Bills of lading have been known from at least the thirteenth century. At that times shippers (usually the owners of the goods) as a rule accompanied their cargoes on the voyage to destination and bill of lading served only as an invoice of the goods shipped. Later, in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, when larger ships has begun to carry varied cargoes belonging to several shippers this practice gradually came to naught and it became the custom to incorporate the terms of the contract of carriage into bill of lading
M Golodetz & Co Inc v Czarnikow-Rionda Co Inc; (The Galatia)  2 All ER 726 per Donaldson J at pp.740-1:
(g) That the bill of lading was stale, having been issued on 6 April whereas loading of the 200 tonnes was completed on or before 24 March
At first I thought that this was a good point, because this is prima facie a long interval of time and 13 days' delay was held to be fatal in Hansson’s case (Hansson v Hamel & Horley Ltd  AC 36,  All ER Rep 237). However, as counsel for the sellers pointed out, in that case the bill of lading was issued not only after the ship had sailed, but after it had arrived in another country. There is no obligation to issue bills of lading hold by hold. All that is required is that they should be issued within a reasonable time of completing loading. Here the intention was that there should be a single bill of lading covering the whole parcel. This would have been issued on or about 6 April when loading was completed. In the event, the bill of lading was split and both bills were issued on this date. The buyers did not object to the other bill of lading as being stale and I do not think that they can object to this one on this ground. It was issued as soon as reasonably practicable after the completion of the loading of the whole parcel and at or about the time when the ship sailed.