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How may a bill of lading function as document of title?

By being a negotiable bill of lading, i. e. one of the set of “originals, made out “to order”, or to the order of a named consignee. 

This enables the bill of lading representing the goods to be passed to a bank or an alternative buyer (perhaps in a chain of buyers) simply by the present title-holder writing the name of the next title-holder (the transferee) on the back of the bill of lading. A negotiable bill of lading is similar to a cloakroom ticket: whoever has possession of it can claim the goods.

 

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