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What is a Bill of Lading in International Trade?

If you are dealing with export or import, you must have come across the bill of lading. Or you may have come across the abbreviation BOL. Maybe you are about to step into the world of trading. Bill of lading is one of the terms you need to know. By reading this article, you can get detailed information about what a bill of lading is.

A bill of lading is an important legally binding document in the shipping process. It gives the carrier and shipper the information they need to process a shipment. The consignor uses the bill of lading as proof. The bill of lading proves that the consignor has delivered the goods for shipment at the agreed place.

A bill of lading is a contract between the owner of the goods and the shipper. Thus, it incorporates the terms and conditions for cargo transportation. This document details which goods the owner shipped, where the shipment came from, and where it went. BOL also serves as a receipt when the other party receives the shipment.

BOL is essential for moving a freight shipment. Also, it can function as a document of title. The person holding the document of title can claim ownership of the shipment. To summarize, the bill of lading has multiple functions. It can act as a freight services receipt, contract, and document of title.

Purpose of Bill of Lading

As we mentioned above, a bill of lading has three main functions. This document is an agreement between the carrier and the shipper. It is the primary purpose of a bill of lading to state the terms and conditions of shipment. Secondly, the bill of lading is indispensable for shipping. This legally binding document serves as a receipt for the goods transported. Finally, the bill of lading is a document to verify ownership of the goods. This verification document is known as the document of title. So the bill of lading acts as the document of title.

A bill of lading establishes a legal connection between the sender and the receiving party. Thus, it protects the parties in case of possible false claims and losses.

Contents of Bill of Lading

The bill of lading has detailed information about the consigner, carrier, consignee, and the goods. The details in the bill of lading are as follows:

  • Bill of lading number
  • Names and addresses of the shipper and receiver
  • Shipping line information
  • Detailed information about the goods
  • Freight forwarder information
  • Instructions for the carrier
  • Type of packaging materials
  • Date of pick up
  • Vessel name
  • Purchase order and invoice numbers
  • Hazardous material designation
  • Information about NMFC freight class information

NMFC is the abbreviation for The National Motor Freight Classification. NMFC is a standard. It compares the carried goods. Freight classes can affect costs. Classification takes into account characteristics such as weight and size.

Primary Types of Bill of Lading

There are many types of bill of lading. These types differ depending on factors such as the mode of transmission and the relationship between buyer and seller. However, before detailed categories, we can the divide bill of lading into two basic categories. These are negotiable and non-negotiable bills of lading.

Negotiable Bill of Lading

The original bill of lading represents the title of the goods. Therefore, it is a negotiable and legal document. Buyers endorse original bills of lading. The buyer must do this when transferring the bill of lading to a third party. The forwarder is responsible for forwarding the goods to the appropriate party. This party will acquire the ownership.

Non-Negotiable Bill of Lading

Non-negotiable bills of lading are copies. These copies have no effect on the title of the goods. Another name for this type is a straight bill of lading. A non-negotiable bill of lading does not serve as a document of title. It doesn’t function to transfer ownership from one party to another.

Now that we’ve reviewed the two main types of bill of lading, let’s look at other types.

Clean Bill of Lading

A clean bill of lading indicates that the load is loaded in good condition. This type of bill of lading does not declare defects of goods or packaging. It declares whether the goods are apparently in good condition.

Claused Bill of Lading

A claused bill of lading contains details about quality defects or quantity deficiencies. The carrier indicates on the bill of lading any damage to the cargo and other discrepancies. The consignee can accept or reject it. The consignee’s bank may also refuse to pay.

Master Bill of Lading

The shipping line or carrier are the parties that prepare the Master Bill of Lading. Other names for this type of bill of lading are Ocean or Carrier Bill of Lading. It contains details of the sender, the consignee, the owners, and the terms of transport.

House Bill of Lading

Freight forwarder or Non-Vessel Operating Common Carrier (NVOCC) prepares the house bill of lading for the supplier. The supplier delivers the shipment to the shipping company. This shipping company checks the cargo and delivers it to the buyer. House bill of lading also includes details such as shipping and destination.

Container Bill of Lading

Container bill of lading indicates that the goods have arrived from the port of departure to another port. During transportation, the goods are in a secure container.

Order Bill of Lading

In the Order Bill of Lading, the carrier makes the delivery in line with another order from the consignee. Order bill of lading is a negotiable document. It allows transferring the ownership of the goods specified in the bill of lading to another party. This requires the final consignee’s approval.

Bearer Bill of Lading

A bearer bill of lading indicates that the person holding the bill of lading will receive the delivery. In this document, the consignee is referred to as the bearer. It allows a third party to accept the goods on arrival. Hence it is a negotiable bill of lading.

Received for Shipment Bill of Lading

The agent sends this bill of lading to the sender. Confirmation of this bill guarantees that the carrier has received the goods. Still, it does not guarantee that it is on the designated vessel.

Through Bill of Lading

With a through bill of lading, the carrier transports the goods using single or multiple modes of transport. He delivers the goods to several destinations.

Multimodal Bill of Lading

With this bill of lading, the carrier can transport the goods with at least two modes of transport.

Turkish Goods provides its partners with safe and perfect transportation processes in export. One of the most important factors that make the process perfect is that we follow international standards and rules. Turkish Goods works with great care on all documents, including bills of lading, for the smooth delivery of goods. You can contact us here to get more detailed information about our services.

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