There are various parts and parties to an ocean bill of lading or air waybill for an international shipment. The parties involved and listed on the bill of lading or air waybill are the shipper, consignee, and the notify party.
The Notify Party is the name, address, and contact information of the person or company who should be notified prior to or upon the arrival of the cargo. Depending on the type of bill of lading that is issued, the notify might be the actual buyer or consignee that is receiving the cargo, or the notify could be the customs broker or forwarding agent. In some cases the notify party may be a trader or commodities broker.
While the ocean, air carriers, and forwarders involved do not have a contractual obligation to provide an arrival notice, most carriers will send an arrival notice to the notify party either prior to or upon arrival of the cargo to the final port or airport of discharge. The arrival notice contains vital information that is required in order to obtain freight release, customs clearance, and track the cargo. This arrival notice will only be sent to the notify party, and most carriers will not send the arrival notice to any other party that is not shown on the bill of lading or air waybill.
In order to avoid delays with release processing, and unnecessary storage charges that may arise due to failure to receive the correct arrival information, it is very important that the correct contact information is provided and shown on the documentation for the notify party. In many situations, it would be advisable to list your customs broker or freight forwarder as the notify party.