What is a Bill Of Lading?
A Bill Of Lading is sometimes referred to as a BOL or B/L in the freight industry. A Bill Of Lading is a document used for the sole purpose of shipping freight or cargo from one location to another. A Bill Of Lading will typically be issued by a carrier or your 3PL provider. A BOL will contain critical information about the shipper as well as the consignee. It will also include a description of the type of cargo or freight being shipped with its appropriate NMFC and freight class.
When does a Bill Of Lading have to be used?
A Bill Of Lading must be used each and every time a shipment is tendered to a carrier. If you are using the services of a 3PL it is imperative that the BOL that was issued to you by the 3PL be used. Many times 3PL’s have special agreements with the carrier that require the use of the 3PL’s BOL. If the cargo or freight shipment is tendered to the carrier using the incorrect BOL a carrier can decide to terminate the previously agreed upon rate or at the very least decide to impose fees to make corrections. A BOL must be used with any type of shipment including LTL, Full Truckload, Intermodal or Cross border shipment.
What other use does a Bill Of Lading have?
A BOL can also serve as a legal document to guarantee or secure any debt obligations by the shipper, consignee or carrier. A BOL once signed by the consignee can serve as a POD or proof of delivery. This will promptly guarantee the payment to the carrier or shipper.