There are a lot of things to weigh out when it comes to the BILL OF LADING, but the extra preparation and homework you put into it at the beginning of the freight shipping process will save you time (and sometimes money) in the long run.
How much do you know about the inland bill of lading?
Even though it’s a straight forward form, it’s important to understand it and make sure you’re completing it correctly. After all, it may be the only transportation document you fill out as an EXPORTER.
Below, we’ll walk you through what the bill of lading is, what it does, and four significant reasons to use one.
What is the bill of lading?
This is a legal document issued by a carrier to a shipper that details the quantity, type, weight, origin and destination of the goods being carried. It also serves as a receipt issued by the carrier once a shipment is picked up. The bill of lading is not typically consigned to the foreign buyer of the goods. It is more typically consigned to the freight forwarder, the warehouse, the packaging company, another third party in the process, or the international carrier. If it is not immediately consigned to the international carrier, the forwarder or other third party will need to consign it to the carrier once they are identified. The party responsible for completing it depends on which Incoterm is used for the terms of the sale.
Why You Should Use Bill of Lading
- It’s a receipt for your goods and guarantees you are properly insured.
You need to have a record of what’s included in the shipment, which is what an inland bill of lading provides. The bill of lading describes the items being shipped, where the shipment is going, who’s paying, and how it’s going to get there.
The person who’s picking up the goods signs the bottom of the bill of lading. The signature verifies that what you’re saying is there is actually there. For insurance purposes, it is proof of what’s on board and informs your insurance coverage should your items be damaged in transit.
- Its evidence of a contract for carriage between the exporter and the carrier.
The bill of lading explains all the details about how the goods are going to be shipped so there’s no doubt about who’s in charge of each step.
- It ensures your shipments aren’t delayed.
A correctly completed inland bill of lading eliminates any shipment questions or issues. Any mistakes on your inland bill could delay your shipment or, worse yet, delay you getting paid for your shipment.
- It ensures you get paid for your goods.
More than 10,000 shipping containers are lost annually. Without a correctly completed bill of lading, it is very difficult to get compensated for your loss.
As with most all export documentation, the thing to remember about the bill of lading is that it needs to be completed correctly. It’s important that all your export documentation is consistent. Depending on what you’re exporting, how you’re shipping it, and what documents your shipment requires, you will probably need to complete documents in a different order.