Freight shipping has a lot of moving parts, and getting the paperwork done correctly should not be an issue for anyone! Two critical freight documents play an instrumental role no matter what you ship: The Bill of Lading and the Proof of Delivery. We’ll compare Proof of Delivery vs. Bill of Lading and the key facts you need to know about each.
Bill of Lading
The Bill of Lading (BOL) serves as a receipt for services rendered by the carrier. This standard paperwork provides the customer, carrier and driver with all the pertinent information related to shipping costs and transport information. This includes:
- Pickup and delivery locations.
- Consignor, consignee, and driver signatures.
- Shipment weight and measurements.
- Freight class.
- Accessorials/Add-on services.
The BOL essentially operates as a sort of contract between shippers and carriers and facilitates the moving of freight. No matter what you ship or how many times you ship, a detailed BOL will be involved. Knowing how to breakdown your BOL will help you avoid excess charges and ship more efficiently.
The way the process works is either the carrier or your broker will issue the BOL to the shipper (you). You provide the BOL at delivery/pickup, and the carrier then sends the BOL to the receiver at delivery. It is imperative the information on the BOL is accurate because carriers validate the information using high-tech equipment to weigh, measure, and confirm the contents of your cargo. Misinformation on the BOL will lead to any number of billing adjustments post-shipment.
Proof of Delivery
The Proof of Delivery (POD) is a receipt that the consignee signs after delivery of the cargo/shipment. It is the point of the POD is to confirm that the shipment was delivered on time and that there is no damage, including concealed freight damage.
Before signing the POD at delivery, be sure to follow a few crucial steps:
- Take photographs of the item and packaging before it shipped.
- Take photographs of any internal or external damage as it was delivered.
- Thoroughly inspect every inch of the shipment, from external packaging conditions to the integrity of anything inside.
- Report your damage within 2-5 days of delivery and file your official claim with the carrier as soon as possible.
- Provide all shipment details on the Bill of Lading (BOL) or POD.
- Provide contact information for the consignee.
Following this protocol will help you avoid freight damage and loss claims or help you file a successful claim if you do need to actually file a claim.
Get Everything Right with FreightCenter
The BOL and POD are crucial documents in the freight shipping process, so why not let the pros handle them for you? We are a third-party logistics company (3PL) dedicated to giving small business shippers the personalized freight solutions you need and to help manage all your shipping needs in one place.