Shipping Terms Glossary

Bill of Lading

In the past, the Bill of Lading was always associated with ocean freight. But nowadays it's used in other forms of freight, too.

What is a Bill of Lading?

Also commonly referred to as BOL or B/L, it’s a negotiable contract of carriage that states the carrier has received the goods for the shipment.

Here's an example of BOL:

The format of a Bill of Lading is usually as follows: XXXX123456789

Bookairfreight what is bill of lading BOL example

Is a Bill of Lading only applicable to ocean freight?

Not anymore. In the past, Bills of Lading were always associated with ocean freight. But nowadays they're used in other forms of freight, too, such as land freight.

What is it for?

A Bill of Lading serves the following 3 purposes:

1. To let the shipper know that the goods have been loaded  

2. It acts as a Contract of Carriage between the shipper and the freight carrier

3. It acts as a Document of Title to the goods

Can I track my shipment using a Bill of Lading?

Yes! Use the BOL number to track the shipment online on the freight carrier’s website or provide the BOL number to your freight forwarder to have them check itfor you. You can also try this website.

How is a Bill of Lading (BOL) different from an Air Waybill (AWB)?

Bookairfreight - How is Bill of Lading (BOL) different from Air Waybill (AWB)?

Why are there 3 original Bills of Lading issued?

One is for the shipper, one for the consignee, and the last is either for the bank or another third party that may be involved in the shipping of the goods.

Cristian Ungureanu

Logistics nerd and resident marketing guy of Bookairfreight. I love writing content that simplifies old-fashioned industry processes and provides solid, accurate information you can base your decisions on. Outside of logistics, I enjoy nature, hanging out with friends, electronic music and spirituality.

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