Tera Logistics

Type of Transport Document: Bill of Lading

Posted in Transport Document - 7 Dec 2020, 10:04 AM

As a part of the export logistics, the Bill of Lading makes up the whole supply chain channel composed of goods clearance, packaging, storage, inventory, transportation, and order management. With its importance on the line, find out more about this particular document to determine efficient export logistics management before shipping yours.

What is the Bill of Lading?

Simply derived from the words “bill” and “lade,” the Bill of Lading (BOL) is actually of early English origin, literally signifying “list of cargo.” A bill refers to a written statement detailing any costs of goods or services. Meanwhile, “lade” translates to the action of putting cargo onto a certain form of carrier, such as a ship, plane, train, etc.

Purpose of Bill of Lading

Often found on overseas cargos, the document is essential for legal purposes indicating the receipt and contract between the carriers and exporters/shippers. In practice, a carrier issues a BOL to acknowledge that the exporter has well-received the goods on the destination. A carrier, in particular, usually refers to a transportation company. Air, ocean, and land are the means utilized for the Bill of Lading.

In exports, the exporters should know that the goods they’ve delivered already arrive safely at the destination. At this point, the exporter may not have received any payment yet. BOL also becomes a vital transaction component since it allows temporary control for the exporter on its transportation phase. Moreover, as a document of the title, BOL permits the goods sale in transit and financial credit uplifting.

Contents of Bill of Lading

Although largely depending on the format from the issuer and case-to-case basis, common contents of the Bill of Lading include:

  • General information about the shipping line (name, address, telephone number, email, and other important details).
  • Shipping date and bill number.
  • Specific information about both the shipper and receiver (name and contact details).
  • Purchase Order (PO) number or any other similar reference number. This also depends on the agreed terms and conditions (T&C) between the buyer and supplier. If there’s no PO or reference number, BOL can skip this one out.
  • Description of the goods. This can range from the weight, dimension, units, and any other characteristics of the content details.
  • Special instructions, which depends on the goods. This section details additional reminders, T&C, and/or service requests for the carriers later. For instance, some items can be hazardous or require extra attention. It can be an indication of hazardous shipment, if applicable.
  • Packaging details for the shipping. This can range from the use of drums, pallets, crates, to cartons and any other materials to secure the goods.
  • Freight classification to establish the shipping cost.
  • Initials and signature of the handling officer.


Hopefully, the explanation about the Bill of Lading above can present necessary information for those needing it. Bear in mind that this particular document should be issued by someone or a company with expertise. It may also be better to have a professional consultation before attempting to issue it for your goods.

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