A Bill of Lading is the proof of the shipment and that the carrier has received a cargo which will be released only against presentation of the original Bill of lading (B/L).

The shipper uses the B/L as proof for delivering the goods for shipment at the agreed place. It is the B/L which confirms the quantity and apparent condition of the goods stated in the bill. The B/L, therefore, becomes the “key to the cargo” as this is the main document used for claiming property over the goods. Payment of goods between the shipper and consignee is facilitated by the use and exchange of ownership of the B/L. It is important to note that the shipping line does not take part in the change of ownership of goods as it merely acts as an enabler in the transport of cargo from one location to another.

For more details, see 'Bill of Lading'.

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