The Bill of Lading or more commonly know as a “BOL” is the most important document in the shipping industry. The shipped load will be delivered per the BOL instruction. A driver signature on the BOL is what guarantees the responsibility of the load also as proof that the carrier has the load in their possession during transport.
Here are some of the things to look for:
Shipper and Receiver information matches what dispatch has sent out. As well as PO#s signatures and dates. If for whatever reason some of the information does not match. Please call your dispatch to get to the bottom of the situation.
Commodity information. Counts. Weight. Product. Load # and or Carrier info (could sometimes have the broker info.) You want to avoid shortages and overages on loads on the receiver end if possible. If you are expecting a full truckload but only pick up few pallets. This calls for immediate call to dispatch to resolve the situation. Shortages and overages do sometimes happen. Especially once the load is sealed- not much can be done there until reaching the receiver. A lot of times if you do have an OSND at the receiver. It is always encouraged by us to have the receiver put “seal intact” on the BOL. This way carrier is not left to be responsible for shippers mistake. This also helps billing process to go smoothly on the carrier end. This is another reason why the Seal # always should match the Seal # on the BOL as well. All details need to match.
Temperature. Temperature discrepancy is rare however. If you ever are to pick up at 34-degree load but the BOL calls for -10 and or you are told by fellow dock or office employee at the warehouse of a different temp on the load- from what your dispatch calls for. As always please call dispatch to get to the bottom of this discrepancy right away. We all want to make sure you have it in writing- if the warehouse is telling us a different temp from what the BOLS calls for.
Names. If there ever is a BOL discrepancy of any sort. And the shipper approves these changes or tells you its “ok to ship.” You always want to get it in writing if a new BOL is not printed. Always get the names of the people that are telling you of these changes. Inform dispatch who said what. Its all about information. 5-10 days no issues may come of this- however 30-40 days after the load has been delivered sometimes things may come into question.
Its all about details-the more information the BOL has always the better. Please take the time to read it. Make sure it has signatures from all parties. This is our proof of delivery.
An accurate BOL between shipper-carrier-receiver will help all 3 parties avoid having any issues and a smooth transport process. These are some of the pointers to look for when getting a BOL. It is super easy to get comfortable and not look for some of these things. Especially after doing some of the same lanes and dealing with some of the same customers for months or even years in many cases. This is when you want to remind yourself how important the BOL is in our world. Read it. Understand it. Do not lose it.
Thank you Stay safe!