Bill of lading: What you need to know.

Bill of Lading FAQ blog post

The bill of lading (BOL) can act as a legally binding document between the carrier and shipper that specifies all of the details needed to process a freight shipment.

In essence, the BOL acts as an invoicing receipt in the shipping world. Since there are a lot of parts to the BOL, we'll highlight some key things you need to know:



This simple step is very important to your shipment, it can impact your rates and transit time, so make sure you're accurate. Include the shipper's and receiver's full names and addresses.


Packaging type.

The BOL should also include a brief description of the packaging type in the shipment - whether it's cartons, crates, pallets and/or drums.


NMFC freight class.

If you are shipping LTL, freight classes may influence the cost of your shipment. The 18 freight classes are based on weight, dimensions, density, storage capability, ease of handling, value and liability.


Description of goods.

You will need to include a description of the shipment with details including: material of manufacture, common name and the exact weight of the shipment.


Special instructions.

If you are shipping hazardous materials or anything requiring special care, you must include specific directions on how to handle these goods during transit.


There are a lot of things to weigh out when it comes to the BOL, but the extra preparation and homework you put into it at the beginning of the freight shipping process will save you time (and sometimes money) in the long run.


We hope you've enjoyed this latest installment of our FAQ freight shipping series and that it helps you better understand the BOL!

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