Bill of lading

A bill of lading (BL) is a legal document issued by a carrier to a shipper that details the type, quantity, and destination of the goods being carried. A bill of lading also serves as a shipment receipt when the carrier delivers the goods at a predetermined destination. 1

Bill of lading have three main functions, as follows:

As contract of carriage

Bill of Lading serves as a evidence of the contract of shipping which has been signed between the Shipper and Carrier. This is to ensure that the transportation of the shipment is done in accordance to the sales contract between seller and buyer.

As cargo receipt

As a receipt issued by the carrier once the goods have been loaded onboard the vessel. This receipt can be used as proof of shipment for customs and insurance purposes.

Document of title to the goods

The bill of Lading serves as a proves ownership of the holder of the Bill of Lading when the goods are finally delivered at destination. It gives the holder the authority to claim the shipment.