bill of lading

noun phrase

Definition of bill of lading

: a document issued by a carrier that lists goods being shipped and specifies the terms of their transport

First Known Use of bill of lading

1532, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

12 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for bill of lading

The first known use of bill of lading was in 1532

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More Definitions for bill of lading

bill of lading

Financial Definition of bill of lading

What It Is

A bill of lading is like a receipt -- it is an acknowledgement of the receipt of goods. A carrier often gives a shipper a bill of lading and an invoice when it is moving goods for the shipper.

How It Works

Company XYZ is in Seattle and it wants to purchase goods from a supplier, Company ABC, in China. The supplier gives the goods to a transatlantic shipping company for transportation to Seattle. It obtains a bill of lading from the transportation company and the goods are transported overseas.

A bill of lading specifies the quantity and type of goods being transported, as well as the goods' final destination and the vessel on which they will travel. In many cases, the bill of lading details whether the recipient (Company XYZ in our example) must pay for the goods upon receipt, whether certain terms must be met before the recipient's bank will secure the shipment with a letter of credit, and/or whether the goods are damaged or in the wrong quantity upon arrival.

Why It Matters

A bill of lading is a contract. It covers the specific terms of the transportation agreement between a shipper and a carrier. A bill of lading is also a receipt, because it proves that the carrier accepted the goods and agreed to take them to their agreed-upon destination. As a result, some bills of lading can be bought, sold or traded when the goods are in transit. In some cases, the recipient of the goods (Company XYZ in our example) can authorize its bank to take title of the goods if it defaults on a payment.

Source: Investing Answers

bill of lading

bill of lad·​ing | \ -ˈlā-diŋ\

Legal Definition of bill of lading

: a document issued by a carrier that lists goods being shipped and specifies the terms of their transport

Note: A bill of lading serves as a receipt for the goods, a contract for the transport of the goods, and a document of title showing that the person in possession of the bill has title to the goods.

clean bill of lading
: a bill of lading that does not have any notations written or otherwise marked on it that qualify or amend the bill
negotiable bill of lading
: order bill of lading in this entry
nonnegotiable bill of lading
: straight bill of lading in this entry
order bill of lading
: a bill of lading under which the goods are to be delivered to the person named in the bill or to the named person's order or to the bearer of the bill

called also negotiable bill of lading

— compare straight bill of lading in this entry
straight bill of lading
: a bill of lading that names the only person to whom the goods may be delivered

called also nonnegotiable bill of lading

— compare order bill of lading in this entry

More from Merriam-Webster on bill of lading

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about bill of lading

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