Why the Bill of Lading is Relevant


Why is bill of lading relevant, cover

The Bill of Lading, often abbreviated as B/L is, for lack of better words, a receipt for the cargo being shipped and acts as a transportation contract. The Who, What, and Where of your shipment should be detailed on your Bill of Lading. The Bill of Lading is typically issued by the carrier detailing the contract of carriage with both the “Carrier” and the “Shipper or Cargo Owner”. This legal document is an important part of all ocean freight and is issued by a freight or cargo forwarder to each exporter, for goods to be shipped or transported. It is also proof that the carrier has received the goods from the shipper in good order and condition.

The B/L outlines various details that are essential when shipping goods. The parties involved with the shipment including the shipper & consignee, the carrier that issued the Bill of Lading, the point and country of origin, and the release agent who handles your shipment when it reaches its destination are all listed on the B/L.

Bill of Lading example image1

  1. SHIPPER (From)– Enter the company name and address of the shipper (Consignor).
  2. BILL OF LADING NUMBER– A unique control number to reference the Bill of Lading.
  3. CARRIER BOOKING NUMBER – A unique control number to reference the shipment with the Carrier.
  5. CONSIGNEE– Enter the complete information for the final recipient of the shipment, the ultimate consignee, if different from the destination, for Carrier notification purposes.
  6. NOTIFY PARTY – Enter the complete information for the recipient of the shipment, if different than the consignee.
  7. RELEASE AGENT – Enter the name of the agent which will take initial control of the shipment and cause its delivery to the consignee. 
  8. PIER – Enter the port where the cargo will be loaded.
  9. PLACE OF RECEIPT BY CARRIER – Enter the location where the cargo is received from the Shipper.
  10. VESSEL AND VOYAGE NUMBER –  Enter the vessel name and voyage number which will deliver the shipment to the consignee at the Destination.
  11. PORT OF LOADING – Enter the port where the cargo will be loaded.
  12. POINT OF ORIGIN– Enter the country of the actual shipping point.
  13. PORT OF DISCHARGE – Enter the port where the cargo will arrive.
  14. PLACE OF DELIVERY– Enter the city where the Carrier will make the delivery to the Consignee.

When shipping your precious cargo, the most important thing to make sure of is the cargo arrives safely and without error; Hence the reason why the Bill of Lading is so relevant. Not only are the items being shipped listed, but it also includes specific shipping instructions so your cargo arrives the same way it has left.

Bill of Lading example image2

  1. MRKS & NO’S CONTAINER NO’S – Enter the total number of packages per line item; if the packages are consolidated on a pallet or in an outer container, note the container/seal number.
  2. NO. OF TRLS/CONTS.PKGS. Enter the total number of trailers, containers, and/or packages.
  3. DESCRIPTION OF SHIPMENT– Enter the description of each line item, noting the type of package (boxes, barrel, etc.) and the quantity per package. There must be a separate line item for each different freight classification description. If more than one type of packaging is used per freight classification, a separate entry must be used for each type of package. Also include handling instructions (i.e. fragile, should be kept cool, etc.)
  4. GROSS WEIGHT– Enter the total gross weight, in pounds, for each line item.
  5. MEASUREMENT – Enter the total measurement for each line.

The final part of the Bill of Lading details the route the shipment will take to get to its destination from its origin, how it is getting from one place to the other, the date the shipment is received for transport, and how the shipment is planned to move on.

Bill of Lading example image3

  1. WITHOUT RECOURSE– Containers demurrages and detention charges at destination as per line’s tariff payable by receiver. Storages expenses or any other dues or taxes to be for receivers. (Read more on shipping delay charges)
  2. SHIPMENT DECLARED VALUE– The dollar value for cargo being shipped.
  3. TERMS AND CONDITIONS – Brief summary of terms and conditions detailed on page 2.
  4. RATE– Enter the two-digit Class Rate per line item.
  5. BASE – Enter the base cost to ship cargo.
  6. PREPAID – Enter the amount prepaid by the Shipper.
  7. COLLECT – Enter the amount to be collected for the merchandise itself, be sure to include the freight charges.
  8. CURRENCY – Currency used (i.e. USD, Euro, etc.)
  9. NUMBER OF ORIGINAL BILLS OF LADING – Number of Bill of Ladings for entire shipment.
  10. PLACE AND DATE OF ISSUE – Enter the city and date the Bill of Lading is accepted.
  11. CERTIFICATION – A signature is required by the Department of Transportation after this statement for all shipments. 
  12. TOTAL – Enter the total amount charged to ship the cargo.
  13. DATED – Date the vessel is projected to depart.
  14. BILL OF LADING NUMBER – If applicable. (i.e. 1 out of 10)


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