A bill of lading is a document issued by a carrier or their agent that acknowledges receipt of cargo for shipment. Today, bills of lading may also be used to acknowledge carriage in any type of transport- not just shipping.
The bill of lading is an important document for international trade, serving three main functions: ensuring payment to the exporter, guaranteeing that importers receive merchandise, and providing evidence in case of disputes.
In ocean shipments, two types of bills of lading are being used. There is the original bill of lading and the express BL—which is also called waybill.
Air shipments use only one type: air waybills (AWB).