Bill Of Lading, a commercial instrument, signed by the master of a ship as the receipt for cargo to be conveyed as freight. This document specifies the goods, the ship, the consignor and consignee, the price, and the port of delivery, with such other particulars as may be requisite. It stipulates for their safe delivery, and constitutes the contract between the shipper and the ship owner. It is generally signed in duplicate, the two parts of which are transmitted to the consignee by different channels. Certain exceptions are usually mentioned, against which the carrier does not guarantee the goods, as the acts of God, enemies in time of war, fire, and the accidents of navigation. The goods are usually deliverable to consignees or their order, sometimes to the order of the shipper, upon payment of freight, as mentioned, primage, and average. Primage is a perquisite to the master - a small percentage on the freight. Average is the share in certain small expenses of the ship - pilotage, towage, harbor dues, etc. The bill of lading is assignable, and transfers the ownership of the goods, subject to the shipper's right of stoppage in transitu. Accordingly, the assignee can maintain an action for recovery of the goods from the carrier.
The master's contract is complete on delivery of the goods, in good order, at the usual place of delivery of the port, and upon notice given thereof to the consignee, unless there be any particular stipulation as to the mode of delivery.