What Is Bill Of Lading(BL) In Import Export Business?

A bill of lading (BL or BoL) is a legal document issued by a carrier to a shipper that details the type, quantity, and destination of the goods being carried. A bill of lading also serves as a shipment receipt when the carrier delivers the goods at a predetermined destination. This document must accompany the shipped products, no matter the form of transportation, and must be signed by an authorized representative from the carrier, shipper, and receiver.

what is bill of lading
what is bill of lading

Always remember, any movement of goods done via road is generally done by fright forwarders. Fright forwarders have the tie up with shipping line, so its the fright forwarders who loads exporter container in vessel and provide bill of lading (B/L)

It contains all the details as similar as Invoice, packing list, and other documents but few this in these documents are there which you must be aware of.

Also, read How To Get Export Incentive From Government?

NOC :~ NO objection certificate

  1. Every container has got his unique number, generally, all containers belong to the shipping line, and all the trucks belong to freight forwarders. So container number along with seal number is written in this document.
  2. Fright prepaid- when the fright is paid in advance to the shipping line the amount is written and indicated hear. In Incoterms like CIF, CFR, DDP, the exporter have to pay transportation cost to the shipping line. 3. Fright collect- when the fright is not paid in advance and it is yet left to collect, it is mentioned overhear. In Incoterms like FOB, FCA, Exworks, the Importer has to pay transportation cost to the shipping line.

Let us assume,

Krishna, PVT LTD is merchant exporter (Seller) of nut bolts from Ahmedabad, India

Pazoo, PVT LTD is Importer (Buyer) of nut bolts from Krishna, New York, USA

Let see the chat between Krishna (INDIA) and Pazoo (USA)

Pazoo: I have found your product in www.alibaba.com and I want to purchase full 20 FT container of your nut bolts, please let me know the price

Krishna: OK Pazoo sir you will get “XYZ” quantity at “XYZ (in $)” Price for full 20 FT container

Pazoo: OK how many days it will take Krishna: It will take 25 to 30 days at 14 per nautical miles speed of a vessel.

(Visit www.ports.com & finds the ports in a different country and measure the distance, I have -I set Mundra port from Gujarat to Norfolk port in the USA)

((Note: please call fright forwarder for most accurate information with proper time, date and rates, there might be possible that there would be no vessel available for next 10 days, there might be possible that your vessel runs at low knots speed, and in this case, time would increase to 40 to 45 days. So you must approach freight forwarders))


Pazoo: OK fine, send me as quickly as you can, I am sending you RFQ (Request for quotation) via email. Thanks


{{Note: In RFQ there are details like required quantity and quality to be purchased, name and address of the buyer (Importer), required document for importing cargo which Krishna needs to send him, required packing, etc))

Krishna: Thank you, sir, I will send you Performa invoice as soon as I can.

{{Note: Performa invoice/Pro-Forma Invoice is a preliminary bill of sale sent to buyers in the Ili advance of a shipment or delivery of goods. Typically, it gives a description of the purchased items, notes the cost, as well as other important information like shipping weight and transport charges. There is no fixed format for Performa invoice or RFQ it depends on buyer or seller))

Krishna will send Performs invoice to Pazoo


{{Note: there can be some bargaining about few things and final conclusion is made by
I have sent you Conformed Purchase order with Invoice and packing list, please your email
Paradise order is final; no changes can be made as it is made after a long discussion, accept the purchase order then you must follow your order is being accepted by us & it’s being proceeded, you will be given all kx opting for KRISHNA LTD.