If an original bill of lading is lost, destroyed or stolen, a new bill generally cannot be obtained unless the original has been found. Instead, the shipper must obtain an order by the court that directs the transport line or carrier to make delivery to the holder of the title of the merchandise. This legal order is based on the issuance of a surety bond that is initiated by the entity claiming the goods for a court-approved amount.
The carrier should also receive a letter of indemnity, which releases the shipping line from liability under the terms of the original outstanding bill. In some instances, the court may also order the shipper to pay reasonable costs as well as attorney's fees to the transport line. Certain carriers accept letters of indemnity if the document has also been signed by a bank that has promised to accept joint liability if the original bills of lading are found.
It is important that the original completed and signed bills of lading remain with the originator at all times until the shipment of the goods are leaving the terminal or when the documents are released to the carrier.
Besides the aforementioned measures, an advertisement should be placed in the press notifying the public of the nullification or loss of the original bill of lading.
By taking all of the foregoing measures, you confirm the loss and protect yourself against any disputes made by either the carrier or the receiver.