What Is a Bill of Lading (BOL)?


What is Bill of Lading?

A bill of lading (BOL) is a legal document between a shipper of a particular commodity and the carrier detailing the type, quantity, and destination of the goods. The carrier issues the BOL to a shipper of the goods. Additionally, it is essential that the information on the BOL is accurate.

What’s the purpose of a Bill of Lading Form?

1) it is a receipt for the goods;

2) it evidences the contract between the carrier and shipper;

3) it serves as a document of title.

What Are the Types of BOL?

There are two basic types of bills of lading – straight BOL and order BOL. A straight BOL is one where the goods are consigned to a designated party and is not negotiable. Therefore, an order BOL is one that is consigned to the order of a specific party.

It’s an important designation in determining whether the BOL is negotiable. Also, an order BOL is capable of transferring title to the goods covered under it by its delivery or endorsement.

What’s in a BOL?

Ultimately, BOL is the most important document in the shipping industry. It provides all the information that the driver and carrier need to process the freight shipment and invoice it correctly. BOL has the following information:

  • Shipper’s name and address
  • Receiver’s/Consignee’s name and address
  • Purchase Order number or special account numbers used for order tracking
  • Special instructions
  • Date of the shipment
  • Number of shipment units
  • Type of packaging
  • Note if the shipment contains hazardous material
  • Description of items
  • The NMFC freight class
  • The exact weight of the shipment
  • The declared value of the goods

When a customer books a shipment with PLS PRO, our web-based transportation management system, the system automatically generates the BOL based on the shipment details entered during the quoting and booking process. Also, it is available online immediately. So, you can easily download and share it.

Want to learn how to complete a BOL?

Learn our guide on how to complete a bill of lading form!

Subscribe to our blog to get industry insights and stay on top of the latest news!

Get a Quote

Compare the best freight rates from more than 45,000 carriers

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Error Icon
Oops! Something went wrong.