Commercial Moving: What is a Bill of Lading?

 In bill of lading, export, International Shipping

Guest Blog by Gareth Collins

When it comes to moving your home, office, or anything else really, there are many elements to the whole process. That may seem a bit strange to those who have never gone through it before, but there’s a particular document that deserves a bit more attention: the bill of lading.

This article will shed some light on what this document is, what it stands for, and why it is needed.

Bill of Lading FoldersTo begin, we should understand that a bill of lading’s purpose is to note the fact that a receipt for a shipment of goods and belongings has been issued.

The carrier or transportation company involved will supply and issue this type of document to the shipper. Apart from that, the document also notes which exact vehicle has been used in the shipment of the goods involved, as well as their method of transportation and final destination. It also includes the terms of this transportation and a detailed description of what is being moved alongside other shipping details.

Different Types of Bills of Lading

There are a number of different bills of lading, carrying different names according to their method of transportation – ocean, inland, air, and through waybills.

Inland and Ocean Bills of Lading

Inland bills of lading document the established agreement between the moving company and the shipper for ground transportation. The ocean bills cover the other obvious path and method of travel.

Through Bill of Lading

The through bill of lading is a bit different as it is essentially a contract that covers the terms the shipper has agreed upon as well as whenever there is more than one mode of transportation involved in the move.

It may also cover international and domestic transport of export merchandise.

It will also give the details of the types of transportation used between one location and another for a certain sum.

Air Waybill

The air waybill is the bill of lading type that works with aerial transportation of goods in both domestic and international situations. This document will also serve as a receipt, proving the acceptance of the goods in agreement to be taken to their chosen airport.

This type of waybill is more flexible as ocean shipping requires both ocean and inland bills of lading to complete. Air waybills, on the other hand, don’t have any such limitations.

Negotiable and Non-Negotiable Bills of Lading

The ocean and inland bills of lading may be non-negotiable or negotiable.

In the latter case, the carrier has to give the delivery to a consignee named in the document itself. If the bill is negotiable, then it is the right of the person who owns the bill of lading to have ownership of the goods.

In this case, they also have the right to reroute the shipment altogether to a new destination. This type of document is also named a bearer bill of lading.

In the end, these are the essentials to what is called a bill of lading in all its forms. Hopefully this information will be of use to you in your moving tasks and undertakings.


This was a guest blog.

Gareth Collins wrote this article. You can read tips and tricks for commercial moving from at:


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