What Bill of Lading is and How it’s Used in Shipping

If you’re in the business of shipping goods, then you need to know about the bill of lading (BoL). What is a BoL and how is it used in the shipping process?

In this article, we’ll answer those questions and more. We’ll also provide tips for 3PLs, distributors, and warehouse managers on how to use a bill of lading correctly in order to streamline your shipping process and save time and money.

Understanding the Bill of Lading

A bill of lading (BoL) is a legal document that outlines the terms of shipping between the sender and the carrier. It includes important information such as the names and addresses of the sender and receiver, a description of the goods being shipped, and the date and method of shipment.

It also serves as a receipt for the goods being shipped and can be used as proof of title.

What Information is on a Bill of Lading?

The content included in a BoL can vary, but it typically contains the following information:

  • The names and addresses of the sender and receiver.
  • The name and address of the carrier.
  • The date of shipment.
  • The origin and destination of the shipment.
  • The shipment, freight, or cargo description.
  • The quantity of goods being shipped.
  • The weight and dimensions of the shipment.
  • The method of transportation.
  • Any special instructions.

Bill of Lading as a Legal Document & Contract of Transport

delivery driver outside of van reviewing bill of ladingA bill of lading not only serves as proof of the existence of a contract of transport, but it’s also a contract itself. This means that the terms and conditions set forth in the BoL are legally binding on both the shipper and carrier.

It’s important to note that, while a bill of lading is a contract, it’s not the only contract that’s involved in the shipping process. There’s also the contract of carriage, which is between the shipper and the carrier. This contract sets forth the terms and conditions of transportation, such as the type of transportation, the route, and the rate.

How to Use a Bill of Lading: The Basics

To start, we should define the parties in a BoL. The sender, also known as shipper or consignor, is the party entering into a contract of carriage with a carrier. The carrier is the company transporting and delivering the goods. And the consignee is the intended recipient.

The sender will initially fill out a BoL. This lading document must be signed by both the sender and the carrier. The signed BoL is then given to the driver who will be transporting the goods. The driver will keep the BoL until the goods are delivered to the consignee.

Once the goods are delivered, the consignee will need to sign the BoL to acknowledge receipt of the shipment. The signed BoL is then returned to the sender.

It’s recommended to keep track of bills of lading throughout the shipping process. This important transport document will be needed if there are any issues with the shipment, such as damage or loss.

Tips on How to Use a Bill of Lading for Warehouse Managers and Logistics Professionals:

As a warehouse manager or logistic professional, you play a critical role in the shipping process. You may be responsible for ensuring that the goods were properly packaged and ready for shipment. You’ll also need to fill out the BoL and provide it to the carrier.

To save time and avoid delays while shipping, follow these tips:

  • Make sure that all of the information on the bill of lading is accurate and up-to-date. This includes the sender and receiver information, as well as the description of the goods being shipped.
  • If you’re using a pre-printed BoL, be sure to fill in any missing information.
  • If you’re shipping Hazmat goods, be sure to include the proper documentation and labeling.
  • Sign the BoL and give it to the carrier.
  • Keep a copy in a safe place until the packages, cargo, or freight shipment has been delivered. This will ensure that you have a record of the shipment in case there are any issues or disputes.

Why Using a Bill of Lading is Important

The bill of lading is important because it is a legal document that outlines the agreement between parties involved in a shipment. It can be used in court if necessary. That’s why it’s essential that the information contained in the document is as accurate as possible.

The Different Types of Bills of Lading

There are many different variations of this document. These vary by industry and mode of transport. Here are some BoLs that are commonly used:

Negotiable Bill of Lading and Non-Negotiable Bill of Lading

A negotiable bill of lading is a type of BoL that can be transferred from one party to another. A non-negotiable BoL cannot be transferred from one party to another.

Master Bill of Lading

A master bill of lading is used to ship multiple shipments. This is often used by freight forwarders and other third parties.

Straight Bill of Lading

This indicates that the goods being shipped are being shipped “straight.” It means that the shipment is going from the shipper to the consignee without any stops in between.

Clean Bill of Lading

This indicates that the goods being shipped are in the same condition as when they were loaded onto the vessel. In other words, the goods are not damaged.

A clean bill of lading is given by the product carrier after inspecting all packages for any damage, missing quantities, or quality problems.

