A Bill of Lading is one of the most important documents in the logistics industry and it plays three key roles in the movement of cargo by sea freight:
1) Receipt of goods – A bill of lading is used by the carrier (or freight agent) to the shipper in exchange for the receipt of the cargo. A bill of lading is proof that the carrier has received the goods in goods order.
2) Title of Goods – The holder of the bill of lading has the right to claim the cargo or transfer this right to another party.
3) Agreement between the carrier and the shipper(or cargo owner) – This is to carry out the transportation of the goods as per the contract between the buyer and the seller.
A bill of lading is a legally binding contract under the Hague-Visby rules, which means that this document can later be used in litigation concerns. It is therefore imperative to check that the information included is correct and accurate.
The following information is typically included in a bill of lading:
- Name and address of the shipper and consignee
- Description of the goods being sent including the weight, size, value and number of pieces
- Origin and destination port
- Any special instructions