What’s bill of lading?

Bill of Lading, abbreviated as B/L, is the most important shipping document in international trade, which is issued by a carrier to a shipper, to prove that goods have been received on board and ready to be shipped to the consignee.

What’s purposes of BL?

Receipt of the good—–The principal use of the bill of lading is as a receipt issued by the carrier once the goods have been loaded onto the vessel.

As evidence of the contract of carriage—-The bill of lading from carrier to shipper can be used as an evidence of the contract of carriage by the fact that carrier has received the goods and upon the receipt the carrier would deliver the goods.

Serves as a document of title —-When the bill of lading is used as a document of title, it is particularly related to the case of buyer. When the buyer is entitled to received goods from the carrier, bill of lading in this case performs as document of title for the goods

What information should be mentioned in a bill of lading?

B/L is one of the most important documents in the whole shipping and freight chain, that needs to be filled up. Please noted that each shipping line has their own B/L format, but the information that need to be filled up are almost the same.

1.Names and full address of the sender (shipper) and receiver (consignee).

Shipper is the name and address of whom will send the cargo to carrier, This may or may not be the actual owner or manufacturer of the cargo, but could also be a trader, an exporter or a freight forwarder, but who will have the right to book space and pay the freight to carrier.

Consignee is the name and address of whom will received goods. This may or may not be the actual owner or recipient of the cargo as it could be a trader, an importer or a freight forwarder depends on the type of BL issued.

Notify Party is the name and address of the party who generally will be noticed the arrival of the cargo, it can be different from the consignee as per the bill of lading issued.

2.Bill of lading number is the unique number provided for the covered shipment in a specific bill of lading. This is assigned by the shipping line and must be quoted by the customer for any request, shipping information, arrival information, claim etc.

3. Vessel and voyage is the name of the vessel and the voyage number that carries the container or cargo from Port of Loading.

3.Port of loading and discharge is the place from which the container or cargo is loaded or discharged by the carrier onto or from the nominated Ocean Vessel.

4.Marks & Numbers is what the shipper marks his packages with some information identifying the shipment so that the consignee can know what the shipment is.For a LCL/ Groupage shipment, the marks must be mentioned on the packages, it is most important than FCL shipment. While the container & seal number will be show under the marks and number by carrier.

5.Description of packages and goods, this area is used to describe exactly what cargo is being loaded in the container or LCL. Generally other information like number of packages, freight conditions, HS code are also mentioned

6.Gross Weight & Volume is the weight & volume of the cargo that is loaded in the container or loaded on board. It does not include the tare weight of the container, just the cargo with packaging.

7.The shipping carrier also lists some other information, including but not limited to:
Total Number of Containers and/or Packages
Freight & Charges (for some special countries required)
Date on Board
Date of Issue
Place of Issue
Number of Originals
Carriers Agent
The carrier’s terms and conditions are also printed on the B/L. If you are interested in the details.

How many types of BL?

1.Clean Bill of Lading is issued by the Shipping Company or by its agents without any declaration on the defective Constitution of the goods/ packages taken on Board/ stuffed in containers. 

2.Received Bill of Lading is a document that is issued by a carrier as evidence of receipt of goods for shipment. It is issued prior to the vessel loading and is therefore not an on board bill of lading.
3.Through Bills of Lading are complex than most BOLS. The document permits the shipping carrier to pass the cargo through several modes of transportation or through several distribution centers. This bill includes an Inland Bill of Lading and an Ocean Bill of Lading depending on the destination.
4.Claused Bill of Lading is issued when the cargo is damaged or when the quantity goes missing. 

5.Container Bill of Lading is a document that gives information about goods that are delivered in a safe container or containers from one port to another.

6.House Bill of Lading is a document generated by an Ocean Transport Intermediary freight forwarder or non-vessel operating company. The document is an acknowledgement of the receipt of goods that are shipped, issued to the suppliers when the cargo is received. This Bill of Lading is also known as Forwarders Bill of Lading.

7.Master Bill of Lading is a document that is created for shipping companies by their carriers as a receipt of transfer. The document specifies the terms that are required for transporting the freight, details of the consignor or the shipper, the consignee and the respective person who possess the goods.

8.Charter Party Bill of Lading is an agreement between a charterer and a vessel owner. The document is issued by the charterer of the vessel to the shipper for the goods that are shipped on board the vessel. 

9.Multi Modal Transport Document or Combined Transport Document is a type of Through Bill of Lading the involves a minimum of two different modes of transport, land or ocean. However, the modes of transportation can be anything from freight boat to air. 

10.Stale Bill of Lading is presented for negotiation after 21 days from the date of shipment or any other date/ number of days stipulated in the documentary credit. 

11.Short term or Blank Back Bill of Lading is issued when the detailed terms and conditions of the carriage contract are not given on the body of the Bill of Lading or on the back of the Bill of Lading. 

12.Straight Bill of Lading indicates that the goods are consigned to a particular person and it is not negotiable free from the existing equities. This means that an endorsee acquires no better rights other than those that are held by the endorser. This bill is also called as a non-negotiable bill of lading. Whereas, from a banker’s perspective, this type of lading is not safe.
13.Order Bill of Lading is the bill that expresses words that make the bill negotiable. This explains that the delivery is to be made to the further order of the consignee using terms such as ‘delivery to A Limited or to order or assigns. 

14.Bearer Bill of Lading is a bill that states that the delivery shall be made to whosoever holds the bill. These bills are specially created or it is an order bill that does not nominate the consignee in its original form or through an endorsement in blank. A bearer bill can be negotiated by physically delivering it. 

15.Surrender Bill of Lading works under the term ‘import documentary credit’, where the bank releases documents on receipt from the negotiating bank. The importer does not make the payment to the bank until the maturity of the draft under the relative credit.

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