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What is the importance of creating an accurate BOL?

Oct 12, 2016

There’s so much information included on a Bill of Lading (BOL). Have you ever wondered why it’s so important for this information to be complete and accurate? Let’s take a look…

Bill of Lading in speach bubble.jpgBelow is a listing of the information that should be included on a BOL and the importance of it being complete and accurate:

Names and addresses of the shipper and receiver (a.k.a.-consignee) – Designates the point where the shipment was picked up (taken into possession by the carrier) and where it needs to be delivered. If either address is incorrect, the shipment could be delayed by the carrier… searching for inaccurate addresses or contacts.

Date of shipment– Indicates the date when the carrier takes possession of the freight shipment. Determines liability and may be important if there is a specific date by which an order is to ship (as referenced in a PO or other agreement).

Number of units in the shipment – indicates how many units are in the shipment when the carrier takes possession and allows the consignee to confirm or note discrepancies when receiving the shipment. This information comes into play during the claims process.

Freight Classification – helps determine freight charges.  Inaccuracy may cause shipment difficulties and additional fees.

Exact weight of the shipment and of each item when there are multiple units in the shipment – Helps determine the shipping costs. May also be used to determine a shortfall at the point of delivery and during a claims process.

Packing type (such as pallets, cartons, skids or drums) – One factor in calculating freight charges, this information determines how your shipment is packed in the truck and how much space it will occupy. This is also helps your consignee confirm receipt or note shortfall on the shipment.

Description of contents of the shipment. This should include the common name of the goods as well as the manufacturing material.—One factor in determining and confirming the Freight Classification as well as how the shipment needs to be handled. If this is not clear you may incur additional fees.

Order tracking mechanisms (such as Purchase Orders or special account numbers) – May help expedite receiving by the consignee and payment by the entity responsible for shipping charges while assisting with other accounting functions.

Special instructions for the carrier. – Ensures proper handling, routing, processing and delivery.

Department of Transportation hazardous materials note, if applicable (There are special rules surrounding this sort of shipment)—demonstrates legal and safety compliance.

Declared value of the shipment.—Important especially in potential claims processing.

Billing Party and Information – Allows smooth processing and prevents change fees.

As you can see there are many different reasons that complete and accurate information is important on your Bill of Lading. When it is, the entire shipping process runs more efficiently and effectively. For assistance and additional information relating to BOL’s, or for help preparing your goods for shipment, contact your representative at American Group or call us at 866-553-6608.