What is a maritime bill of lading?
A bill of lading is a document required for the transportation of goods abroad through international waters. A bill of lading serves both as a receipt from the carrier to the sender and as a collection document or invoice. The contract is a legally binding document between the sender and the carrier of the consignment.
A bill of lading is a legal document or contract between the consignor and the carrier which details the type, quantity and destination of the goods transported. The bill of lading serves as a shipping receipt when the goods are delivered to the predetermined destination. There are different types of bills of lading, each with unique terms and conditions.
How a bill of lading works
A bill of lading allows the shipper to move goods through international waters. This document or contract provides details regarding the nature of the shipment, including the nature and quantity of material transported, as well as the place of shipment of the goods. The other information described in the contract includes the value of the goods shipped and the type of packaging used during transport.
The sender receives the contract when the goods are removed. The document must be signed by the sender and the carrier. Once the shipment is complete, the document is delivered to the recipient. Upon delivery and receipt, the recipient must also sign the contract.
An additional document, called an internal bill of lading, is required if the goods are to be transported by land first. This domestic bill only allows materials to reach the shore, while the ocean bill allows goods to be transported abroad.
Interior bills of lading are required if the shipment is to travel further into the destination country after arriving at the dock.
Example of maritime bill of lading
Maritime bills of lading, as mentioned above, are used when goods are transported abroad by inland waterway. When an automaker ships vehicles to a dealership overseas, it needs a bill of lading to transfer the goods. If the vehicles have to be transferred further to the destination country, therefore further from the port, there must be an internal bill of lading to move the vehicles. An American dealer will therefore sign a bill of lading with a Japanese manufacturer for the transport of vehicles in the United States. An additional bill of lading is required if the shipment arrives in Seattle, but is intended for Billings, Montana.
Key points to remember
- A bill of lading is a document required for the transportation of goods abroad through international waters.
- The contract is legal and describes the type, quantity and destination of the goods transported.
- The sender and the carrier sign the bill of lading during shipment and the recipient signs the document upon receipt.
Common types of bills of lading
There are several different types of ocean bills of lading. The direct bill of lading is not negotiable and is marked as such. The only person who has a complaint about the goods when they reach the port of destination is the person named on the invoice. These invoices usually involve parties who have open accounts, where the sender may not need the receiver’s funds in advance. The non-negotiable maritime bill of lading allows the buyer to receive the goods on presentation of an identity document.
A sender’s order is a negotiable bill of lading and is generally set up when the sender wishes to ensure that certain general conditions are met before the shipment is delivered to the recipient. This is used when the recipient’s payment is supported by a letter of credit.