Freight transport documents are key elements in the field of international trade. They are legal and commercial instruments that support the movement of goods from their point of origin to their final destination. In this article, we will provide you with a comprehensive guide to freight transport documents, their importance and how they can influence the success of your trade transactions.

What are freight transport documents?

Goods transport documents are a series of vouchers that certify the movement of goods from one place to another. These documents are issued by different actors involved in the supply chain, such as carriers, customs brokers and logistics companies. Their main purpose is to ensure the correct identification and tracking of goods throughout the transport process.

Types of freight transport documents

The following are the most common types of freight transport documents:

Bill of Lading (Bill of Lading)

The bill of lading is one of the most important documents used in marine transport. This document is issued by the carrier and certifies the receipt of the goods and his commitment to deliver them to the agreed destination. In addition, the bill of lading specifies the conditions of carriage, description of the cargo, port of loading and unloading, among other relevant data.

Airway Bill

The waybill is the transport document used in the field of air transport. Like the bill of lading, the waybill details the essential information of the shipment, such as origin, destination, cargo description and conditions of carriage. This document is issued by the airline responsible for the carriage of the goods.

Inland consignment note (CMR)

The road consignment note, also known as CMR (Convention Relative au Contrat de Transport International de Marchandises par Route), is the document used in road transport. This document is issued by the carrier and contains relevant information about the goods transported, such as origin, destination, vehicle details and responsibilities of the parties involved.

Electronic Bill of Lading (e-BL)

The electronic bill of lading is a digitised version of the traditional bill of lading. This document is generated and transmitted electronically, which streamlines logistical processes and reduces the use of paper. The e-BL is supported by technologies such as blockchain, which ensures the security, traceability and authenticity of the information.

Other documents

In addition to those mentioned above, there are other freight transport documents, such as the multimodal bill of lading (MLC), air consignment note (Air Consignment Note) and rail consignment note, used in multimodal transport and in the air and rail sectors, respectively.

Importance of freight tranWsport documents

Freight transport documents play a crucial role in international trade and have various functions and importance, the most important of which are as follows:

Evidence of contract

Goods transport documents are tangible evidence that a contract has been established between the shipper and the carrier. These documents specify the agreed conditions of carriage, such as the type of cargo, the responsibilities of each party and insurance clauses.

Protection of shipper’s and consignee’s rights

Freight transport documents provide protection for both the shipper and the consignee. These documents certify receipt of the goods by the carrier and, in turn, guarantee delivery of the goods to the final consignee. In addition, in the event of claims or disputes, the transport documents can serve as legal proof.

Customs control

Goods transport documents are indispensable for customs control. These documents provide detailed information about the cargo, enabling customs authorities to verify the legality of the transported goods and to apply the corresponding tariffs and regulations.

Traceability and tracking

Using freight transport documents, goods can be tracked and traced throughout their journey. This facilitates logistical control, makes it possible to detect possible deviations or delays, and provides greater visibility and transparency in the supply chain.

Financial security

Goods transport documents, such as the bill of lading, also have a financial value. These documents are used in international trade to support financial transactions, such as paying for goods or obtaining financing through documentary credits.

In short, freight forwarding documents are fundamental to international trade and play a crucial role in the success of logistical operations. From the bill of lading to the inland consignment note, each of these documents has its own importance and specific functions. Their proper handling and compliance with legal and commercial requirements are key elements for the smooth conduct of international trade.

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