Bill Of Lading: Different Types And Their Usage Explained In Detail

When a container is being shipped, a Bill of Lading serves as a legal contract or a document of title between the shipper and the freight forwarder or carrier stating the details of the shipment such as the type, quantity, shipment modalities, and the shipping and destination addresses. This document accompanies the traded product regardless of the mode of transportation that needs to be verified.

Why is a Bill of Lading Important?

This legal document is significant to the Freight forwarders, the exporters concerned or the Bank to prevent the theft or misplacement of traded assets and successfully process the shipment through its precise directions and details. Therefore, it is also necessary to mention the correct details in this document. With the help of a capable freight forwarder, you can file the right documentation. Cogoport is one such company that can help you with this crucial task. Cogoport bill of lading service offers assistance related to providing the right information in BoL for your business.

What does a Bill of Lading consist of?

A BoL includes the following:

  1. The names and locations of its Shipper and Receiver
  2. The shipping and delivery dates
  3. Purchase Orders or Special Reference Number of cargo or freight that is required for pickup and delivery.
  4. The defining characteristics of the traded items such as weight, dimensions, and factual descriptions
  5. The packaging descriptions such as crates, cartons, barrels, or shipping containers
  6. Specific shipping and delivery instructions for individual shipments
  7. National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC) number for categorizing less-than-truckload (LTL) freight shipments
  8. Hazardous Material and their specifications for shipments

What are the different types of BoL?

The various types of the BoL can be placed under two broad categories:

A. Bill of Lading on the basis of execution

1.   Straight BoL

It is a non-negotiable document of transfer that can be only delivered upon the presentation of identification proof of the consigned person. It forbids the specified receiver to re-assign or resell the BoL.

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2.   Open BoL

Unlike the Straight BoL, allows the transfer of the specified consignee against their signature. It is thus a negotiable BoL and ensures multiple transfers. Switch BoL ensures the transfer of the cargo from the carrier as the initial consignee to the final buyer is a type of open BoL.

3.   Order BoL

This ensures the negotiable status of the BoL and is most commonly issued. The bill states the consigned or an assigned party, endorsed by the former. It needs to be surrendered to the shipping agent or career during the time of transfer.

For goods under the Order BoL that haven’t been prepaid can be categorized as Short-term/ Blank Back BoL and Surrender BoL.

4.   Bearer BoL

It is a bill that states no consignee name. The possession of this very bill depends on the consignee or the owner of the cargo.

5.   House Bill of Lading (HBoL) and Master Bill of Lading (MBoL)

These contain the detailed specifications of the cargo. However, the former is issued by the Ocean Transport Intermediary freight forwarder or Non-Vessel Operating Common Carrier (NVOCC) and is also known as Forwarders BoL while the latter is issued by the carrier. The other differences between the two are the shipper, consignee, and notify party.

6.   Stale BoL

It is the term used for an expired BoL presented by the beneficiary with a bank after twenty-one days if not specified otherwise by the letter of credit (LoC) rule.

B. On the basis of the Method of Operation

1.   The Clean BoL

It is issued by the Freight forwarders or their agents confirming no damage to cargo during the shipment process.

2.   The Claused or Dirty BoL

It is issued when the product delivered is damaged or different from what was stated in the contract.

3.   The Multimodal or Combined BoL

As the name suggests, this is issued to state two or more modes of transportation like the land or water that are involved in the shipment.

4.   The Through BoL

It is often confused with the Combined BoL and permits the use of different means of vehicles or vessels in the same mode of transportation like inland waterways as well the ocean as both involve transportation through waterways.

5.   The Container BoL

This confirms safe packaging or containers for the cargo from the port of the receipt to the port of discharge.

6.   The Received for Shipment BoL

It is issued prior to the loading of cargo by a carrier to confirm the receipt of the goods for export.

7.   The Charter Party BoL

It is specific to transportation via sea and acts as an agreement between a shipper and the owner of the chartered vessel.

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With the technicalities and legalities present in the shipping business, you should always be aware of the purposes any legal documents serve. Whenever scheduling a shipping activity, be sure to take assistance if needed for ensuring the correctness of the BoLs.

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