Freight Bill of Lading Basics: Freight Bill of Lading Definition and Uses

Learn how a bill of lading is used in domestic freight shipping. Discover what information is needed on a complete bill of lading.

Freight Bill of Lading Basics Video Transcript:

Hey welcome back! I’m Chris Clever with FreightPros.  Today’s topic is on the freight bill of lading.  We get a lot of questions about this, a lot of people are confused about what a bill of lading is.  I thought I’d speak briefly about that, and focus specifically on the domestic bill of lading.  Here at FreightPros we do focus on over the road trucking, whether it be full truckload freight or less than truckload freight, there is a bill of lading moving with all of our freight shipments.  We are required by law for that to happen.

At its core, the freight bill of lading provides information.   It provides information to your carrier or your broker, also information to the consignee or receiver of your goods.  All bills of lading are going to have a shipper address on them, they are going to have a consignee or receiver address on them, and they’ll usually have a bill to address.  In addition to that, any special instructions related to that freight.  It may say something “please deliver freight to the east side loading dock.”  It might say something like “please give notice to Jim at the receiving location at this phone number an hour prior to delivery.”  That type of information that helps get that freight to its final destination.

There are also things related to accessorials.  A common thing on an LTL bill of lading is lift gate required or residential delivery.  That just alerts the carrier that there might be some type of special equipment required or something else they have to do out of the ordinary to best service that delivery.  One other critical piece of information or bits of information on the bill of lading is related to the actual contents of the shipment themselves.  On a full truckload shipment, 44 pallets of molded plastic goods, on an LTL shipment, 2 pallets of polished granite tile.  It generally lists the dimensions, the NMFC, the freight class on an LTL shipment.  

That’s helpful.  When a freight shipment gets delivered, the consignee needs to check that information to make sure that everything that was supposed to be on that shipment or load is here, its all accounted for and there are no shortages.  The other critical thing is to make sure to check for damage.  If someone signs the freight bill of lading free and clear and doesn’t note damage on it, its extremely hard to get any type of insurance claim approved.  Whether its through the carrier or a third party insurer.

One other thing the bill of lading does, and more on the legal end of things, it actually is transferring ownership of those goods from the shipper over to the consignee once they sign for them.

That’s a really quick and dirty explanation of a bill of lading.  There’s a lot more topics on it that you can get much more involved with.  But just wanted to kind of clear the air on what a bill of lading is, what’s necessary and the type of information it provides, and why it goes along with every freight shipments that we move for our customers.

Thanks again for listening to my quick explanation on a bill of lading and feel free to comment in the box below.

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