Unlike the bill of lading, sea waybills have a more modern history.
Such documents are generally used when it is expected that the goods will not be traded whilst on board the vessel. It is important to note that the main difference from a bill of lading is that a sea waybill does not act as a document of title.
The advantage of a sea waybill is that there is no need for it to be physically forwarded as it is not required at destination in order for the goods to be released.
Sea waybills are often made subject to the CMI Uniform Rules for Sea Waybills, which apply when adopted by a contract of carriage which is not covered by a bill of lading or similar document of title, whether the contract be in writing or not.
The Carriage of Goods by Sea At 1992 defines a sea waybill as any document which is not a bill of lading, but is such a receipt for goods as contains or evidences a contract for the carriage of goods by sea, and identifies the person to whom delivery of the goods is to be made by the carrier in accordance with that contract.