Bill of Lading

From Open Risk Manual


The Bill of Lading (BOL) is a document which evidences a contract of carriage by sea and the taking over or loading of the goods by the carrier, and by which the carrier undertakes to deliver the goods against surrender of the documents.

A provision in the document that the goods are to be delivered to the order of a named person, or to order, or to bearer, constitutes such an undertaking (source: The Hamburg Rules 1978) [1]

The BOL is a document setting out the terms of the contract between the vendor of the products and the carrier, under which the freight is to be transported from the port of shipment to that of destination. The BOL serves as a document of title, a contract of carriage, and a receipt of products. Its holder has the right to gain possession of the shipped products.


There are two main types of BOL: the straight bill of lading and the shipper's order bill of lading.


  1. Standard Definitions for Techniques of Supply Chain Finance, Global Supply Chain Finance Forum