Ocean Bill of Lading – Definition

Cite this article as:"Ocean Bill of Lading – Definition," in The Business Professor, updated March 24, 2019, last accessed October 1, 2020, https://thebusinessprofessor.com/lesson/ocean-bill-of-lading-definition/.


Bill Of Lading Definition

An Ocean Bill of Lading, abbreviated as OBL, is a contractual document and preliminary requirement to transport goods to any overseas destination. This bill is also named as cargo receipt with certain information put in the bill. The bill takes place to the shipper known as the sender of goods and ocean carrier facilitator. The bill is a piece of complete documentary evidence including shipment details of goods for carrier provider as well as the shipper. OBL is also termed as “negotiable bill of lading” to shows the ownership status for goods loaded on the carrier.

A Little More on What is an Ocean Bill Of Lading

Every trading process requires compliance with the legal framework and a similar case is with cargo shipments. Ocean bill of landing is a complete and authorized document that allows the bearer for lading. The lading bill includes most of the contract terms that are agreed between the shipper and the contractor, gives a full account regarding the number of loaded goods and details of destination where the good would be unloaded. It is a pre-determined receipt that explains the full procedure of goods transportation. It is to note that various types of OBL exist with various different conditions that are agreed between trading parties according to the situation and nature of the business.

Ocean Bill of Lading vs. Inland Bill of Lading

There is another type of ocean lading bill that is recognized as a non-negotiable (compromised ) ocean bill. It is used with different business terms as this bill binds a buyer that he is responsible to show the identification to receive the shipment of goods. There are further restrictions as well to follow if the bill has the status of “deemed negotiable bill of lading”. The bill with such types of status makes a buyer responsible for all types of payments including goods costs and to abide by other terms and conditions that the seller inflects upon the buyer.

Ocean bill of lading is used for the shipment of goods in domestic and international waters. However, the terms regarding the use of international waters are different that are mentioned in the bill and agreed upon. It is to note that if the transportation of goods is initially made by using land services then the contractors sign an initial bill known as “inland bill of lading”. This type of bill facilitates the shipper and carrier with eases of compliance with legal restrictions for inland transportation of good as these legal restrictions are different from waterways transportation legal framework. It is evident that “inland bill of lading” is effective to the shores while the ocean bill is effective from water to water transportation.

References for Ocean Bill of Lading

Academic Research on Definition of Ocean Bill of Lading

Ocean Bill of Lading–A Study in Fossilization, Crutcher, M. B. (1970). Tul. L. Rev., 45, 697. The study in this review paper evaluates the role of Ocean bill of lading in the context of fossilization and further helps to understand the concepts of ocean transportation of goods.

The evolution of the ocean bill of lading, McLaughlin, C. B. (1926). The Yale law journal, 35(5), 548-570. The research comprehensively investigates the evolution phases and use of ocean bill of lading for waterways trade and its impact on the global economy.

The Extension of an Ocean Carrier’s Limitation of Liability to the Inland Carriage of Goods Under a Through Ocean Bill of Lading: How the Second and Eleventh …, Daley, J. M. (2008). Tul. Mar. LJ, 33, 111. The study provides an account concerning with the extension and limitations of ocean carriers in relation to inland transportation of goods while using a comprehensive ocean bill of lading. The further investigates the role of the second and eleventh circuits as these have undone (harmed) the efforts of Kirby Supreme Court.

On carrier’s obligation to give notice of arrival of goods under an ocean bill of lading [J], Bing, L. I. U. (2005). Annual of China Maritime Law, 2005-00. In this paper, the writer explores carrier obligation in Chinese waterways in the context of giving notice for the arrival of goods. The writer further investigates the use of a certain bill of the ocean for lading that is agreed between contract parties.

Ocean bill of lading, Sutherland, J., & Canwell, D. (2004).  The research in this book simply explores the role, context and use of ocean bill of lading to perform trading activities through an ocean.

The Ocean Bill of Lading, Kendall, L. C. (1986). Springer, Dordrecht. The author critically evaluates the role of using ocean bill of lading with reference to shipping business industry. The study further highlights the changing nature of these bills according to various regional frameworks.

Conflict of Laws-Choice of Forum Clause-Invalidity of a Clause in an Ocean Bill of Lading Restricting Litigation to a Foreign Forum, Gershenson, D. E. (1967). Wayne L. Rev., 14, 609. This review paper sheds light on different aspects of ocean bill lading that include conflict of laws, choice of certain forum in case of a problem, clause invalidity and litigation restrictions on a foreign forum.

Uncitral Attacks the Ocean Carrier Bill of Lading, Moseley, W. (1972). Louis ULJ, 17, 355. The author states the role of different trading nations that blame exporting counties for different reasons. These attacks are also known as “Uncitral attacks” pointing out other nations that are not in compliance with the ocean carrier bill of lading.

Review the jurisdiction clause in the ocean bill of lading, Shou-qin, L. I. (2011). Annual of China Maritime Law, 3, 018. The study reviews the working frameworks of Chinese Maritime Laws and evaluates the jurisdiction implication with regard to ocean bill of lading.

The ocean bill of lading as a document of title to goods in Anglo-American law., Bools, M. D. (1995). (Doctoral dissertation, University of Oxford). The research paper comprehensively explores the historical context of using documents related to ocean bill of lading that allow goods transportation in Anglo-American law.


Was this article helpful?