How Important is Accuracy on the BOL?


Since the bill of lading is a key document in the freight shipping industry, it is crucial to fill it out correctly. Providing accurate information may seem obvious. Yet many shippers underestimate the role of accuracy when completing the BOL.

Why accuracy is crucial when completing the BOL?

what is bol

It’s important to sign and date the BOL carefully to record the actual BOL date on which the cargo was loaded.

If the’re a wrong BOL  date, there are serious consequences: the company is exposed to claims from cargo interests and the P&I cover might not be available. The BOL is a legal contract and can be used in litigation. If the bill of lading is inaccurate, there are definite consequences.

When do Freight Claims Occur?

Freight claims occur when a bill of lading information does not match the actual service provided or product received. If the BOL indicates that the goods were loaded in good condition, but the consignee receives them damaged, the consignee will be entitled to make a claim for the damage against the carrier. Or, if the bill of lading states there are 100 boxes, but only 75 arrive, the consignee can make a claim for the shortage.

What are the Types of Freight Claims?

  • Limit Liability. The company may lose its right to limit liability for a claim for freight damage or shortage.
  • Lose P&I Cover. P&I cover may not be available for claims in situations where the description of goods isn’t correct.
  • No Indemnity from Charterer. No obligation to sign a bill of lading that wrongly describes the cargo.

Before signing off on the BOL, the receiver should inspect the cargo to ensure that the product is not compromised. Double-check the BOL is accurate compared to the delivery of goods, and verify the accuracy of the cargo description before signing. Any damage or defect should be recorded in detail.

Since the bill of lading is your boarding pass into the freight shipping process, all the information matters. Make sure to thoroughly check all the data on the document to avoid additional charges and claims. Once you know all is clear and concise, you are ready to ship!

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