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A bill of lading is a legal document that details goods being transported from a shipper or seller to the recipient.

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Bill of Lading: What Is It?

A bill of lading is a legal document that details goods being transported from a shipper or seller to the recipient. The bill of lading will include various information including the type of goods included in the shipment, the number of products, and the destination address for the transaction. This document should always be included in a transaction involving shipped products.

The bill of lading should be signed at various points throughout the delivery process. First, it will be signed by the seller, or the people who is shipping the goods. It will also be signed by a representative of the shipping company. Then, when the package is delivered, the bill of lading will be signed by the recipient.

A bill of lading protects the seller, the shipper, and the recipient. It will ensure that all the products are successfully delivered, and if there is a problem, the bill of lading can help you figure out where the problem occurred.

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What Is a Bill of Lading?

what is a bill of lading When it comes to shipping and trade , a bill of lading is one of three official documents used to guarantee proper accounting of shipments. A bill of lading template, often shorted to B/L or BoL, helps to ensure that those importing receive the merchandise they pay for, and those exporting receive proper payment for their goods. The bill of lading template provides clarification and accountability for both parties, particularly in international trade.

When shipping or receiving goods, it is critical that a bill of lading be part of the process. In fact, free bill of lading form papers are available online to make the process even easier. A bill of lading template has three major roles. First, the bill of lading acts as proof that the carrier promised to carry the goods. Secondly, the bill of lading acts as a “ receipt ” – proof that the merchandise listed was received and is in good order. Third, it is evidence of ownership of the goods. Whoever holds the bill of lading has current ownership of those goods.

There are two different types of bill of lading templates. The first is known as a straight bill of lading. A straight bill of lading is used when payment was made prior to the freight being shipped. The second type, an order bill of lading, is used when payment is to be made after shipment. Essentially, the order bill of lading withholds transferring actual legal ownership of the freight until payment is duly made.

Adjustments can be made to denote different things on a bill of lading. For instance, a bill of lading might be marked “received for shipment”. This would indicate that merchandise has been received, but may not yet be in transit. An on board bill of lading, on the other hand, indicates that the merchandise has been physically loaded and is in transit. Merchandise that is transported by sea often requires a port to port bill of lading. This bill of lading limits the carrier’s responsibility for the merchandise to include only that time that it is physically on the vessel. Thus, origin and ultimate delivery should not be mentioned in this version of the bill of lading.

An adjustment to the bill of lading can also indicate the condition of the merchandise at the time of receipt. A clean bill of lading lets people know that the merchandise was in good condition when it was received. A foul bill of lading denotes that some or all of the merchandise was damaged upon receipt. These types of notations can be highly important to both parties later on. 

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