Bill of Lading

A bill of lading is a document related to maritime transport. The bill of lading has a long tradition. As early as 1667, the Maritime Act contained provisions on the bill of lading. During the voyages, paper was needed to symbolize the goods. The goods could be sold, for example, during transport by selling a bill of lading (Recipient’s Exchange).

Parties to the contract of carriage

Contracting Shipper
is the one who enters into a contract for the carriage of general cargo by sea with the carrier.

is the one who enters into a contract with the shipper for the carriage of general cargo by sea.

Actual Shipper
is the one who hands over the goods for carriage.

is that which is designated as the consignee in the transport document or otherwise or which otherwise proves that he is entitled to receive the goods, for example by presenting the original of the holder’s bill of lading.

Bill of lading

A document issued by or on behalf of the carrier which is:

  1. PROOF of contract of carriage
  2. ACKNOWLEDGMENT that the carrier has received the goods for carriage or loaded the goods on board
  3. UNDERTAKING to deliver the goods to their destination
  4. UNDERTAKING to deliver the goods at destination only to the person presenting the original bill of lading (= against return of the document).

In liner shipping, the bill of lading (line bill of lading) also contains information related to the goods as well as the carrier’s notification of the conditions under which the goods have been accepted for carriage. In search traffic, the bill of lading is shorter in form and includes a reference to the charter party (certificate party), where the terms of carriage have been agreed in more detail.

The distinction between liner and tramp freight bills may no longer be necessary today. Normal bills of lading are also used in chartering agreements.

  1. The carrier shall issue a bill of lading to the ship upon receipt of the goods or after the goods have been loaded onto the ship.
    • Loaded bill of lading = On Board B / L
    • Receipt bill of lading = Received for Shipment B / L
  2. The shipper sends the bill of lading he receives through the bank to the buyer. The goods travel simultaneously by ship to the port of destination.
  3. The consignee shall deliver the bill of lading he receives to the agent at the carrier’s port of destination, who shall deliver the consignment provided that the sea freight and the carrier’s other claims have been paid.

If the buyer is unable to present the the bill of lading for the consignment, he shall not get the goods out of the carrier. Due to its different nature from other transport documents, eg consignment notes, the bill of lading is a document entitling the goods.