What are the chief functions of a bill of lading?

Any original bill of lading (as opposed to a copy Bill) is: (1) a receipt for goods (received by the carrier at a terminal or loaded on board, depending on what is stated); (2) a document of title (i. e. evidence of ownership of the goods it describes); and (3) good evidence of a contract between the shipper and the carrier.

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How does a bill of lading function as good evidence of a contract?

In what trades are bills of lading used, and why?