The Bill of Lading Defined
Prior to the beginning of the freight shipping process, a legal document protecting the interests of both the shipper and the carrier must be completed. This document is known as the Bill of Lading (BOL). Serving as one of the most important documents in the shipping industry, the BOL contains the essential freight details that are needed in order to ship and invoice the cargo accurately.
The BOL is typically issued by the carrier to the shipper, and is provided to the carrier at pick-up or arrival. This step of the freight shipping process is crucial, as it serves as proof that the carrier has received the cargo from the shipper in good conditions.
Purposes of a Bill of Lading
The BOL outlines the details of the goods that are being shipped. Due to this, the successful completion of a logistics operation heavily relies on this important legal document. As one of the most important documents in the shipping industry, it serves three main purposes:
1. Receipt of the goods
Once issued and signed, this document serves as proof that the carrier has received the cargo from the shipper in satisfactory conditions.
2. Evidence of Contract of Carriage
The BOL represents the contractual agreement between the carrier and the shipper that details where the goods were collected, what is being shipped, and where it will be delivered.
3. Document of Title to the goods
Serving as a document of title means that whoever is the holder of the BOL has the rights to claim the goods being shipped.
Types of Bills of Lading
Straight Bill of Lading
The most commonly used Bill of Lading. The Straight BOL is non-negotiable and is used when the buyer still owes payment to the shipper.
Order Bill of Lading
Opposite to the Straight BOL, the Order BOL is negotiable and is most commonly used when the cargo is covered under a line of credit.
Master Bill of Lading
A Master BOL is used when summarizing multiple BOLs under one document.
House Bill of Lading
Created by a freight forwarder or an NVOCC, an HBL is used for ocean shipments.
House Airway Bill (AWB)
Created by a freight forwarder or an NVOCC, an AWB is used for air shipments
For additional information and inquiries, contact Global Cargo today and our team will be happy to assist you. Go Global, your cargo in good hands!