Types of bills of lading, and why they relate to different transportation methods.

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When you try to receive your goods from Saudi Customs – or the customs of any other country – you need a bill of lading, which is a receipt or contract concluded between the carrier of the good (the shipping company) and the recipient (contracting with the company to transport that good). Accordingly, the bill of lading is an important document used to register, preserve and transport goods according to a few special conditions in exchange for a pre-agreed sum of money. It also reserves the right of the shipper of the good to obtain it upon its arrival to the required destination.

It is worth noting that the bill of lading has multiple types, varying with the type of commodity transported and the method of transport. It also includes extremely important data regarding the commodity agreed to be shipped from one place to another to ensure that it is delivered on the agreed upon date and in the same condition in which it was received.

What is a bill of lading?

A bill of lading is an official document or legal document that contains terms and conditions that regulate the process of transporting a commodity from one place to another by recording its detailed data, as well as the data of the sender and recipient, and the date and place of delivery so that the process is completed accurately and efficiently. Every commodity purchased from outside Saudi Arabia, and the buyer needs to bring it into Saudi Arabia, or vice versa, will need a shipping company to undertake this process, while specifying a reliable recipient from within the country.

The importance of the bill of lading

بوليصة الشحن

Although the bill of lading is considered a legal document binding the shipping company to deliver the goods transported through it to the person or entity designated as the recipient, it has other aspects that show that its importance goes beyond that, and among these aspects are the following:

Importance Its importance to the supplier Its importance to the importer
Follow the item It helps the sender know when the carrier carrying the commodity departed and when it reaches its destination. It contributes to facilitating the tracking of the item by specifying the date of its delivery to the shipping company, and the date of its arrival to the recipient.
Save time and money The supplier can easily bring goods into the Kingdom without having to travel back and forth. The importer receives the goods he ordered without having to leave his country, in exchange for a small amount.
Goods condition The document describes the condition of the goods in detail, making it easier to identify and confirm the recipient, and the sender is informed of these details to follow up on their delivery. When the recipient is informed of the arrival of his shipment, he can receive it immediately by signing the document, after verifying the mentioned specifications and their conformity with reality.
Complete information Bill data is not complete without the supplier’s information, especially his full name, phone number, address, and national ID number. The importer’s data is essential in the bill of lading to ensure that it is delivered to the intended person on time.
Judicial procedures If any defect occurs when the item is delivered, the document is considered an official document submitted to the judiciary. The bill of lading preserves the recipient’s right and he can hand it over to the judiciary if the goods are damaged or lost during the trip or otherwise.

Bill of lading form

When you see an official model of a freight bill of lading, you notice that it contains detailed data for the goods that were issued for it. We explain to you the details of the contents of the bill of lading as follows:

  • A detailed description of the commodity being transported, in terms of its nature, size, weight, and other data related to the commodity.
  • Information about the sender or shipper, including their full name and address.
  • Recipient data.
  • The account number under which the goods were purchased, along with the value of the goods being transferred.
  • The type of packaging that was used for the item, and the container or warehouse number in which it was placed.
  • Information about the line that the commodity travels according to the means of transportation, whether it is a ship, plane, or otherwise.
  • The port or airport where the carrier docks and the goods are delivered, along with expected arrival times.
  • Details of the delivery invoice, whether it has been paid or not, along with the date of payment made or due.

You can download the bill of lading form in Arabic and English from here.

Types of bills of lading

Types of bills of lading
Types of bills of lading

The bill of lading is classified into different types according to the method of transport, or according to the entity to which the service is provided, or according to the purpose of its use. If you are transporting your goods on board an airplane, the bill of lading differs in its design and the type of data included in it from transporting the goods on a ship or train. In these cases, their classifications are divided into the following:

Combined Bill of Lading:

It is issued for goods that more than one carrier is used to deliver, but it is issued in cases where the goods must be transported to distant places, provided that the supplier bears full responsibility for the costs, and also bears the legal obstacles associated with transporting the goods to that destination.

Sea waybill:

It is the official document that is filled with data on the goods that are transported on a ship that transports it from one country to another. When you export your goods by sea, you use a policy of the following types:

Straight bill of lading:

It is issued immediately upon payment of the price of the transported goods, although this document is often issued when payment for the transportation process is delayed until after delivery. Although it is one of the most common forms of the bill of lading, this type of document has limited mobility. It is directed to the recipient only, while the customs official becomes merely an amount upon the arrival of the shipment so that the recipient comes to receive it.

Bearer bill of lading:

An open-delivery bill, meaning that its ownership can be transferred from the recipient to a person who has been given the document and authorized to receive it. As long as the recipient presents his copy of the policy, the company will deliver the goods to him. It is a type suitable for goods that are sold more than once, so there are no strong restrictions on their delivery.

Electronic bill of lading:

It is what you obtain online as part of the digital transformation program. It is accepted as an official, certified receipt proving ownership of the shipment and is characterized by the ability to send it to any destination quickly via the Internet.

Express bill of lading:

It is one of the fastest shipping policies in terms of completing procedures, as it depends on delivering the shipment to a person trusted by the supplier, who pays the price of the goods and the cost of transportation, so that it is quickly delivered to him once his person is verified.

Air waybill:

It is used when transporting goods on board an aircraft. This type of document is of limited circulation, and the goods registered on it can only be delivered to the recipient himself or to the customs clearance person.

Land bill of lading:

It is the document that is issued when transporting goods over short distances, and the transport here is only by land, and it has several types, including:

Standard waybill:

Of the documents extracted for goods transported by land subject to controls and conditions related to land transportation operations, they have been called unified because they follow the same provisions on a wide land scale.

Handwritten bill of lading:

A document whose details are filled out by the delivery truck driver, and this is done when he receives the goods from their sender. It is often used when transporting land and air, and also in transporting goods locally.

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We have provided you with the details of the bill of lading, its types, and its importance, so that you can benefit from it properly, as it is the only guarantee of receipt of the goods that were supplied to you from abroad, or under which products are exported abroad. As long as you are able to use it correctly, you will be able to maintain your right to receive your shipment in the condition in which you delivered it, which means that you save your effort, money and time, and at the same time you are able to import and export goods to enhance your business and improve its circulation. We advise you to try Qoyod for free for 14 days, as it is the best accounting program for customs and taxes, and with it you will be able to take full advantage of all types of bills of lading, and protect your shipments from any unexpected emergency.

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