What is a Bill of Lading and what is it for?

The bill of lading is a legal document used to transport goods that contains important information about the shipment. Its main function is to serve as a contract of carriage and receipt of the delivered goods. It provides important information about the cargo, the carrier, the consignee and the terms and conditions of carriage.

What is a bill of lading used for?

The bill of lading performs several important functions in the transportation of goods. The most important uses of a bill of lading are:

Contract of Carriage: the bill of lading serves as a contract between the shipper and the carrier and describes the terms of carriage of the goods. These terms include such things as the type of utility, the responsibilities of each party, the delivery route and the delivery time.

Receipt of Goods: serves as an official receipt for the goods delivered to the carrier. By signing the bill of lading, the carrier confirms receipt of the goods according to the terms specified on the document. This receipt is very important to confirm delivery of your item in the event of a dispute or claim.

Evidence of Ownership: The bill of lading can be a document that confirms the ownership of the goods during transportation. This is especially true for goods subject to international trade or commercial activities where the ownership of the goods may change during the logistics process.

Tracking and Traceability: provides detailed shipment information, including origin, destination, description, quantity and price. This information is essential for tracking shipments throughout the supply chain so that stakeholders always know the location and status of their products.

Regulatory Compliance: in many cases, a waybill is a legal requirement for the transportation of goods, especially internationally and in certain industries. Compliance with laws and regulations on waybills is important to avoid fines and ensure business continuity.

When is a bill of lading mandatory?

The obligatory nature of the waybill varies according to the regulations of each country and the type of vehicle used. This is essential in the transport of goods by road, rail, sea and air in general and in commercial and long distance transport in particular.

Difference between bill of lading and control document

Bills of lading and control documents are related documents but have different purposes. While waybills contain details of the transportation and delivery of goods, control documents focus on regulatory aspects such as security and customs compliance.

General types of bills of lading

The common types of waybills cover the main types of cargo and vary mainly according to national and international geographic scope. We will discuss each of these types and their key features in the transportation context.

National Bill of Lading

The national bill of lading is used to transport goods within the borders of a specific country. This type of waybill must comply with the regulatory and legal requirements of the country of origin, including the information required by customs and shipping authorities. It is normally used for logistical operations within a single country that do not involve international transportation.

carta de porte internacional

International Bill of Lading

International bills of lading are used to transport goods between different countries. This type of waybill must comply with the requirements of the origin and destination countries, as well as international shipping agreements. They contain detailed information about the cargo, shipper and consignee, shipping terms and other specific requirements for international shipping.

Specific types of bills of lading

In the following we will describe in detail the different specific types of bills of lading and analyze in detail their functions and uses in the transportation of goods.

Road Transport Bill of Lading

The bill of lading for road transport is a document used specifically for land transport. This type of waybill contains detailed information about the cargo, origin and destination, and conditions of the road transport. This may include data such as the name of the shipper and consignee, description of the product, quantity, weight, delivery date and other information relevant to the road transport.

Dangerous Goods Bill of Lading

A dangerous goods waybill is required if you are transporting any substance or material that poses a threat to safety, public health or the environment. This type of consignment note must comply with certain regulations for the handling and transportation of dangerous goods, including identification of dangerous goods, necessary safety measures, handling measures and other relevant information to ensure safe transportation of dangerous goods.

Electronic Bill of Lading

Technological advances have led to the development of electronic receipts that can replace paper versions. An electronic bill of lading is a digital document created, signed and transmitted electronically that simplifies and streamlines the process of shipping goods. This type of waybill can provide benefits such as cost savings, increased efficiency and real-time tracking of goods in transit.

Who makes the bill of lading?

The responsibility for issuing the bill of lading rests primarily with the shipper or carrier responsible for the carriage of the goods. In many cases, especially in commercial and general logistics operations, a carrier prepares a waybill and issues it to a named carrier. The shipper is responsible for ensuring that the waybill contains accurate and complete information about the shipment, including details such as description, quantity, weight, declared value and conditions of carriage.

However, in some cases, particularly for more complex logistical operations or when the carrier acts as a shipping agent, the carrier itself may be responsible for issuing the waybill. In this case, the carrier must collect the necessary information from the shipper and prepare the correct and detailed waybill before starting to transport the goods.

Regardless of who is responsible for issuing the waybill, it is important that the document is completed correctly and includes all necessary information to ensure the safe and efficient transportation of the goods. In addition, some jurisdictions or certain circumstances may require the signatures and stamps of the carrier, freight forwarder and/or consignee on the waybill to confirm the contract of carriage and confirm receipt of the goods. The use of a TMS software software can facilitate the process of issuing and managing bill of lading, just as a route optimizer can help plan deliveries more efficiently.

How to fill out a waybill?

The process of completing the bill of lading involves entering specific information about the cargo, origin and destination, shipper and consignee details, and the conditions of carriage. It is very important to follow the specific instructions and requirements for each type of bill of lading.

Bill of lading template and example

The waybill is an important document in the transportation of goods, and its format may vary according to the type of transport and local and international regulations. A sample waybill is shown below:

carta de porte - modelo

This example shows how to create a bill of lading that provides important shipping information, including details about the shipper, recipient, cargo, and shipping terms. Depending on your shipping needs and requirements, the specific details may vary from case to case.


The waybill is an important document in the transportation of goods because it serves as a contract for the transport and acceptance of the delivered goods. The detailed information allows you to easily track your shipment, ensuring safe and efficient transportation. Understanding the different types of waybills and how to comply with their requirements is essential to ensure a successful logistics operation.

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