150 - 08/00 - Bills of Lading and Temperature Notations

Misleading temperature notations on the face of bills of lading continue to give rise for concern and confusion in the handling of  claims on refrigerated cargoes.

A temperature notation on the b/l should state known facts and be in accordance with the shipper’s instructions.  Additionally, the notations should only specify actions by the carrier that are capable of being accomplished, measured, controlled and recorded.  An example of an acceptable notation would be:

"Cargo is stowed in a refrigerated container set at the shipper's requested carrying temperature of five (5) degrees Celsius"

This notation clearly indicates what the shipper has requested and what the carrier will accomplish.

By contrast, a temperature notation on the face of the b/l stating that the carrier is obliged to undertake duties that are neither attainable nor controllable can cause misunderstandings which may lead to claims.

The following are some common examples of poorly worded notations:

"Maintain temperature at 0° Celsius"

"Carriage temperature: +5° Celsius"

"Temperature: 0° Celsius"

"Cargo to be carried at 5° Celsius"

"Required carrying temperature + 1 ° Celsius"

"Container received at shipper temperature, setting of 0° Celsius"

"Stow at +1° Celsius"

"Containers said to contain temperature: +1° Celsius"

"Reefer container stowed at reefer temp +2° Celsius"

"Ship under - maintain 0° Celsius"

Members should ensure that only clear and attainable notations be used.


Source of information :

Patrick E Brecht Ph.D

Through K Baxter (TMA San Francisco)     

P.E.B Commodities

Industry developments

Polar Shipping

Legal, navigational and environmental resources, news and updates on the development of polar shipping. Read more

US VRP Compliance

With effect from 30th January 2014 non-tank as well as tankships calling at US ports will be required to submit VRPs.  For Club and other resources to assist in compliance click here

International Environmental compliance

Environmental Compliance resource page collates material in respect of International environmental compliance issues affecting our Members. Information from the Club, Loss Prevention and external resources has been collated in one place for ease of reference.

MLC 2006

The Maritime Labour Convention enters into force in August 2013 - resources, news & advice on implementation can be found in this dedicated section.  READ MORE

International sanctions

Recent guidance & corresponding material in respect of international sanctions against various countries has been updated with respect to temporary easing of sanctions against Iran.  READ MORE


Essential precautions and preparation against piracy, as well as additional information and resources, loss prevention advisories and useful external web links

Emergency Contacts

If you need to call our offices out of hours and at weekends, click After Office hours for a up to date list of the names of the Duty Executives and their mobile phone numbers. 

Ship Finder

This Ship Finder is updated on a daily basis. Members who need to advise the Club of updates to their recorded ships' details should advise their usual underwriting contact.