What is an Ocean Bill of Lading?


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Ocean Bill of Lading

What’s an Ocean Bill of Lading?

An Ocean Bill of Lading serves as both a contract of carriage and a document of title for cargo being transported via ocean. This document identifies the parties on both ends of the shipment, along with a description of the goods and routing information. 


What are the categories of Ocean Bill of Lading? 

There are two Bill of Lading categories that directly reflect on the terms and conditions of the sale:

Straight Bill of Ladingis used when the shipment is consigned directly to the named consignee and nobody else (other parties). The consignee can get ahold of the goods at arrival by presenting the cashier a copy of a signed Original Bill of Lading. 

An ocean bill of lading consigned “to order” or “to order of shipper”  is negotiable once it is endorsed on the back by the shipper or a  representative. This endorsed and signed document is sent to a bank in the buyer’s country and is held until the transaction is complete. Once the buyer receives this document, the bill of lading can be transferred to the buyer. 


What other information does an Ocean Bill of Lading include? 

An Ocean Bill of Lading allows the shipper the chance to move goods through international waters. This document is a contract that provides the specifics about the shipment, including: 

  • What and how much material or goods are being transported
  • Destination location
  • Value of shipped goods
  • Type of packaging used for this shipment




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