The bill of lading serves as prima-facie evidence of the terms of the contract of carriage between the shipper and the carrier.
Imagine how crucial this document is when it comes to handling claims?
You know the drill. Once the cargo is loaded on board the vessel (“shipped on board”), it’s time to issue the B/L, which serves 𝟯 𝗽𝘂𝗿𝗽𝗼𝘀𝗲𝘀.
1. 𝗥𝗲𝗰𝗲𝗶𝗽𝘁 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗴𝗼𝗼𝗱𝘀: it contains a description of the cargo received, including the marks needed to identify the goods, as well as the quantity of packages, their volume and weight.
The B/L also 𝗽𝗿𝗼𝘃𝗲𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗰𝗮𝗿𝗴𝗼 𝗵𝗮𝘀 𝗯𝗲𝗲𝗻 𝗿𝗲𝗰𝗲𝗶𝘃𝗲𝗱 “𝗰𝗹𝗲𝗮𝗻”, in other words, 𝗶𝗻 𝗮𝗽𝗽𝗮𝗿𝗲𝗻𝘁 𝗴𝗼𝗼𝗱 𝗼𝗿𝗱𝗲𝗿 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗰𝗼𝗻𝗱𝗶𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻. Well, unless it’s “dirty”, and remarks to this effect have been made on the B/L itself.
2. 𝗘𝘃𝗶𝗱𝗲𝗻𝗰𝗲 𝗼𝗳 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝘁𝗿𝗮𝗻𝘀𝗽𝗼𝗿𝘁 𝗰𝗼𝗻𝘁𝗿𝗮𝗰𝘁: the terms of carriage agreed upon before the goods are sent to the ship are printed on the front and back of the B/L.
3. 𝗗𝗼𝗰𝘂𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁 𝗼𝗳 𝘁𝗶𝘁𝗹𝗲: the B/L authorised holder is entitled to receive delivery from the carrier. However, it doesn’t necessarily operate as a transfer of the property.
As the B/L is a legal record of the transaction, inaccuracies in completing it may have serious repercussions.
Interruption of your shipping service
Loss of your insurance coverage
Criminal charges in case of fraud
We’d like to help you prevent these issues by giving you a few tips to fill out your B/Ls accurately. Check out the carousel, where we point out 4 B/L fields that are decisive to determine who has the right to file a cargo claim.
P.S. Make sure to keep your B/Ls on file for 7 years. You may need to use them as supporting documents for settling shipping claims and legal disputes.