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UPS Supply Chain Solutions®

Bill of Lading

What is a Bill of Lading?

A legally binding document issued by a carrier that authorizes the carrier to transport goods on their behalf. It contains details about the shipment and serves as a receipt of freight transportation, a document of title to the goods shipped, and a contract of agreed terms and conditions for transportation.


Unlike an air waybill (AWB) or a sea waybill, a bill of lading may be negotiable and may also serve as document of title.


Fun fact: "lading" means "loading", and specifically the loading of cargo on board a ship. Though originally "bill of lading" referred only to ocean freight, today the term is used to refer to any type of bill of lading for transport of goods by ocean or ground.


Related Terms

Air Waybill Sea Waybill Consignee Consignor 

Consignment Note


Related FAQs


What are freight terms of sale?

What is included in a quote?

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