Bill of Lading Form: Explained in detail

Bill of Lading Form: Explained in detail


Bill of Lading form is one of the many shipping documents that hold significance in the international trade process. It has multiple uses during the entire shipping process of every consignment. Traders, shippers and third parties associated with the trade business must know about the importance of this bill. For a comprehensive evaluation, click here to know more. But first, let us understand what this form does in the shipping process. 

Bill of Lading In A Nutshell 

Bill of Lading (B/L) is a legal document issued by a carrier to an exporter in the name of a freight consignment. It carries a detailed description of the goods and the two parties involved in the trade process. Carriers use it at the time of delivering cargo. Let us learn about the different types of B/L used in the shipping industry. 

Different Types of Bill of Lading 

  • House Bill of Lading – Shippers circulate this Bill of Lading in the name of the exporter (consignee) and importer (consignor) of a freight shipment. 
  • Straight Bill of Lading – This bill serves as a non-negotiable instrument for freight shipments where the importer has prepaid the money.  
  • Master Bill of Lading – The Master B/L is the most detailed and meticulously formed bill of all. It includes all the details of both the parties involved in the trade as well as the goods.  
  • Order Bill of Lading – It operates as the most commonly used B/L in the shipping industry. It also allows importers to pass the receiving rights of the freight to any third party that they choose.  
  • Clean Bill of Lading – Carriers issue this bill as a declaration that the freight he has received is in good condition. 
  • Bearer Bill of Lading – The Bearer BL is to officially claim the third party who is held responsible for receiving the consignment. The “bearer” in the bill is the one who will receive the freight shipment on behalf of the actual consignee. 

Importance of Bill of Lading For Traders 

The importance of the Bill of Lading is not confined to the shipping process. Traders can use it for different purposes and future references too. Here is how it qualifies as one of the most significant shipping bills in the trade business. 

Serves As A Legal Carriage Contract 

The B/L is a legally binding contract between the shipper/carrier and the exporter (consignee of the freight). It explains how a carrier has agreed to ship the said freight to the port of shipment in good condition. In the case of any mishandling of the cargo, exporters can use this bill to claim compensation or serve as proof of approved shipment. 

Functions As A Freight Receipt 

Exporters can use this bill as a receipt of proof and payment that the carrier has taken the goods for shipping at a said cost. Both parties agree to the terms of this bill and carriage contract. 

Binds A Lawful Statement 

The B/L binds a carrier and an exporter in a lawful statement, wherein the carrier is responsible for shipping the cargo to the port of shipment, while the exporter is responsible for paying the freight costs. The use of this bill goes a long way as the customs departments of different countries also consider this bill before approving a shipment. 

Bill of Lading is a vital document that shippers and trailers need for international freight shipments. It is also needed at the time of customs clearance documentation. The best way to use and store this bill electronically is with the help of a shipping service provider. Yes, the best ones host secure servers to save all the files and shipping documents electronically without any hassle. Analyse the market options to find the best one! 

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