Discover the Terms on the Bill of Lading

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Explaining the Bill of Lading

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A document issued to the shipper by a transportation company or a carrier to acknowledge the receipt of shipment of goods is called the Bill of lading. The Bill of lading is issued when the transportation of cargo is undertaken by carriers using various modes of transportation.


The Bill of lading is broadly divided into several types:
  • Straight bill - a non-negotiable document in which goods are consigned to a designated party
  • Order bill - more flexible because the goods are consigned to the order of a named party
  • Non-negotiable bill of lading - the consignee named in the document can take possession of goods from the transportation carrier
  • Negotiable bill of lading - the right to ownership of goods and the right to re-route the shipment are with the person who has ownership over the bill of lading
  • Inland bill of lading - an agreement between the shipper and a transportation company for transporting goods over land
  • Ocean's bill of lading - a document describing the terms between exporters and international carriers for shipment of goods to overseas locations

Importance of the bill of lading

A bill of lading is a mandatory document required by law for every shipment. It is a contract between you and the moving company that you have chosen to either ship your vehicle or personal belongings.

It is your responsibility to fully understand this document before signing it. If you do not agree with any points on the bill of lading, then the issue must be resolved with the auto shipping company or moving company before signing it.

A bill of lading is also a receipt issued by your carrier for your goods promising that they shall be delivered in the same condition excepting the dangers of nature. So in cases of loss or damage, this is an important document that is useful for claim purposes.

Contents of the bill of lading

A bill of lading is made in three originals:
  • One of them is sent to the consignee along with the goods
  • Another is sent by mail or some other method
  • The third is retained by the shipper or the merchant

Information on the bill of lading includes:

  • The name of the consignor
  • The name of the consignee
  • The name of the vessel and its master name
  • The place of departure and destination
  • The price and quantity of goods that are being shipped
  • Contact information of the person or company whom you are supposed to call while your goods are being transported
  • The mode of payment that was agreed upon
  • The pickup and drop off dates for your belongings
  • The costs of the transit and insurance that you have taken

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on January 15, 2013 - Moving Expert
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