What does “Said to Contain” (STC) mean on a bill of lading?

Said to contain means that the shipper that has loaded the goods into the container has done his best to make sure that the goods which are loaded into the container are matching the description of goods stated on the bill of lading in a containerized shipment. 

Because of the fact that carriers could not know exactly what would have been loaded into the containers, they add this expression on the face of the bills of lading that they have issued in order to protect themselves.

A carrier or a forwarder has no knowledge of the contents of the container unless the container is stuffed by the carrier, forwarder or their agents. 

The shipper that has loaded the goods into the container should take necessary steps to ascertain the contents of the container.

"Said to Contain" or “STC” generally added to the description of the goods on the bill of lading. 

This term means that the content of a sealed container received by the carrier as is without any additions. 

"Said to Contain" or "Shipper's Load and Count" have the same meaning.

said to contain

Example:

US customs do not accept "freight all kinds" or "said to contain" expressions on the bills of lading. According to US customs regulations the description of goods must be full including weight and piece count.

"Freight all kinds" or "Said to contain" terms are not accepted by US customs. Carriers started to use “Shipper's Load and Count” instead of "Said to contain" expressions.

Under the regulations (19 CFR 18.2), the merchandise shall be described on the CF 7512.
  • Terms such as "general merchandise”, “Freight All Kinds” or “FAK” are not acceptable. For express consignment in-bond shipments a rider or abstract manifest may be attached which describes the commodities with their associated marks and numbers. If a rider is attached, the total number of packages must be shown in this block (e.g., 10 containers containing 4,578 packages as per attached manifest). For multiple commodities on a single bill that exceed the space limitations, the CF 7512A “Continuation Sheet” shall be used for description. 
  • The terms "said to contain" and/or "STC" are unacceptable. The term "shippers load and count" or "SLAC” when used as a qualifier is acceptable for house-to-house or house-to-pier container shipments.
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