Bill Of Lading Explained: A GuideFor Beginners

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A bill of lading is a legal document. It is provided by a carrier to the shipper. It acts as an invoice that details the type, destination and quantity of the goods being shipped. In most cases, the bill of lading also serves as proof of ownership.

Moreover, it won’t be released to the agent at the port of destination unless they carry a copy of the bill of lading. The bill is an extremely important document in international shipping and is not the only type of bill of lading. There are also aerial bills of lading for those that wish to transport their cargo by air and even a roadway bill of lading.

What’s The Format Of A Bill Of Lading?

Following the bill of lading format can be extremely beneficial to both parties. Since it is a legally binding document covering all of your bases can help prevent any confusion when the goods finally arrive. Your bill of lading should contain the following information.

  • The number of units being shipped
  • The weight of the shipment
  • The date of the dispatch of the shipment
  • The receiver and shippers names and addresses
  • Unique instructions, if any, regarding the cargo
  • What kind of packaging has been used
  • The value of the load that is being shipped
  • An in-detail description of the cargo being transported, specifics about the product and the materials used to make it are required
  • The freight classification
  • The PO or account number that is being used for tracking between the two companies
  • Whether or not the freight is a DoT (refers to hazardous materials that have different shipping rules and documents)

This is the basic bill of lading format that most international shippers use; while it can be customized to your liking, this is what most bills of lading contain.

Different Types Of Bills Of Lading


There are many different types of bills that are used for many other occasions.

1. Clean Bill Of Lading


One of the most common bills of lading is issued by the shipping company as an attestation to the quality of the goods. It essentially says that all the contents that are being transported are in good condition, that there are no defective goods.

2. Dirty Bill Of Lading


This is the opposite of a clean bill of lading; it means that some of the goods arrived in a defective condition and that the shipper does not claim legal responsibility for these goods. This bill of lading form can be a little tricky as some financial institutions do not accept this and refuse to pay the exporter.

3. Received For Shipping Bill Of Lading


Issued right before departure, this document states that the goods have made it to the loading dock. It is issued by the carrier as evidence that the goods have made it to the dock; however, since it is issued before loading, it does not count as an onboard bill of lading.

4. On-Board Bill Of Lading


This bill of lading form states that the goods have been safely loaded onto the ship and no damage was caused in the process to the goods.

5. Thorough Bill Of Lading


These bills of lading are more complex than most ordinary bills of lading. It does not just cover one journey; it covers the multiple journeys the cargo may need to take through several distribution centres. It can also contain an ocean bill of lading and an inland bill of lading.

6. Claused Bill Of Lading


Claused bills of lading are bills with clauses put in regarding the damage or loss of cargo. This protects the importers from paying for goods that they don’t receive.

7. Container Bill Of Lading


Container bills of lading is a document that contains the information and specifics about cargo that is being transported in a particular container.

8. Charter Party Bill Of Lading


This is a bill of lading that is drawn specifically between a charterer and a vessel owner. This is the agreement between the charter party and the vessel owner specifically regarding the goods and the duration of the lease.

9. Order Bill Of Lading


These types of bills of lading are negotiable, the delivery is to be made to the consignee, but that is all. The rest of the terms are still up for negotiation.

10. Bearer Bill Of Lading


These bills mean that whoever holds the bill of lading can pick up the cargo; it does not have to be picked up by the consignee.

Which Bill Of Lading Is Best Suited To Me?


There are so many bills of lading that it can be difficult to decide which one best suits your needs. This is why you require the help of a trade data company that knows its way about all the bills of lading. They will help you make a decision regarding what is most convenient for you.