What is a bill of lading?

A bill of lading is one of the most important documents in the shipping industry.  In general the bill of lading is a contract between the person shipping the item, the carrier and the receiver of the item.

A bill of lading must be partially completed and provided to the shipper when your freight is to be picked up.

Get a freight quote!There are two types of bills of lading, a straight bill (most common) and an order bill.  The straight bill of lading consigns the items to a specific person or company and lays out the path those goods will take to get to that person or party.  The order bill of lading consigns the goods to the order of a person or company, the important wording distinction here is “to the order of”, meaning that an order bill is somewhat negotiable in terms of how goods are shipped and where they end up.

You may have also heard the term, clean bill of lading associated with shipping.  A clean bill of lading is issued to the receiver after the carrier has inspected all of the freight for missing or damaged items.  The clean bill of lading often is referenced to trigger payments on letters of credit from the freight receiver.  Receivers of freight should always insure a proper inspection of received items is conducted prior to the bill of lading being signed off as “clean”.  Damaged or missing item claims may be jeopardized if the carrier leaves with a signed bill of lading that does not note damage or missing items.

One of the most important parts of the bill of lading is the freight classification for each of the items noted.  Incorrectly specifying the classification can cost you hundreds if it is incorrect.  Contact the freight experts at Freight Management Logistics to get help with your bill of lading.  You can download a copy of our bill of lading in PDF format.

Do you need to ship freight right now, need an expert to help?  Contact us, chat live or get a freight quote right now.

Freight 101 – Your Freight Q&A