What is Bill Of Lading?

Legal Definition
A bill of lading (sometimes abbreviated as B/L or BoL) is a document issued by a carrier (or his agent) to acknowledge receipt of cargo for shipment. In British English the term relates to ship transport only, in American English to any type of transportation of goods.

A bill of lading must be negotiable, and serves three main functions:

  • it is a conclusive receipt, i.e. an acknowledgment that the goods have been loaded; and
  • it contains or evidences the terms of the contract of carriage; and
  • it serves as a document of title to the goods, subject to the nemo dat rule.

Bills of lading are one of three crucial documents used in international trade to ensure that exporters receive payment and importers receive the merchandise. The other two documents are a policy of insurance and an invoice. Whereas a bill of lading is negotiable, both a policy and an invoice are assignable.
-- Wikipedia
Legal Definition
Document used in foreign trade, which acknowledges that a company has received goods for transportation.
Legal Definition
Contracts and commercial law. A memorandum or acknowledgment in writing, signed by the captain or master of a ship or other vessel, that he has received in good order, on board of his ship or vessel, therein named, at the place therein mentioned, certain goods therein specified, which he promises to deliver in like good order, (the dangers of the seas excepted,) at the place therein appointed for the delivery of the same, to the consignee therein named or to his assigns, he or they paying freight for the same. 1 T. R. 745; Bac. Abr. Merchant L Com. Dig. Merchant E 8. b; Abbott on Ship. 216 1 Marsh. on Ins. 407; Code de Com. art. 281. Or it is the written evidence of a contract for the carriage and delivery of goods sent by sea for a certain freight. Per Lord Loughborougb, 1 H. Bl. 359.

2. A bill of lading ought to contain the name of the consignor; the name of the consignee the name of the master of the vessel; the name of the vessel; the place of departure and destination; the price of the freight; and in the margin, the marks and numbers of the things shipped. Code de Com. art. 281; Jacobsen's Sea Laws.

3. It is usually made in three original's, or parts. One of them is commonly sent to the consignee on board with the goods; another is sent to him by mail or some other conveyance; and the third is retained by the merch ant or shipper. The master should also take care to have another part for his own use. Abbotton Ship. 217.

4. The bill of lading is assignable, and the assignee is entitled to the goods, subject, however, to the shipper's right, in some cases, of stoppage in transitu. See In transitu; Stoppage in transitu. Abbott on Shipping. 331; Bac. Ab. Merchant, L; 1 Bell's Com. 542, 5th ed.
-- Bouviers Law Dictionary
Legal Definition
A receipt issued by a carrier to the shipper reciting the contract of carriage. See 44 L. Ed. (U. S.) 929; also 37 Am. St. Rep. 572.
-- Ballentine's Law Dictionary
Legal Definition
See Bill.
-- Black's Law Dictionary