A Bill of Lading (B/L) is one of the most important commercial documents in the whole shipping and freight chain fulfilling 3 functions.
- Evidence of contract of carriage
- Receipt of Goods
- Document of title to the goods
Traditionally (and even currently), the bill of lading, especially a negotiable one is issued as a physical paper document signed and stamped by the carrier, usually as 3 originals.
This bill of lading is then physically couriered to the consignee or receiver at the destination for release.
Depending on how the bill of lading is issued, there are several permutations/combinations in terms of who should endorse a bill of lading for cargo release.