Ocean Bill of Lading

Meaning Of Ocean Bill of Lading

An ocean bill of lading is a contract between the shipper and the ocean carrier. The document acts as a carrier receipt to the shipper. The bill contains every detail of goods that are being transported. This document is submitted to shipper while picking up goods. The shipper later gives it to the receiver on the delivery of goods. Visit “Bill of Lading and its Types” to learn more about the concept.

An ocean bill of lading consists of information like name and address of the parties involved, a total number of units shipped, terms of the agreement, packing material used, the value of shipment, etc. The bill serves as a legal binding on both, the shipper and carrier. The ocean bill of lading is specifically for international transportation. The ocean bill of lading lets the shipper of goods to carry them across the international waters. However, if the goods are to be shipped on land, inland bill of lading is required.

Is Ocean Bill of Lading Negotiable or Non-Negotiable?

There is often a confusion in relation to the ocean bill of lading that whether it is a negotiable or non-negotiable instrument. It may be a negotiable or non-negotiable instrument depending on the terms of the agreement. A negotiable ocean bill of lading can be sold, bought and traded when the goods are in transit.

Ocean bill of lading is of many types. The most commonly used are as follows.

Ocean bill of lading

Types of Ocean Bill of Lading

Straight Bill of Lading

It is a non-negotiable instrument. In the straight bill of lading, only the person whose name appears on the bill can claim the goods. This type of bill is used mostly when the exporter is not concerned about the receipt of payment from the importer upon receiving the goods.

Shipper’s Order Bill of Lading

It is a negotiable instrument. The shipper’s order bill of lading consists of conditions while delivering the goods. The conditions may include fulfilling the terms of the letter of credit before receiving the goods.

Clean Bill of Lading

A clean bill of lading is issued when the receiver receives the goods without any damage or shortage. In case, the product delivered consist of flaws, clean bill of lading will not be issued.

On Board Bill of Lading

The master of the vessel signs this bill of lading. It is issued when the cargo is placed abroad in a vessel.


An ocean bill of lading is a contract between the shipper and the carrier. It defines the terms and conditions of the agreement. This document brings transparency in the transaction. It also gives assurance to the importer that his goods will be delivered and exporter is not concerned for non-receipt of the payment. In some cases, if there is default in payment the banks are authorized to take control of the goods. Thus, ocean bill of lading is a boon in international transactions.1–4

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Last updated on : August 28th, 2019
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  1. Avatar Kyle Griffin

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