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Bill of Lading

An example of a Bill of Lading in PDF format*

A Bill of Lading is a receipt given by the shipping company upon shipment of the goods and is evidence of a contract of carriage. It is a document of title to the goods, and as such is required to enable them to clear the goods at the port of destination.

Two or three signed sets of the original copies of the Bill of Lading are usually made out. These are known as 'negotiable copies', any one of which can give title to the goods. Unsigned, non-negotiable copies also exist, which are not documents of title, but are used for record purposes.

The goods will only be released to Consignee. Normally Bills of Lading are made out to order, unless the documents are made out to the Importer as the Consignee of the goods.

Types of Bills of Lading:

  • 'Shipped' or 'Shipped on board'. (Indicates that the goods have been received on ship).
  • 'Received for shipment'. (Signifies that the ship owner has taken delivery of the goods, but they have not been placed on board the vessel).
  • 'Combined Transport'. (Issued to cover all stages of the journey if both ocean and overland transport is used).

The LC will specify which of the above types of Bill of Lading is required.

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