What is an inland bill of lading?

An inland BOL acts as both a receipt from the carrier to the shipper and a contract for transportation of goods. Learn more about its benefits, format, and an example in this blog.
What is an inland bill of lading
In international trade, obtaining a bill of lading (BOL) is a crucial step during shipping. A BOL is a contract or proof of shipment between a business and a transportation company. BOL signifies that the shipment has been received by the designated carrier.

What is an inland bill of lading?

Often the first transportation document, an inland bill of lading is an agreement that a shipper and carrier enter into when transporting goods through land. An Inland BOL acts as both a receipt from the carrier to the shipper and a contract for transportation of goods. When the inland carrier takes ownership or picks up the cargo, either parties may draft and sign the receipt1.

How does an inland bill of lading work?

Usually, an inland bill of lading is not sent to the importer, instead it is usually handed over to the carrier, warehouse, packaging business or a similar entity involved. Once an overseas carrier is received, the forwarder or other third party is responsible for assigning the shipment to the carrier. In case of international shipping, the exporter will need to obtain both an inland BOL and an Ocean BOL as Inland bill only covers domestic transportation.

What are the benefits of an inland bill of lading?

Below are some of its benefits2:

Receipt or proof of acceptance

An Inland Bill of Lading provides details on cargo and that the shipment has been delivered. All information on an Inland BOL is verified by the signing of this document. If your shipment was damaged in transportation, you can use this receipt as evidence to file insurance claim.

Checks package delivery

An Inland BOL is used as evidence of the shipment’s contents. Everything about the shipment is listed on the bill – what is being shipped, where is it going, who is paying for the freight, who picked up the shipment and how much does it cost – are listed.

Agreement between shipper and vendor

An Inland BOL functions as a contract between the shipper and the vendor. One of them prepares it and they both sign it.

Lower wait time

A properly filled out Inland BOL reduces delays in shipment and transfer of ownership upon delivery. Having this information checked beforehand will prevent waste of time.

Compensation in the event of claim

It may be difficult for an exporter to file a valid claim for a loss in transit if they do not have the Inland BOL. Also, claims cannot be filed if an Inland BOL contains erroneous (incomplete) facts.

Format and examples of an inland bill of lading

Some of the details included in an inland bill of lading are3:
• Date
• Vehicle and carrier number
• Exporter’s details like address and name
• Importer’s details like address and name
• Description of goods (quantity, weight and rate)
• Freight charges
• Special instructions, if any
Once you have obtained a bill of lading and other required documents for your export business, you can sell internationally from India using e-commerce.

Easy e-commerce exports with Amazon
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As an e-commerce exports program, Amazon Global Selling enables Indian sellers and MSMEs to take their products from India to international marketplaces across 200+ countries and territories. Without having to set up a physical store or warehouse abroad, Amazon’s simple registration process and hassle-free logistics support helps you reach global customers in a seamless manner.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can fill out an Inland Bill of Lading form?
The shipper can fill out an Inland Bill of Lading form.
What are the modes of transport in an Inland Bill of Lading?
The mode of transport in an Inland Bill of Lading includes rail, road or inland waterway until the point when the exporter’s international carrier can load the items onto a ship.
Can I ship internationally with an Inland Bill of Lading?
No, you will need an ocean bill to transport overseas.
Published on October 30, 2022.


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*Map not to scale. The map has been used for design and representational purpose only, it does not depict the geographical boundaries of the country. These do not conform to the external boundaries of India recognized by the Survey of India.

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