The function of receiving, matching, reviewing, and preparing all the paperwork necessary to effect the shipment of cargo. This includes bills of lading, dock receipts, export declarations, manifests etc.

International transport documents can be divided into three sectors:

1. documents of carriage
2. documents for customs and other regulatory bodies
3. commercial documents

Detailed information on documents (UK) can be found through:

The Institute of Freight Forwarders

Documents of carriage

Bill of lading


A document issued by a carrier or shipper, signed by the captain, agent or owner of a vessel furnishing written evidence regarding receipt of the goods (cargo), the conditions on which transportation is made (contract of carriage) an the engagement to deliver good at the prescribed port of lading. A bill of lading is therefore, both a receipt for merchandise and a contract to deliver it as freight.

It is the central document of carriage for ocean shipment. It provides evidence of the agreed contract of affreightment and carriage; it is a receipt for shipped goods. The title to the goods can be transferred by the endorsement and delivery of the bill of lading.

The possession of a properly completed negotiable bill of lading constitutes an effective control over goods.

• A straight bill of lading indicates that the shipper will deliver the goods to the consignee
• A shipper’s order bill of lading is a title document to the goods, issued to the order of the party, whose endorsement is required to effect its negotiation; it is negotiable.
• A clean bill of lading has no marks on it meaning that goods have been received in good quality and in the convened quantity
• A claused bill is when the... continued on page two >



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