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What is Disposition in Freight Shipping?

Nov 21, 2016

When you think of the word “disposition” you probably think of a person’s temperament, character or mental attitude. In freight shipping this term means something entirely different. It occurs when a freight delivery is refused by the consignee and returned to the shipping terminal. At that point you will be contacted by the carrier who will be asking for disposition. They may pose the question, “What do you want us to do with this shipment?”

Disposition.jpgWhat causes freight disposition? 

There are many reasons that freight may be refused:

  • Signs of damage – When a freight shipment shows signs of damage the carrier may recommend that the consignee (recipient) refuse the shipment. Signing for a damaged shipment, without proper notation of damages, is acknowledgement that it arrived undamaged.
  • Errors on paperwork – The bill of lading should accurately represent what is being shipped, to whom, at a correct address, who is the billing party, and more. You can learn more about the BOL here. If there is an error on the BOL the shipment may have been delivered to the wrong address or person, for example. 
  • Duplicate shipment – If the consignee has already received their shipment, and this shipment is a duplicate, they will refuse it. This will cause a need for the carrier to request disposition from the shipper.

What you should do about disposition 

When you receive a request from your carrier or broker for shipment disposition, you should act immediately. Delaying your response may cause the carrier to put your shipment into storage, resulting in additional charges. Work with your carrier and consignee to determine the best course of action and resolve the situation as quickly as possible.