Easy Understanding of Bill of Lading

  • April 12, 2021
  • Blog

Sometime back, we wrote about BoL (Bill of Lading), describing more on HBL (House Bill of Lading) and MBL (Master Bill of Lading). Refer: 
Here, we look at BoL from a more descriptive perspective including why it’s important, it’s content, and how to properly use it for safe shipping and tracking purposes. Let’s start!
What is the Bill of Lading?
A Bill of Lading is a shipping document and has a record of all the items that are being shipped from a supplier to a receiver through a freight forwarder. Using the Bill of Lading the items that arrive at the final destination can be tracked. It also helps to track the location of the shipment at a given point and also helps check the damage, if any has occurred in transit by cross-validating the condition of the items that are shipped from the source destination.
Not only that, the BOL also adds the details with respect to the size, weight, and density of the items for accurate invoicing.
Details on Bill of Lading
A bill of lading provides item details and how they are packed. If there are any hazardous items, the special instructions are mentioned. Apart from that, it also includes:

  •         Names and addresses of the shipper and receiver
  •         Pick up and drop off dates (schedules)
  •         Purchase order numbers
  •         Freight size, weight, and dimensions
  •         Signature space for shipper/Carrier and receiver

Understanding Bill of Lading
Even though a Bill of Lading includes all the basic information, but each company will have a different format and for a few, it becomes a little confusing to read, if one is familiar with only one style of format. Let’s understand what are the sections available in a bill of lading:
Shipment reference number
The shipment reference number is provided to track the shipment and to know where the consignment is headed.
Shipper information: 
All the information related to shippers is available under this column. The shipper’s name, address, and contact information will be added. Also, one can find the purchase order number and scheduled pickup date and time with incoterms, that is, special shipping and handling instructions with regards to payment, pickup, loading, etc.
Consignee information
Similar to shippers, the information related to the consignee is also added to the bill of lading. The consignee’s name, address, and contact details are updated, and also the final destination with the delivery date and time.  Here also, freight codes are given importance for the delivery of goods.
Carrier details
This section will have all the carrier details, which are responsible for transporting goods from the origin point to the destination. It will outline the details of the name, carrier ID, and other information that has to be a part of the section.
Freight details
The shipment descriptions will be added in the freight details section along with the information on how the goods are to be handled and the total cost of the shipment including:

  •         Number of items
  •         Weight of the shipment
  •         Dimensions(height, width, length)
  •         Special handling instructions
  •         Freight class

All details will be provided here that can help a person to handle the shipment easily. 
Declared value
Quite an important area wherein the total cost of the freight will be provided. In case of loss or damage, this section provides support to get compensation for the loss.
Price and Payment
This section defines how much the goods cost to the ship that is, the rate paid to the carrier to transport freight to its final destination.
Signatures and Dates
All parties who are party to the shipment should be able to acknowledge and attest all information provided in the bill of lading. All the people involved in the loading and counting should also sign on the checklist so that they could be contacted in case of any loss or damage.
Creating a flawless bill of lading
It’s important that all the information added on the bill of lading has to be accurate, or in case of loss or damage of goods due to mishandling or late deliveries, it will be difficult to negotiate and get compensation.
 20Cube, a digital logistics provider is a reliable freight forwarder and ensures that bills of lading is made perfectly with all the information updated in the right place. All the cost details are mentioned to avoid confusion during any accident or loss of goods.
With automation, 20Cube’s MyHub platform allows all the stakeholders to update the information accordingly to avoid any errors to creep in.