The mass adoption of eCommerce technologies has added stimulus to the retail industry. With a strong presence in the B2B and B2C environments, digital shopping platforms enjoy many takers. Resultantly, we are witnessing a large-scale and high-volume movement of goods across geographical regions. In this context, the Bill of Lading has become a common feature in all settings.
In this blog, we talk about Bill of Lading in detail and explore ways to automate the same.
So, let's jump right into it:-
A Bill of Lading (abbreviated as BoL, BL, or B/L) is a legally binding document issued by a carrier for a shipper that contains all the details related to the type, quantity, and nature of goods being transported.
As such, it is the document of title for all the goods described in the BOL. It also doubles as a shipment receipt and indicates its place of origin and destination. Furthermore, it also contains all the terms and conditions of the transportation of the goods.
Since it is required to move the freight shipment, the Bill of Lading must accompany the shipment at all times irrespective of the mode of transport.
You can follow a standard template or create a custom BoL. If you were to opt for the latter, make sure that your Bill of Lading contains:
There are no well-defined global policies on who can issue a bill of lading. The prescribed issuing authority varies from country to country, and in some cases, region to region!
Typically, the carrier or the shipping company issues the bill of lading. In some cases, the local regulations may dictate that the issuer be registered with relevant organizations or bodies.
BOL issuance signifies that the freight company is in possession of the goods, and the item is now in the shipment process.
The cargo company may issue a BoL to the seller and request them to fill it out before scheduling the pickup. Alternatively, they may fill it out in your presence.
Here are the steps detailing the process of filling out a BL:
Reading a Bill of Lading is simply interpreting and understanding the elements listed by the shipper. While the positioning may vary from one BL to another, here is an overview of the main sections:
In most cases, the shipment ID/purchase order or any reference number will be available at the top of the BoL.
This section contains the shipper-specific information, such as the company’s name, physical address, contact details. It may also include additional information such as the scheduled pickup date and time, shipping and handling instructions, packaging details, etc.
The consignee section contains details of the final delivery destination. It also includes the receiver’s details such as their name, address, contact details, delivery schedule, etc.
Wherever 3PL logistics partners are involved, the B/L may also contain carrier information such as the carrier name, intermediate shipment reference number, and any such crucial details.
The freight details section adds value to the BOL by covering a wealth of information including (but not limited to):
It is the deemed value of the freight. This information is extremely vital for insurance purposes in case the shipment is lost, damaged, or stolen. The settlement or compensation will be in accordance with the declared value.
The pricing and payment section primarily deals with the cost of transportation of the shipment from source to destination.
All the parties involved in the shipping process must sign and acknowledge their role in collecting, handling, transporting, and delivering the goods. Such a consideration introduces transparency and accountability.
Once you have nailed the basics, creating a foolproof bill of lading becomes a piece of cake. And since the subsequent actions are primarily routine and recurring in nature, automating this process could be a smart move.
DocSumo makes tracking, tracing, and archiving your bills of lading simpler.
With its AI-powered engine, you can create, store, or access BL documents in a span of a few minutes. DocSumo’s ability to unify and standardize the process addresses any issues or discrepancies caused by the involvement of multiple players. It also mitigates any expensive dispatch and invoicing errors.
In today’s dynamic business world, filing and archiving official documents in the digital form makes it handy, and works wonders in the future or in unforeseen circumstances.
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