Bill of Lading B/L

A transport document issued or signed by a carrier evidencing a contract of carriage acknowledging receipt of cargo. This term is normally reserved for carriage by vessel (marine or ocean bill of lading) or multimodal transport. All B/Ls must indicate the date of issue, name of shipper and place of shipment, lace of delivery, description of goods, whether the freight charges are prepaid or collect, and the carrier´s signature. A bill of lading is, therefore, both a receipt for merchandise and a contract to deliver it as freight. There are a number of different types of bill of lading.

  • B/L on board: Confirms the shipment of the goods in the ship, incorporating the text document “on board”. This type of bill of lading is the most common form of issue.
  • B/L received for shipment: means that the goods have been received for transportation by the indicated date, but it has not been shipped. Usually used in the multimodal transport deliveries, confirming the date on which the container has reached the end of the first carrier.
  • B/L nominative: Issued on behalf of a person or a company, which may collect the goods prior identification and presentation of at least one original of B/L.
  • B/L to the order: in this type of bill of lading the owner of the goods is the possessor of the original documents that can convey the property to another by endorsement, making nominative or simply endorsing the document as “bearer”. This is the bill of lading most used with letters of credits where the bank is listed as the consignee of the goods, and endorse the documentation to his client, who is the importer.
  • B/L to the bearer: is issued without identifying the owner of the goods that will be the one that holds the original documentation.
  • B/L house: is a document issued by the freight forwarder and non-negotiable. Not acceptable in banking operations. It is only in shipments where either the exporter or the importer assumes full management of the international sale.
  • B/L express: issued by the freight forwarder, allows delivery of the goods at destination with simple photocopies, i.e. the original document is not required for any procedure. It is useful in cases of full trust between seller and buyer as well as rapid transit maritime operations.
  • Clean B/L: is a bill of lading where the carrier has noted that the goods have been received in apparent good condition (no apparent damage, loss, etc.).
  • Dirty B/L: a bill of lading with a notation to the effect that the goods have been partially/wholly lost or damaged.
  • Direct B/L: a bill of lading for direct transport between loading and discharging ports.
  • Stale B/L: a bill of lading which is presented late (for letter of credit purposes, a B/L must be presented within a certain number of days the shipment.

In the bills of lading it is common to find a variety of concepts abbreviated by acronyms that refer to information on weights, costs, charges, services, etc., which may be requested by the buyer or inserted by the shipping company as identification of the shipping characteristics. Also called marine bill of lading and ocean bill of lading. Model of Bill of Lading B/L.

Related entries