Lading refers to the cargo carried in a transportation vehicle. The term is most commonly used in maritime contexts, where it refers to the goods and materials loaded onto a ship. Lading can also refer to the act of loading cargo onto a ship or other transportation vessel. Lading is also sometimes referred to as freight or cargo.

Lading includes both the actual goods or materials being transported, as well as any packaging material used to protect those goods during transport. In many cases, lading also includes documentation related to the cargo, such as bills of lading or other shipping documents.

Lading is typically distinguished from the transportation vehicle itself. For example, a ship’s lading would not include the ship itself, even though the ship is necessary for the transport of the cargo. Likewise, the term lading does not generally refer to the fuel or other consumables used by the transportation vehicle during its journey.

Types of lading

There are a few different types of lading that are commonly used in logistics and transportation. These include:

  • Bulk lading: This type of lading refers to unpackaged, loose materials that are transported in a bulk form. Bulk lading is common for materials like grain, coal, and other commodities.
  • Unit lading: This type of lading refers to cargo that is packaged or otherwise unitized, such as containers, pallets, or barrels. Unit lading is often used for manufactured goods or other types of cargo that need to be protected during transport.
  • Breakbulk lading: This type of lading refers to cargo that is neither bulk nor unitized, but falls somewhere in between. Breakbulk lading is common for items like machinery or vehicles that are too large to be unitized, but too small to be considered bulk cargo.


Lading is an important part of the logistics process, as it determines what goods and materials will be transported and how they will be loaded onto the vessel.

  • Proper lading can help ensure that shipments arrive safely and on time.
  • Improper lading may result in delays, damage, or even accidents.

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