A Bill of Lading (B/L) is a legal document that serves as evidence of a contract of carriage between the shipper (sender) of goods and the carrier (transporter). The purpose of a B/L is to provide a receipt for the goods being shipped, evidence of the terms and conditions of the contract of carriage, and title to the goods.
A B/L typically contains information such as the names of the shipper and consignee, a description of the goods being shipped, the port of loading and discharge, the names of the vessel and the carrier, the date of shipment, and the terms of the contract of carriage, including any special instructions or requirements.
The B/L serves as proof that the goods have been received by the carrier and that they are now responsible for their safe transport to the destination specified. It also provides evidence of ownership, which is important for financing and insurance purposes.
In international trade, a B/L is usually required to be presented to the bank before payment can be made for the goods, which makes it an important financial document as well. Overall, the purpose of a B/L is to provide a clear record of the shipment, protect the interests of both the shipper and the carrier, and facilitate the smooth and efficient movement of goods between different locations.