What is Bill of Lading and What is it Used for?


A bill of lading refers to a receipt being provided to the consignee by the carrier. The receipt encompasses the delineated list of all the goods being shipped. The CBSA or Canada Border Services Agency needs to know what exactly you are carrying in your truck. To ensure all your goods are accounted for and recognized, you need to give a bill of lading and pick a receipt when you are faxing your PARS or Pre Arrival Review System entry to your Clearit importingcustoms broker for.

Why is it needed?

  1. The gist of the standard straight bill of lading is that it is a contract of carriage.
  2. It may encompass the full terms of contract between the consignor and the carrier
  3. It is a receipt signed by the carrier that confirms if the goods match the contract description and have been delivered in a good condition
  4. When accomplished in full, it becomes helpful for the customs broker to match up the commercial paperwork clearance to make sure all the goods have been acknowledged that are aboard the truck. The carrier or the shipper can look after it, but the driver of the very transport company must sign and date the bill of lading once the goods are being kept in the truck.

Why is it important?

Customs purposes need bill of lading because:

  1. Piece count (the total number of skids, boxes, pallets)
  2. Weight (the total weight of the goods listed)
  3. Goods description
  4. Date (of the pick up or export which helps in determining the date for exchange rate)

What commercial documents would you need?

When picking the freight from the shipper, you will be provided with some commercial documents. If they do, always send them to your customs broker along with the bill of lading or pick up receipt. It is essential that you send away all the relevant documents you have to the customs broker. It helps you in making sure that all the necessary documents are kept in place in order to get the goods acknowledged to the customs. If the shipper doesn’t possess any commercial documents, then inform your customs broker as soon as possible so that your documents can be worked upon accordingly.

Usually, a commercial invoice and a bill of lading may do the trick for the customs broker and CBSA to carry the work further. But there will be cases when other documents would be needed like CFIA regulated goods for fresh foods, veggies, and fresh cut, Transport Canada regulated goods for vehicles etc.