A bill of lading (BOL) contains detailed information concerning cargo that is typically being shipped by plane, truck, boat or train. The name of the shipper, as well as the name of the shipping agent, is often on the top of a bill of lading. Other pertinent information includes such features as the number of pallets the load contains, the type of product that is being shipped and the estimated or exact value of the shipment. Shipment details, such as the name of the company that is transporting the load, the date of shipment, and the trailer, ship or box car number that is carrying the shipment, are usually present on a bill of lading.
When a load of merchandise or freight leaves a warehouse or factory, the owner of the freight has one primary method for proving ownership and tracking the shipment of the product: the bill of lading. This small document lists the specifics of the freight that is being shipped, such as the type of freight, the number of items and the shipper or owner of the freight. The receiver of the freight is also represented on the bill of lading, along with the names of the individuals who loaded the freight and the name of the driver or the driver's company that is moving the freight.
Insurance companies and other agencies must be able to properly track the many types of merchandise that are being shipped all around the world. This task is made possible through the use of a bill of lading. The bill not only shows the exact time that the freight was loaded onto the shipping vehicle, it also documents exactly what time the freight was off-loaded and delivered. The weight of the load, as well as the value of the load, are also documented for logistic and legal reasons.
Special delivery instructions, directions to the delivery address and a (BOL) message are also included on the bill of lading. A BOL message gives specific instructions to the shipper of measures that need to be taken to be sure the freight arrives safely, such as items requiring refrigeration or delicate handling. Comments also address other handling issues, such as strapping the boxes to the pallets to protect the load. There is also a specific location for the receiver and the shipper to describe any broken or damaged items if they are discovered in the load.