If we search the meaning of the term “bill”, it is defined as a printed or written statement of the cost for the goods or services delivered or to be delivered. The term “ lade” means to put the cargo onto a ship or other form of goods carrier.
Thus, a bill of lading in shipping is a record of the traded goods which have been received on board. It is a document that establishes an agreement between a shipper and a transportation company for the transportation of goods. Transportation Company (carrier) issues these records to the shipper.
A bill of lading indicates a particular carrier through which the goods have been placed to their final destination and the conditions for transporting the shipment to its final destination. Land, ocean and air are the means used for bills of lading.
The carrier need not require all originals to be submitted before delivery. It is therefore essential that the exporter retains control over the full set of the originals until payment is effected or a bill of exchange is accepted or some other assurance for payment has been made to him.
A bill of lading, therefore, is a very important issue when making shipments to move the cargo or freight from one point to the other. On one hand, it is a contract between a carrier and shipper for the transportation of goods and on the other hand, it serves as a receipt issued by a carrier to the shipper.
Hence, the bill of lading is considered a legal document which provides all the vital details to the shipper and the carrier to conveniently process the freight shipment through different maritime countries and invoice it correctly.
The original copy of the bill of lading is provided to the carrier, and a copy of the same should also be ascribed to the packaged freight.