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What is an Ocean Bill of Lading?

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Ocean Bill of Lading

What’s an Ocean Bill of Lading?

The ocean bill of lading serves as both a contract of carriage and a document of title for cargo that is being transported via ocean. This document identifies the parties on both ends of the shipment along with a description of the goods and information about the routing. 

What are the categories of Ocean Bill of Lading? 

There are two categories of ocean bills of lading that directly reflect the terms and conditions of the sale of these goods:

Straight Bill of Lading is used when the shipment is consigned directly to the named consignee and nobody else (other parties). This is used for open accounts and cash transactions. The consignee can take 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 the shipper’s representative. This endorsed or signed document is sent to a bank in the buyer’s location (country) and is held until the transaction is complete. Once this document, along with other required documents are in the hands of the buyer, the buyer can actually transfer the bill of lading. 

How does an Ocean Bill of Lading Work?

An ocean bill of lading allows the shipper the chance to move goods through international waters. As previously mentioned, this document is a contract that provides the specifics about the shipment, including what and how much material or goods are being transported, along with where the goods are to be shipped. Other information that the contract include is the value of the shipped goods and the type of packaging that is used for this shipment. 

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