Carriers have to provide an acknowledgment of receiving the commodity for multiple reasons, mainly for customs in case of international trade and for insurance in general. Carriers sign a bill of lading when the cargo has been loaded. Domestic and worldwide trade could not be organized properly without making sure that the payment for the wares has been received on one side and the products have been accepted by the other. This puts the bill of lading on the list of the most necessary records for business and trading.
Bills of lading are generated to serve as:
Bills of lading were initially applied exclusively to shipping at sea, but these legal forms are currently equally applicable to other types of commodity. It makes them very common for trailer or truck deliveries in many countries, including the United States.
There have been attempts to change the widely used name “bill of lading” by introducing another one – “transport document.” At present, the new format has not been accepted widely by shippers and most carriers, though, so we will keep referring to this form as the bill of lading.
There can be variations to the bill of lading form. These are the most common of them:
This kind only proves that the commodity has been received but not necessarily has been loaded yet (such a bill of lading could be modified when the loading happens).
It proves that the commodity has been loaded for shipment.
This kind is used when the shipping is done before the payment (can be used as collateral for debt obligations).
This type is used in cases when the shipping has been paid for in advance.
Worldwide and domestic standards for shipping are guided by different documents and regulations. Many of these regulations include the requirement that the carrier generates a bill of lading containing how many packages have been shipped and what these goods are.
Even though bills of lading were created for international sea shipments, the use of bills of lading is not exclusive to international trade. They are widely used for shipment within the United States, both by water or other vehicles, especially via trucks. The representative of the carrier and the driver (or shipper) sign the bill of lading first, and the representative of the receiver can sign the form when the journey has been made.
Use our form-building software to create a bill of lading for your shipment. Read the following steps and follow our advice when filling out the form, so you should not have any issues. Any variation of the bill of lading could be created in the electronic format, and it would be as valid as paper ones.
Put the date of creating the bill of lading and indicate the page number.
This means that you need to state where the goods are being shipped from. Include the name, the address, and the shipment ID (SID).
Here include the same details, as in the previous section, but for the receiver, with location and the receiver (consignee) number (CID). Pay attention to the FOB boxes. They are needed for indicating whether the liability for the goods has been passed from one party to the other.
Many shippers add an invoice to bill a third party for the delivery. If this applies to your situation, include their details and any special instructions for billing them.
Make sure that the bar code is not covered and is placed correctly.
The trailers should be sealed, and their number, together with the seal number, should be indicated in the bill of lading.
Both of these are assigned to the carrier for their identification and tracking of the goods. There is also space for a bar code.
Here the term “prepaid” refers to when the shipper has the responsibility to pay, and “collect” means that the consignee has the responsibility to pay. Note that you need to check the appropriate box if this is the main bill of lading related to several other bills of lading.
Here provide the numbers, as well as how many packages there are, their weight, whether slip or pallet sheets are used, and any additional information. You will also need to calculate the total number of packages and their total weight in this section.
State the number of units for loading, their type (a pallet or other), and the number and type of packages, as well as their weight and whether there is any hazardous material (see “H.M.” boxes in the form). Describe the commodity and fill out the “LTL only” section if your shipping is less-than-truckload (small freight).
You will need to look up the NMFC code from a codified list. Finally, the consignee will place their stamp in the same section when receiving the cargo. Do not forget to provide the grand total for the LTL freights too.
COD (or Collect on Delivery) amount refers to the amount collected when the shipment has been made. Identify how it has been collected by checking the appropriate box.
The shipper signs the form first to confirm that they acknowledge that the delivery should not occur without all charges paid.
The shipper should then sign and date the form again to confirm that they have provided accurate information in the sections above.
Here tick the box defining the person who has performed each of the actions.
Finally, the carrier should acknowledge that they have received the packages and that the commodity is in good condition.