Bill of Lading
A Bill of Lading (B/L) is a document that establishes the terms of a contract between a shipper and a transportation company. It serves as a document of title, a contract of carriage and a receipt for goods.
Types of Bill of Lading
- Amended B/L: B/L requiring updates that do not change financial status; this is slightly different from corrected B/L.
- B/L Terms & Conditions: the fine print on B/L; defines what the carrier can and cannot do, including the carrier's liabilities and contractual agreements.
- B/L's Status: represents whether the bill of lading has been input, rated, reconciled, printed, or released to the customer.
- B/L's Type: refers to the type of B/L being issued. Some examples are: a Memo (ME), Original (OBL), Non�negotiable, Corrected (CBL) or Amended (AM) B/L.
- Canceled B/L: B/L status; used to cancel a processed B/L; usually per shipper's request; different from voided B/L.
- Clean B/L: A B/L which bears no superimposed clause or notation which declares a defective condition of the goods and/or the packaging.
- Combined B/L: B/L that covers cargo moving over various transports.
- Consolidated B/L: B/L combined or consolidated from two or more B/L's.
- Corrected B/L: B/L requiring any update which results in money � or other financially related changes.
- Domestic B/L: Non-negotiable B/L primarily containing routing details; usually used by truckers and freight forwarders.
- Duplicate B/L: Another original Bill of Lading set if first set is lost. also known as reissued B/L.
- Express B/L: Non-negotiable B/L where there are no hard copies of originals printed.
- Freight B/L: A contract of carriage between a shipper and forwarder (who is usually a NVOCC); a non-negotiable document.
- Government B/L (GBL): A bill of lading issued by the U.S. government.
- Hitchment B/L: B/L covering parts of a shipment which are loaded at more than one location. Hitchment B/L usually consists of two parts, hitchment and hitchment memo. The hitchment portion usually covers the majority of a divided shipment and carries the entire revenue.
- House B/L: B/L issued by a freight forwarder or consolidator covering a single shipment containing the names, addresses and specific description of the goods shipped.
- Intermodal B/L: B/L covering cargo moving via multimodal means. Also known as Combined Transport B/L, or Multimodal B/L.
- Long Form B/L: B/L form with all Terms & Conditions written on it. Most B/L's are short form which incorporate the long form clauses by reference.
- Memo B/L: Unfreighted B/L with no charges listed.
- Military B/L: B/L issued by the U.S. military; also known as GBL, or Form DD1252.
- B/L Numbers: U.S. Customs' standardized B/L numbering format to facilitate electronic communications and to make each B/L number unique.
- Negotiable B/L: The B/L is a title document to the goods, issued "to the order of" a party, usually the shipper, whose endorsement is required to effect is negotiation. Thus, a shipper's order (negotiable) B/L can be bought, sold, or traded while goods are in transit and is commonly used for letter-of-credit transactions. The buyer must submit the original B/L to the carrier in order to take possession of the goods.
- Non-Negotiable B/L: See Straight B/L. Sometimes means a file copy of a B/L.
- "Onboard" B/L: B/L validated at the time of loading to transport. Onboard Air, Boxcar, Container, Rail, Truck and Vessel are the most common types.
- Optional Discharge B/L: B/L covering cargo with more than one discharge point option possibility.
- "Order" B/L: See Negotiable B/L.
- Original B/L: The part of the B/L set that has value, especially when negotiable; rest of set are only informational file copies. Abbreviated as OBL.
- Received for Shipment B/L: Validated at time cargo is received by ocean carrier to commence movement but before being validated as "Onboard".
- Reconciled B/L: B/L set which has completed a prescribed number of edits between the shippers instructions and the actual shipment received. This produces a very accurate B/L.
- Short Term B/L: Opposite of Long Form B/L, a B/L without the Terms & Conditions written on it. Also known as a Short Form B/L. The terms are incorporated by reference to the long form B/L.
- Split B/L: One of two or more B/L's which have been split from a single B/L.
- Stale B/L: A late B/L; in banking, a B/L which has passed the time deadline of the L/C and is void.
- Straight (Consignment) B/L: Indicates the shipper will deliver the goods to the consignee. It does not convey title (non-negotiable). Most often used when the goods have been pre-paid.
- "To Order" B/L: See Negotiable B/L.
- Unique B/L Identifier: U.S. Customs' standardization: four-alpha code unique to each carrier placed in front of nine digit B/L number; APL's unique B/L Identifier is "APLU". Sea-land uses "SEAU". These prefixes are also used as the container identification.
- Voided B/L: Related to Consolidated B/L; those B/L's absorbed in the combining process. Different from Canceled B/L. 
- U.S. Department of Transportation Maritime Administration