Accomplished Bill of Lading – Definition

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Accomplished Bill of Lading Definition

A document issued by a carrier of a ship’s cargo to the shipper is referred to as a bill of lading. It is a document in the form of a receipt stating the contract of carriage of goods. One of the bills of lading, which is often the original must be submitted to the carrier and endorsed to show that the terms of contracts have been fulfilled or accomplished.

A situation where an original copy of a bill of lading is surrendered and endorsed at the port of discharge in exchange for the goods is an accomplished bill of lading.

A Little More on Accomplished Bill of Lading

Bill of Lading originated in the 16th century, it is also referred to as ‘Boarding knowledge’. The first estimation of the bill of lading was reflected in the Book of the Consulate of the Sea  in the 16th century, but the usage of the term has been expanded over the centuries. The bill of lading is a contract, often issued as a receipt of carriage that serves as a reference that reflects the obligations and rights of porters and shippers. The bill is also essential when payments are to be made for an accomplished bill of lading. It is necessary for the establishment of credits for the commercial contract.

Both the Maritime Transport Law or the Hague Rules of 1924 and the Commercial Code gave no definition or explanation to the term; “Bill of Lading”. The article 1.7 of the Hamburg Rules however defines bill of lading. According to article 1.7, Bill of Lading is defined as Both the Maritime Transport Law or the Hague Rules of 1924 and the Commercial Code gave no definition or explanation to the term; “Bill of Lading”. The article 7 of the Hamburg Rules however defines bill of lading.

Functions of the Bill of Lading

A Bill of Lading performs the following functions;

  • An acceptance or acknowledgement that particular goods have been loaded. (The details, descriptions and specifications of the goods loaded are stated on the bill of lading.
  • A proof that there are terms binding the carriage contract.
  • A document used in securing the delivery of shipment of goods.

Shipping Agents, companies or Freight Forwarders issue a bill of lading on every carriage down. This bill is issued by the carrier and also given to the owner of the goods or agents who then verify the terms of contracts and authenticity of goods before taking delivery of the shipment.


An accomplished bill of lading show that goods have been delivered to the carrier in the conditions stated in the bill and the goods are to be delivered in perfect condition. Contained in the bill of lading icvle the condition and quality of goods, number, brand and weight.

The bill of lading presumes that all goods are delivered in the condition at which they appear on the bill of lading. However, to avoid this presumption, the captain of the ship can include some reservations to the bill of lading, these are statements contained in the bill at the time of proceeding to receive the goods on board.


The bill of lading is a document (receipt) that serves as a proof that the goods have been delivered under the consigned transport contract. This contract and content of the bill of lading is one that holds that clauses limiting the liability of the carrier are of no legal effect. Also, formal implementation of the form of contract deployed in the bill does not determine its validity.


The bill of lading contains details on the goods being transported by a carrier, how they are being transported and how they are expected to be delivered. Bill of lading is issued by the shopper or their representative (agent), this bill also includes a right of credit against the carrier.


A bill of lading can be nominative, in this regard, the receiver of the cargo (goods) and their carrier are designated. In this scenario, the bill of lading is carried, transferred and dispatched based on nomination or assignment. The person to receive the goods and the person to ship and deliver then are nominated, delegated or designated as the case may be.

To the order

A bill of lading to order is one that is consigned that the merchandise (goods or cargo) will only be delivered based on the order of the shipper or of a third party. In this case, there is an order of a shipper or consignee for goods to be delivered to third parties or successive endorsees.

To the carrier

This is also known as a traditional title. In this case, the validity is determined by whoever that possess the title contained in the bill and this is transferable by the material delivery of the document.

References for Accomplished Bill of Lading

Academic Research for Accomplished Bill of Lading

The evolution of the ocean bill of lading, McLaughlin, C. B. (1926).The Yale law journal, 35(5), 548-570.

Can the electronic bill of lading go paperless?, Beecher, S. (2006). The International Lawyer, 627-647.

Contract Liability of Parties to Negotiable Instruments, Zaretsky, B. L. (1990). Ala. L. Rev., 42, 627.

Carriage of Goods by Sea–The Hague Rules, James, F. C. (1925). U. Pa. L. Rev., 74, 672.

The electronic transmission of bills of lading, Chandler III, G. F. (1989). J. Mar. L. & Com., 20, 571.

Multimodal Transportation: An American Perspective on Carrier Liability and Bill of Lading Issues, Wood, S. G. (1998). Am. J. Comp. L. Supp., 46, 403.

Evolution and present state of the Ocean Bill of Lading from a Banking Law Perspective, Kozolchyk, B. (1992). J. Mar. L. & Com., 23, 161.

•    Electronic bills of lading and functional equivalence, Livermore, J., & Euarjai, K. (1998). Journal of Information, Law and Technology (JILT), 1998(2), 1-13.

Vimar Seguros y Reaseguros v. M/V Sky Reefer: Arbitration Clauses in Bills of Lading under the Carriage of Good by Sea Act, Milhorn, B. L. (1997). Cornell Int’l LJ, 30, 173.

•    The bill of lading as a document of title, Schmitz, T. (2011). Journal of international Trade law and policy, 10(3), 255-280.

Bill of lading, Munari, F. (2017). In Encyclopedia of Private International Law (pp. 194-202). Edward Elgar Publishing Limited.

International carriage of goods by sea: problems in bills of lading and their impact in Australia and its major trading partners in Asia, Euarjai, K. (1999). (Doctoral dissertation, University of Tasmania).


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