Bill of lading form submission

International commerce is marked by the importation and exportation of goods. It is how countries acquire what they do not have. As an entrepreneur, this is one of the areas you can leverage and make good money.

But as you are looking forward to importing or exporting goods, you will come across mandatory documents such as the bill of lading. It will be best to understand what this document means if you are to conduct maritime business. 

Since each country has different customs regulations, carriers must submit the bill of lading to the customs office for clearance. Failure to present the document could cause delays and further cargo holding, leading to the wastage of various goods.

Therefore, before you begin to export or import products from outside the country, always ensure you have a bill of lading and other shipping documents. This article will help you understand what a bill of lading is and unpack its purposes that every party, especially the shipper and consignee, must know before placing their order or starting shipping procedures.

Evergreen container commercial shift

Understanding a Bill of Lading 

You need to understand what is a bill of lading before looking at the benefits. Well, this is a legal document issued by a transportation company or a carrier to a shipper that captures the type, destination, and quantity of goods being carried.  

It is a shipment receipt when the transporter delivers goods at a predetermined destination and must be signed by the shipper and receiver.  

This document is legally binding and gives the shipper and carrier all the requisite information for processing a shipment. It is a document of title to the goods, a receipt for the commodities, and a representation of agreed terms and conditions for transportation.  

What Is the Purpose of a Bill of Lading? 

A bill of lading is important because it’s a legal paper that has all the important info needed for shipping. It’s like a contract between the sender and the carrier. But it’s not just that – let’s talk more about why this document is so crucial.


Bill Of Lading document


1. Acts as the Receipt for the shipped goods 

In most cases, a bill of lading acts as a receipt that the carrier has received goods in perfect condition according to the terms and conditions of the contract. It shows that the goods delivered are as described and safe. Upon completion of export formalities, the cargo is handed over to the carrier, which transports the goods to the final destination. 

Shipping goods can be a complex activity if you are not keen. So, ensure you process all the details and invoice them correctly. A clear and correct bill of lading would help you claim payment if the buyer didn’t finish paying for the freight. 

In addition, doing a thorough inspection of the goods will prevent possible exposure to claims and unsatisfactory reviews from the consignee. 

2. It is a Document of Title for Goods 

Once the cargo has arrived at the final destination, the bill of lading serves as the title of the goods. It ensures that only the legal owner can claim the cargo from the shipping line by outlining the necessary shipping details and the parties’ names.

The consignee will later present the bill of lading to secure the cargo and claim ownership. Therefore, the document declares that the holder can claim the cargo. At that point, it also serves as a confirmation of delivery.

Cargo ship sailing through the sea

3. Acts as the Shipment contract 

Bill of lading serves as evidence of a contract between the shipper, consignee, and carrier for the carriage of goods from one destination to the other under a sea consignment. The document binds the agreed terms and conditions of the transportation of cargo.

This is done to safeguard the shipper if the cargo is damaged before loading it into the vessel.  

Again, the legal document is sent to accompany the goods and must be signed by an accredited representative from both parties as per the carriage contract’s convention. If you ship your goods by sea, familiarize yourself with the Hague-Visby Rules and Hamburg Rules since the carriage contract convention is derived from its content. 

4. Protection of the shipping company against false claims 

The bill of lading plays a crucial role in protecting the image and the carrier’s interest against false claims from either importer or exporter due to damage to some goods before loading, helping the shipping company during the claim process.  

Bill of lading form submission


Entering international trade for the first time can be stressful or draining if you don’t know the language and customs used in the logistics industry. The bill of lading is a common term that you will often hear among other must-have shipping documents.

While the document is the key to unlocking international trade, it depends on the receiver’s accuracy and other vital information. Ensuring the document is filled in correctly will save you a lot in clearing and releasing your cargo by customs authorities.

Therefore, familiarize yourself with the document before booking your preferred carrier. Hopefully, this article has helped you understand the Bill of Lading and its purpose in global trade.

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