ISS’ Complete Guide to the Bill of Lading

  • 2 min read

The Bill of Lading (BoL) is one of the most important documents in international shipping. It helps ensure that your freight gets to where it needs to go on time and with minimal complications.

To learn more about the Bill of Lading, what it includes, and why it’s so important, read on.

What is the Bill of Lading?

The BoL is a legally binding document issued by a carrier to a shipper. It contains all the necessary details of the shipment such as freight type, quantity, and destination of the goods.

The Bill of Lading acts as a shipment receipt. An authorised representative from the carrier, shipper, and receiver should sign it. However, only the carrier or their agent issues the Bill of Lading.

Why is the Bill of Lading Important?

The Bill of Lading is critical in ensuring that your goods get from point A to point B with as few complications as possible. BoLs serve as:

  • A receipt for the goods received and delivered by the carrier
  • Evidence of a contract of carriage (transport)
  • A title for the goods in shipment.

The BoL can also be an important document in ensuring the shipper gets paid. In some cases, the shipper can hold the original bill until they receive payment. By doing this, the consignee is unable to access their goods until payment has been made and the Bill of Lading released.

What Goes on the Bill of Lading?

BoLs should contain the following information:

  • Details of the transportation company (i.e. the carrier), the shipper and/or consignee
  • The place where the goods were loaded
  • Destination
  • Transportation mode (i.e. road, rail, air, sea, etc.)
  • The terms of the shipment (incoterms)
  • A description of the goods being carried (including their weight, dimensions, classification, etc).

The carrier fills out most of the information on the original Bill of Lading. As a shipper, your responsibility is to provide up-to-date information to the carrier and ensure that every detail listed is accurate and correct.

For more information or assistance on your shipping, get in touch with ISS.