What is bill of lading?

Shipments begin and end with the BOL.

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Bill of lading definition.

The bill of lading is a required document to move a freight shipment. The bill of lading (BOL) works as a receipt of freight services, a contract between a freight carrier and shipper and a document of title. The bill of lading is a legally binding document providing the driver and the carrier all the details needed to process the freight shipment and invoice it correctly.

When you book a shipment with us, the freight bill of lading is automatically generated based on the shipment details entered during the quoting and booking process. The bill of lading should be provided to the carrier on pick up. A copy of it should also be attached to the packaged freight.


Sample freight bill of lading.

Bill of Lading (BOL) Sample

 

What's in a freight bill of lading?

  • Names and addresses: The full names and addresses of both the shipper and receiver (consignee) should be legible and easy to locate on the document. 
  • Purchase orders or special reference numbers: These numbers may be important to your business or a necessary reference in order for freight to be released for pickup or accepted at delivery.  
  • Special instructions: Here is where you will note instructions for the carrier that are not extra service requests like liftgate or delivery notification.
  • Date: This is the pickup day, and it may be needed as a reference to track your freight or when you reconcile shipping invoices. 
  • Description of items: Shippers should note the number of shipping units, the dimensions and weight, as well as information about the material and its makeup. 
  • Packaging type: Note whether you are using cartons, crates, pallets and/or drums when shipping. 
  • NMFC freight class: Freight classes can impact the cost of your shipment. Freight shipments are broken down into 18 classes based on weight, dimensions, density, storage capability, ease of handling, value and liability.
  • Department of Transportation hazardous material designation: Hazardous shipments must be clearly cited and special rules and requirements apply when shipping. 

 

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