could protect that right by notice to the bailee. Today documents of title are both assignable and negotiable as drawn, as hereafter shown.


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Sec. 18. LEGISLATION UPON DOCUMENTS OF TITLE. There have been recently enacted: (1) The Uniform Bills of Lading Act; (2) The Uniform Warehouse Receipt Act; (3) The Federal Bills of Lading Act; (4) The Uniform Sales Act, containing provisions as to documents of title.

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The need of an up-to-date and authentic statement of the law concerning documents of title as felt in the commercial practices of the day has been met by state and federal enactments, as follows:

(1) The Uniform Bills of Lading Act.28
(2) The Uniform Warehouse Receipt Act.29

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27. See Subject Transfer of Title, post.

28. In force in Alaska, California, Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin.

29. In force in Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massa

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(3) The Federal Bills of Lading Act.80 (4) The Sales Act, which recognizes and incorpo

rates the provisions of the other acts so far as they affect sales and pledges.3


Sec. 19. BILLS AND RECEIPTS NEGOTIABLE AND NON-NEGOTIABLE. Under the legislation above noted bills of lading and warehouse receipts are divided into those that are non-negotiable and those that are negotiable, according to their form.

By the legislation noted in the previous section, bills of lading and warehouse receipts are of two forms, those that are negotiable, or “order” bills of lading and warehouse receipts, and those that are "straight” bills of lading and warehouse receipts. The order document is to the consignor or consignee's order ; 32 the straight document is direct to consignor or consignee. The order document is the more suitable one to use when a sale of goods is contemplated while they are in transit or in the warehouse, and especially where the document is to be used for purposes of security.

Sec. 20 LEGAL MEANING OF NEGOTIABILITY AS HERE APPLIED. If a document of title is negotiable it passes with greater freedom from hand to hand chiefly by reason of the fact that the transferee thereof does not need

chusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Porto Rico, Rhode Island, and South Dakota.

30. United States Statutes at Large, Vol. 39, p. 538; see Uniform Bill of Lading, set out in the back of this book.

31. See Section 31, post.
32. Uniform Sales Act, Sec. 27.

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