How to Breakdown the Bill of Lading

by Ann-Ghilianne Laguerre

Even though the freight world is becoming increasingly digital every day, basic shipping paperwork is still an essential part of the process. The Bill of Lading (BOL) is the most crucial document in freight shipping, and knowing its breakdown will help you avoid excess charges and help you ship more efficiently. The BOL must be accurate with all the crossed T’s, and I’s dotted. We walk through what the BOL is, why providing inaccurate information on the BOL can cost you, and how to fill it out correctly. Let’s dive into how to break down your Bill of Lading to get you shipping like a pro.

What Is a Bill of Lading?

The Bill of Lading (BOL) is standard paperwork that provides the customer, carrier, and driver with all the pertinent information related to shipping costs and transport information. A simple breakdown of your bill of lading is below:

– Pickup and delivery locations

– Consignor, consignee, and driver signatures

– Shipment weight and measurements

Freight class

Shipping Accessorials/Add-on services

The BOL is a contract between shippers and carriers and facilitates freight moving. No matter what you ship or how often you ship, a detailed BOL will be involved.

BOL Best Practices

Many shippers make common BOL daily mistakes that cost them hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars. Knowing how to break down and handle your BOL properly makes the shipping process much smoother and saves you money. Use these BOL best practices to keep money in your pocket and to make incorrect paperwork headaches a thing of the past.

– Accuracy is key. When filling out the BOL, be absolutely 100% sure that the information you provide is correct. Carriers measure and weigh freight to a tee when fulfilling their capacity, and they use sophisticated equipment to ensure accuracy. So, no guesstimating dimensions or weight. Be precise! Double, triple, then quadruple check for spelling mistakes and accuracy. Misspellings or inaccurate shipment details will result in a very costly shipment due to billing adjustments after completion.

– Prepare for the elements. Paperwork, from BOLs to shipping labels, is not a great friend of natural ingredients. It’s in the name—Of paperwork! Prepare your paperwork for rain or snow conditions. Laminate shipping labels on shipments, so they can still be read. Nowadays, the BOL is often electronic. This is a safer, more efficient way to handle the BOL.

– Sort out your accessorials. We mentioned earlier accessorials, or add-on freight services, are spelled out on the BOL. This part of the BOL is crucial. Make sure you have all the accessorials you need. Determine which ones are required and which are just luxuries ahead of time. Here’s an example – if you are delivering to a residential location, even if it’s a business operating out of a home, you will need a liftgate because, most likely, the homeowner doesn’t have a forklift around to unload the freight. If an accessorial is necessary during the shipment and not recorded on the BOL, you will receive a billing adjustment post-shipment.

Experience the FreightCenter Difference

For shippers everywhere, using the FreightCenter BOL makes it easier to communicate shipment details to the carrier and all parties involved in the shipping process. Our expert shipping agents can help you get the best-discounted rates in the business, explain accessorial needs, and go over BOL details with you.

Don’t let freight rates, BOL details, and other shipping terms confuse you and hinder shipping success. Let us help! Start shipping all over the U.S. with us today for a free online quote, or call 8007167608.

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