Bill of lading – What it is, definition and concept

The consignment note is a land transport document that governs the transfer of merchandise.

This legal document, issued by the carrier, is the equivalent of the bill of lading in maritime transport. This specifies all the relevant data of the transported merchandise.

Likewise, it facilitates the work when requiring a safety inspection on the route. In this sense, the authorities can review a detailed document that, moreover, has a standardized format.

Characteristics of the consignment note

The consignment note, compulsorily, accompanies the goods from the place of collection to the last point of delivery. In this sense, as many letters as transfers can be made during the process, due to the difficulty of consolidating it in a single document. It should be noted that the conditions of transfer in other means of transport do not apply.

A consignment note is not always required for the land movement of goods. For example, in the transport of removals or parcels.

Bill of lading functions

Some of the functions of the consignment note are the following:

  • Cargo information: Contains detailed information on the nature of the merchandise. Constitutes essential information to take measures in the transport of the merchandise, with the aim of avoiding damage or deterioration.
  • Proof: The bill of lading indicates that there is a transport contract agreed between several parties. Therefore, it states the conditions present in said contract.
  • State of the cargo: In this document, the state of reception and delivery of the merchandise is left as evidence. This allows the responsibility for the mistreatment or deterioration to fall on the person responsible for the moment.
  • Property of the merchandise: It is a guarantee for the carrier about the property of the cargo in the transfer and at the place of destination. Therefore, it allows identifying the recipient’s property for its release. Likewise, it is a negotiable document, allowing the sale of the merchandise during the transfer.
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Items contained in the bill of lading

Given its function of providing information, this document must contain detailed information on the parties involved. Therefore, some of the elements it contains are the following:

  • Place and date of issue.
  • Legal data of the carrier(s).
  • Place and date of collection, transfer and delivery.
  • Name and address of the recipient or buyer.
  • Information and nature of the merchandise.
  • Declaration of the customs value of the merchandise.
  • Quantity of products transferred.
  • Type of packaging and cargo packaging.
  • freight price.
  • Instructions to follow in the transfer.
  • Insurance instructions.
  • Deadlines for the transfer of merchandise.

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