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Lost original bill of lading

The thought of losing an original bill of lading can be distressing for anyone directly involved in international trade. While there is hope, prevention is better than cure.

What is a bill of lading?

When it comes to international trade, an original bill of lading is one of the most important documents for shippers and consignees. Issued by a carrier, it specifies consignment title and is used to guarantee receipt of goods for importers and payment for exporters. Sometimes abbreviated as B/L or BoL, a bill of lading is a legal document that additionally catalogues contract terms and conditions for the sale and purchase of merchandise.

Lost, destroyed or stolen

An original bill of lading facilitates delivery of goods to the consignee at the destination port. Should the document be lost, destroyed or stolen, there are ways to resolve - though prevention is better than cure. For anyone unfortunate enough to experience the distress of losing the original bill of lading, their consignment may be liable for additional fees and charges (i.e. detention, demurrage, bank guarantee, etc.).

Note: Regional laws, regulations and carrier specific requirements may vary. Please check with your carrier or freight forwarder for further information and assistance.

Safeguard your original bill of lading

The following are a few tips to help protect your original bill of lading from loss.

What to do if an original bill of lading is lost?

Whether it is a simple case of misfiling or the result of something more sinister (i.e. stolen), there are some steps you can take to resolve a missing original bill of lading.
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