Bill of lading

Bill of lading: Everything you need to know about the contract of carriage in one document

To ensure the smooth transportation of goods, it is important to record all key information in a standardized manner. A so-called accompanying document, also known as a consignment note, takes on this task, especially in freight transport. The information that must be included there is derived from § 407 et seq. HGB. - Accordingly, the carrier is authorized to request the issue of a consignment note which (may) contain the following information:

  1. Place and day of the exhibition
  2. Name and address of the sender
  3. Name and address of the carrier
  4. Place and date of acceptance of the goods and the place designated for delivery
  5. Name and address of the recipient and any registration address
  6. The usual designation of the type of goods and the type of packaging, in the case of dangerous goods their designation provided for in the dangerous goods regulations, otherwise their generally recognized designation
  7. Number, marks and numbers of packages
  8. The gross weight or otherwise specified quantity of the goods
  9. The freight owed on delivery and the costs incurred up to delivery as well as a note on the freight payment
  10. The amount of any cash on delivery to be collected upon delivery of the goods
  11. Instructions for customs and other official handling of the goods
  12. An agreement on transportation in an open vehicle not covered by tarpaulins or on deck

Source: § 408 HGB

Important aspects when dealing with a consignment note

The consignment note is a transport document, so it contains details of the merchants involved, payment arrangements and, of course, details of the place of dispatch and destination. The transportation risk that typically arises, e.g. due to possible damage during loading, is regulated here between the contracting parties. As a result, every consignment note also exists in triplicate - one for the carrier, one for the sender and one for the recipient.

Differences in consignment notes depending on the type of goods transport

As each sub-sector of logistics uses its own laws and terminology, a certain range of terms is also used for what the consignment note generally expresses:

  • Railroad consignment note
  • Air waybill
  • Loading license (inland navigation)
  • Sea waybill
  • Consignment note or CRM consignment note (truck traffic)

Please note: The consignment note is not only important as an information carrier, but also serves as evidence in the event of disputes arising from the transaction on which the shipment is based. Bills of lading are often available in digital form and are also valid without a signature. According to the principle of documentary collection, for example, payment is evidenced by one party handing over its copy of the consignment note to the other.



Image: Lipik Stock Media / Shutterstock

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