This is a question one of the regular readers of the blog posed to me the other day..
As you might have read in my previous post http://shippinginsouthafrica.wordpress.com/2008/10/13/article-2-the-documents/ there are many types of bills of lading one would encounter.. While each of the bills have a different ending point, the general ending point would be as explained below..
Generally, when an Original Bill of Lading is issued to the shipper they take 3 Originals.. One might be used for the bank, one might be used to send to the consignee, one might be kept with the shipper.. Whichever way it happens, once ONE of the Originals are surrendered to the shipping line/agent at destination for the release of the cargo, the other two Originals are deemed null and void and are rendered worthless..
It is the responsibility of the shipping line/agent at destination to ensure that the Original bill of lading received is duly discharged.. (please see http://shippinginsouthafrica.wordpress.com/2008/11/17/duly-discharged-bills-of-lading-the-great-debate/)..
What happens to the one duly discharged Original (or could be all 3) that is collected by the shipping line/agent..?? Those Original(s) are generally cancelled by drawing red lines across the area where it has been signed and the words CANCELLED or DISCHARGED is written so that there will be no further misuse or claims of these bills.. The bill is now deemed to be duly discharged..