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What is a “Through Bill of Lading”?

A “through bill of lading” is a type of bill of lading. Any bill of lading is a contract signed between the person or organization consigning the goods and the carrier of the goods from that point forward. It’s a requirement when you ship goods. Not only does it act as a contract, but also a receipt. In this way, it binds the carrier to the service promised, and serves as proof that the service was promised.


A bill of lading is essentially the most important document in transportation and logistics.


What About the “Through” Part?


Let’s get to that “through” part. A through bill of lading is necessary for exporting goods. A bill of lading may only cover one element of the transport. A through bill of lading covers a complete process. It can act as a title for goods being transported internationally. In other words, the transporting company effectively takes title of (and therefore responsibility for) these goods during transport.


The through bill of lading gives permission to the shipping company to possess the goods and move them across borders. It also contains the agreed-upon details for how this should be done.


It Contains Other Bills of Lading


Because it covers the entire shipping process, a through bill of lading gives legal permission to the transporting company through multiple legs of a journey, modes of transport, and through multiple countries. This allows the provision of complete logistics services.


A through bill of lading will usually contain other bills of lading, such as an inland bill of lading (this covers the domestic transport leg of a journey) or an ocean bill of lading (needed to move goods via maritime shipping).


It can get a little confusing but think of the through bill of lading as containing the individual bills of lading that make up each leg of the journey. The “through” essentially means it links these legs together in a functional way and gives legal permission to the shipping company to do so.


To have this and other complicated transport elements covered for your business, consult with a shipping company that can provide complete logistics services.

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