Order Bill of Lading

This indicates that the goods being shipped are being shipped “on order.” This means that the shipment is being made on behalf of the consignee and not the shipper.

FOB Bill of Lading

An FOB bill of lading indicates that the goods being shipped are being sold “free on board.” This means that the seller has fulfilled their obligations under the contract once the goods have been loaded onto the carrier.

  • FOB shipping point BoL: Used when the seller ships the goods to the buyer and the buyer is responsible for paying the shipping costs.
  • FOB destination BoL: Used when the seller ships the goods to the buyer and also pays for the shipping costs.

LCL Bill of Lading

An LCL bill of lading indicates that the goods being shipped are being shipped in “less than container load.” It means that the shipment is less than a full container load and will be consolidated with other shipments.

HBL Bill of Lading

This document indicates that the goods being shipped are being shipped in “house bill of lading.” It means that the shipment is being made by a freight forwarder or other third party, and not by the carrier.

ETA Bill of Lading

This indicates that the goods being shipped are being shipped “estimated time of arrival.” It means that the carrier has provided an estimated time of arrival for the shipment.

Open Bill of Lading

This indicates that the goods being shipped are being shipped “on account.” It means that the shipper has not yet been paid for the goods being shipped.

Closed Bill of Lading

A closed bill of lading indicates that the goods being shipped are being shipped “prepaid.” This means that the shipper has already been paid for the goods being shipped.

Express Bill of Lading

This indicates that the goods being shipped are being shipped “by express.” This means that the shipment will be made by a carrier that offers expedited shipping services.

Air Waybill

An air waybill is a type of BoL that is used to ship goods via air.

Inland Bill of Lading

This indicates that the goods being shipped are being shipped “inland.” It means that the shipment will be made by a carrier that offers shipping services within a country.

Ocean Bill of Lading

container ship near portAn ocean bill of lading indicates that the goods being shipped are being shipped “by ocean.” It means that the shipment will be made by a carrier that offers shipping services by sea.

A sea waybill can also be used for a domestic or international shipment via ocean vessel. But it differs in that it isn’t a document of title.

Wrapping Up

As we’ve described, a bill of lading is an important document used in shipping. It is a contract between the shipper and the carrier, and it outlines the terms of the shipment.

As a warehouse manager or logistics professional, it’s essential that you update the information in the BoL as accurately as possible. Also, be sure to keep a copy as a record. This will help avoid potential disputes later on.

Argos Software provides a complete solution for warehouse management and logistics professionals. Our software is designed to help you streamline your operations and improve efficiency. Contact us today to learn more about our products and services.

FAQs

What is the Meaning of Bill of Lading?

A bill of lading is a document that serves as proof of the existence of a contract of transport. It’s also a contract itself, which means that the terms and conditions set forth in the BoL are legally binding on both the carrier and the shipper.

Why Should I Use a Bill of Lading?

There are many reasons why you should use a bill of lading when shipping goods. A BoL can be used to:

  • track the shipment
  • identify the documents that are associated with the shipment
  • verify the contents of the shipment.

A BoL can also be used to transfer ownership of the goods being shipped. Finally, it can be used to make sure that the goods being shipped are received by the consignee.

Who Issues a Bill of Lading?

A bill of lading is typically issued by the carrier. However, a freight forwarder or other third party may also issue a BoL.

What is the Difference Between a Bill of Lading and a Shipping Bill?

A bill of lading is a document that serves as proof of the existence of a contract of transport.

A shipping bill is a document that contains information about the goods being shipped, the route of the shipment, and the terms of the contract of carriage.

What is the Difference Between a Freight Bill and a Bill of Lading?

The bill of lading is a legal document that summarizes the relationship between the sender and receiver.

A freight bill, on the other hand, provides a more detailed breakdown of the contract’s financial side.

What is a Bill of Lading Form?

A bill of lading form is a document that is used to create a BoL. This form is used to collect information about the shipment, such as the shipper, consignee, and goods being shipped.

What is a Bill of Lading Number?

A bill of lading number is a unique identifier that is assigned to a BoL. This number is used to track the shipment and to identify the documents that are associated with the shipment.

What is an Electronic Bill of Lading?

An electronic bill of lading (eBL) is an e-version of the paper BoL. It is a legal and functional equivalent of a paper BoL.

Recent Blog

Table of Contents