What Is a Bill of Lading Form?
Often abbreviated as B/L or BOL, a bill of lading is a legally binding document between the carrier of goods and the receiver showing that a contract has been created on the transportation of goods. A bill of lading can essentially be a receipt showing that certain goods will be delivered to a pre-agreed destination. This document must contain the signature of the carrier, receiver, or a representative of the receiver. It usually accompanies the goods that are being shipped regardless of the mode of transportation to be used. It acts as a form of security to both the carrier and the receiver of the goods. A bill of lading usually contains all pertinent information on a shipment of goods such as the type and classification of goods, the quantity of merchandise being transported and the destination.
To get a clearer picture of what a BOL really is, let us imagine that a trucking company has to transport gasoline to a certain destination using one of their trucks. Before the shipment of gasoline is loaded onto the truck, both the driver and the representative of the plant providing the gas have to sign a bill of lading. When the driver transporting the gasoline gets to their destination, then they have to get the bill of lading signed by whoever receives the consignment of gasoline. This acts as proof that the consignment actually arrived at its destination. It also prevents the assets of the company who had made the shipment order from being pilfered.
Types of Bills of Lading
There are several types of BOL and they each have specific uses. Some of the common bills of lading include:
- Shipped Bill of Lading
- Through Bill of Lading
- Ocean Bill of Lading
- Inland Bill of Landing
- Received Bill of Lading
- Claused Bill of Lading
- Uniform Bill of Lading
- Clean Bill of Lading
What Are Bills of Lading Used For?
Now that you already know what the meaning of a BOL and the different types of BOL, it is now time to look at some of the purposes of a BOL. Below are the three main uses of a bill of lading.
- It Is Usually Used as a Receipt
- It Acts as a Contract
- It Acts as a Title
What Information Is Contained in a Bill of Lading?
Just like air freights, shipments made through other channels can also take different routes and use varying modes of transportation before they finally arrive at their final destination. This is the reason why there are some details that must be clearly stated in a BOL. Below are some of the important details that you should not forget to add to a Bill of Lading.
- Parties Involved in The Shipping of Goods
Here, you should include:
- The names of the receiver and carrier of the goods
- The party who first issues the bill
- The party responsible for paying for the shipment of goods
- The freight forwarder
- The person who will be handling the merchandise when it arrives at the pre-agreed destination
- The Cargo Details
Here you should include:
- The destination where the merchandise is being shipped
- The exact location where the cargo will be sent on arrival
- The route that will be taken to get to the cargo destination
- The expected date of shipment delivery
- The vessel to be used in shipping the cargo
- The vehicles that will be used to ferry the merchandise to the final destination
If you transport merchandise for your business frequently, the importance of BOL cannot be understated. If you are looking to create any type of BOL, check out the many free bill of lading templates available in our main website. Do not stress about creating a new BOL when shipping goods! Save yourself some time and a headache by downloading and editing one of BOL forms.