BILL LADING DOCUMENT. Most Vital Document In Shipping!


Bill lading document

The bill lading document, properly known as the “bill of lading” or BOL, is the most sensitive document in the freight industry and all that has to do with its logistics. However, as promised in my first post on this section, we’re finally here to discuss the bill of lading document. I urge you to understand the essence of why the bill lading document will be used occasionally instead of the bill of lading as it appears in the first paragraph is to avoid search engine optimization (SEO) stop words. As we dive straight into this, it is important we state clearly the meaning and how important this document is in this sphere.

The subject document (the bill of lading), is a document issued by a carrier or its agent to the shipper as a contract of carriage of goods. This is also a receipt for goods accepted for transportation and must be presented at the destination for taking delivery. It also serves as proof of ownership (title) of the goods, because the bearer of the original bill of lading or the consignee’s name it was ordered stands the owner, which equally, could be issued as negotiable (original) or non-negotiable (express release) form. Meanwhile, for the purpose of shipping and our discussion, a detailed analysis of the various forms of this document will be discussed.

A completed bill of lading indicates that the carrier has received the freight as described and is obligated to deliver the freight to the consignee in good condition. Owing to the fact that the bill lading document, actually the bill of lading is required in all claims for compensation of any damage, loss, or delay and for the resolution of disputes regarding cargo ownership. However, the responsibilities, rights, and liabilities of the shipper and the carrier under a bill of lading are often stipulated behind this document, which is governed generally either by the older Hague rules or the recent Hague-Visby rules.

NOTE: For the negotiable type, it is commonly used in the letter of credit transactions, which may be bought, sold, or traded, or used as security (collateral) for borrowing money.

It’s also important to dive deep into the forms by which the bill of lading could be issued in this sphere. These forms are what you should know as a professional, focusing properly on the shipment of cargo and the parameters or instructions on each bill of lading.

Master Bill of Lading MBL


This is a bill of lading document issued only by a shipping line, which is the carrier. The shipping line practically owns and provides the transportation service of goods, from the port of loading to the port of unloading. Meanwhile, this master bill of lading is either issued to a consignee or company as evidence of a contract of carriage of goods by sea (sea freight).

The House B/L


This is a type of bill of lading predominantly issued by a shipping company or the shipper of goods, and not by a liner this time. This bill of lading is issued for goods related to less container load (LCL) and general cargo respectively. The consignee or the clearing agent of such shipment is expected to contact the agent (shipping company) at the destination for cargo delivery. This document equally comes in the form of negotiable or non-negotiable.


The draft form of this document is solely used for shipping and logistics purposes, only transmitted or sent by the principal to its correspondent (agent at the port of destination) as part of a shipment soft copy (locally known as a pre-alert document), used for documentation purposes prior to the arrival of the vessel. On this document lies instructions of the bill of lading that goods are to be delivered to the actual consignee including other detailed information with regards to a vessel’s voyage or shipment (LCL) from the principal.

That is it for now, our analysis on this continues in our next post.

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