As your goods move throughout your chosen international shipment line, their legal ownership will shift. This allows responsibility to be placed on the right individual during this time. Because this process is normally much more complex than simply passing a parcel over to the postman, it can be confusing. And, it pays to have a clearer understanding of who has ownership at any given point – especially when things go wrong.

Bill of Lading

In international sea freight, the Bill of Lading acts as a legal document of ownership during movement. During the process, the transportation company (also known as the carrier) will present the document to the shipper which creates a formal agreement. If more than one carrier is used during the shipping process, the document title will pass ownership over until it reaches the end destination. The Bill of Lading also includes information regarding who it is endorsed to, meaning it can only be handed over to the specified individual.

Airway Bill

In air freight, an airway bill (AWB), also known as an air consignment note, is provided as a contract of carriage. It acts as a receipt, creating proof that the goods have been handed over to the transportation company and, in the end, to the designated recipient. Ownership of the goods travels with this document – both when it is in the possession of the carrier and when it reaches the end-user.

Carriage of Goods Contract

During road freight, the carriage of goods contract acts as a legal document allowing the carrier to take ownership of the goods under the instruction of the sender. In some situations, particularly those where payment is made by the recipient, it allows the carrier to have more control over the transaction and ensures the process is completed correctly.

Understanding ownership during international trade is complex. Working with a professional and experienced freight forwarder gives you a considerable edge and minimises the risk of error. They will provide advice on additional insurance or legal protection which strengthens your logistics and prevents mistakes from happening. Here at Radius Warehouse and Logistic Services, we have over 25 years of experience and are here to support your business as you expand your international offering. Get in contact today or request a quote from a member of our experienced team.