What is a Carrier’s Lien?

Part of the Freight Term Glossary


A Carrier’s Lien is a freight carrier‘s right to hold on to cargo until they have received payment for transporting the goods. That right comes from common law and applies to shipments covered by a bill of lading. If there is a problem, and the shipper fails to uphold their promise to pay for the shipment, the carrier’s lien effectively enables them to keep the goods hostage.