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Shipping Bill of Lading

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Create a Shipping Bill of Lading

Every shipment shipped by a truck must be accompanied by a “lading bill” or “bill of lading.” A bill of lading is a document generated by the shipper detailing the contents of this shipment and the merchandise. It gives title to the goods and requires the carrier to release the goods to a named party at the shipment’s destination. A lading bill also serves as proof of delivery. Once the shipment is delivered, the lading bills are signed, indicating the product is transferred to the party on the receiving end. Therefore, a bill of lading can also be used as proof of shipment.

Shipping bill of lading.
You will need to create a bill of lading for any shipment you plan on shipping.

Bill of Lading as a Receipt

The principal use of a bill of lading receipt by the carrier is proof that goods have been delivered for insurance purposes and contractual proof of completing the job.

Bill of Lading as a Title

A bill of lading can also be used as a title to the shipped item. However, as noted on the bill, if a bill of lading is made out “to order,” then the item in question confers ownership by the person in possession of it.

Bill of Lading as a Negotiable Instrument

Because a bill of lading represents the title of goods as detailed upon it, they can be traded the same way goods are and even borrowed upon if desired. Therefore, the bill of lading is an important document used in shipping and trade globally.

As you can see from the examples above, a bill of lading is a powerful and serious legal document. You don’t have to be an attorney to write one, but you do have to include specifics for it to be valid. A bill of lading must include;

  •  a bill lading number
  • the origin address
  • the destination address
  • any third-party billing charges
  • trucking companies name
  • trailer number 
  • seal numbers that may apply


It must detail precisely the product being shipped to the last detail. If there aren’t multiple items, then it needs to state 

  • the exact number of items
  • the number of pallets used
  • total weight of the product. 


It must also state the payment terms agreed upon between the trucking company and the actual shipper of the product. Finally, it needs to include the date of pickup with the signature of the shipper and the signature of the transportation company.

Claims and Clean Bills

When the transport company delivers a product, the delivery date is as agreed upon. If the product is delivered in a satisfactory condition, the receiver will simply sign and date the bills of lading. These are sometimes referred to as “clean bills” as there’s no indication of problems or complications. However, if the product is damaged or delivered past the agreed-upon date, and the receiver makes a notation on the bills of lading, then there are potential problems for a claim. If the person receiving a shipment intends to file a claim, they must date the nature of the intended claim on the bills of lading before signing them.

Use This Free Bill of Lading for Your Shipment

A bill of lading is a pretty straightforward document, but any shipment performed must be accompanied by one. If you don’t have bills of lading and need a standard one, you can find one here at, which offers a basic one. You will need Adobe Reader but can simply type your shipment information into your browser window and then print the document to use for your shipment.

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