What is a Bill of Lading?

Bill-of-LadingWhat 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 being carried. It is issued by a carrier to a shipper of the goods. It is essential that the information contained on the BOL is accurate.

BOL serves three purposes:

1) it is a receipt for the goods shipped;

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

3) it serves as a document of title.

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. An order BOL is one that is consigned to the order of a named party.

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

A 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.

What information is on a BOL?

  • 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 units being shipped
  • Type of packaging (including cartons, pallets, skids, and drums)
  • Note if the shipment contains Department of Transportation hazardous material
  • Description of items being shipped (including the material of manufacture and common name)
  • The NMFC freight classification
  • The exact weight of the shipment
  • The declared value of the goods being shipped

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. It is available online immediately and can be downloaded and emailed. Contact PLS Logistics for a free transportation quote.