What are the contents of a Bill of Lading ?

The usual form of a Bill of lading includes the following information :

1. Name of the shipping company

2. Name of the shipper.

3. Name and address of the importer (consignee).

Figure 1-5. US Government Bill of Lading

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4. Name and address of the party to be notifies on arrival of the shipment, usually the importer. This applies only when the bill of lading has been made out “to order.”

5. Name of the carrying vessel.

6. Names of the ports of loading and discharge.


7. Whether freight is payable and whether it has been paid.

8. Number of originals in the set of the bill of lading documents.

9. Marks and number identifying the goods.

10. Brief description of the goods (possibly including weights and dimensions).


11. Number of packages.

12. Signature of the ship’s master or his agent.

13. Date on which the goods were received for shipment and / or loaded on the vessel (This must not be later than the shipment date indicated in the export order or the letter of credit document).

14. Signature of the exporter (or his agent) and his designation if applicable.

In case the consignor wants to take the entire ship on hire for transportation of the cargo then the transport document issued by the shipping company is known as charter party. This is different from bill of lading which is issued when a particular cargo occupies part of the space on the ship.

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