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bill of lading

Bill Of Lading

What Does A Bill Of Lading Mean?


A Bill of Lading, or B.O.L., is an official document produced by a carrier to identify cargo being shipped and to acknowledge receipt of same. Originally it was used in international trade primarily on boats for carriage by sea. A boat is often referred to as a ship, hence the term “shipped” to reference cargo being transported.

The word “Bill” is a substitute for invoice. The word “Lading” means “loading” and is derived from both the Old English word hladen and the Dutch lading. It literally means loading cargo on a ship. A “Bill Of Lading” could have just as easily been called “Invoice For Cargo”, and it would be the same thing. A Bill of Lading document arrives with the cargo to officially memorialize the trade deal. It identifies clearly what cargo is being transported and what is expected in return for the service.


How A Bill of Lading Is Used TodayCar Shipping Bill Of Lading


A Bill of Lading is no longer just the provenance of sea transportation. The term has been co-opted or borrowed to include all forms of cargo transportation, such as by air and land. Trucking companies delivering cargo anywhere in the world will undoubtedly produce with it a Bill of Lading, which identifies the goods being transported, the quantity and identifying quality characteristics of the goods. It is transferable from shipper to shipper, if necessary, in order to deliver to the receiver or buyer. The Bill of Lading is proof of transport and the receiver after inspection will sign it upon delivery. Most often both parties will have a signed copy as proof of delivery of cargo.


How Car Transporters Use A B.O.L.


A car shipping Bill Of Lading, or B.O.L., is an official document produced by a carrier to identify the vehicle being shipped and acknowledge receipt of same. That is really no different than any other Bill Of Lading. Substitute the word “vehicle” for “cargo”, and it reads much the same as the standard definition. Here is what a typical car shipping BOL might look like.


Bill of Lading Information
Direct Express Auto Transport Co.
321 San Anselmo Ave – San Anselmo,CA 94960
phone 800-600-3750

Order ID: 723365
Customer Name: Michael R.
Date Assigned: 4/24/2019
Estimated Pickup Date: 4/25/2019
Estimated Delivery Date: 5/3/2019

Year: 2017| Make: Ford | Model: Mustang Coupe | Transport: Open | Operating Condition: Running

Amount Due Driver:

$1,000.00 COD
(Cash or Money Order, At Customer Discretion, Made Payable To Delivery Company)

Date Available To Ship:


Pickup From

Contact Name: Jenny
Address: 5517 Main Street
Vancouver, WA   98686
Location Type: Residential
Phone 1: 555 867 53o9 (Mobile)

Deliver To

Contact Name: Barry
Address: 16 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Location Type: Residential
Phone 1: 555-867-53o9 (Work)

Assigned to Carrier:

Carrier: Coast To Coast Auto Transport  – Phone: 555-867-53o9

By accepting this load, regardless of signature …

1. Must Haul With Flatbed Trailer: Carrier agrees to haul our customer vehicle ON a flatbed or trailer and NOT tow behind the truck.

2. Door-to-Door: Carrier agrees to ship door to door (or as close as possible), not to place this vehicle in a terminal without consent from the customer or broker, and to inform Direct Express Auto Transport and our mutual customer promptly regarding delays in shipping or delivery.

3. Place in Storage: If the customer is unable to accept delivery during the hours of 7am to 9pm, or is otherwise unavailable or unready, then the carrier is instructed to place the vehicle in a reasonably priced storage facility nearby the delivery location (at customer expense) and wait for customer to pay storage facility and carrier’s BOL fee. In advance, we apologize for that inconvenience.

4. No Extra Charges: Carrier agrees not to charge our mutual customer any additional fees (i.e. no fuel surcharge) unless agreed by Direct Express.

5. No Dry Run Fee: Carrier is responsible for calling our mutual customer contacts to VERIFY ALL information. Carrier understands that Direct Express does not pay for dry run fees.

6. Cancellations: Direct Express will refuse to dispatch again to any carrier who habitually cancels loads or fails to notify us with problems regarding pickup or delivery. If for any reason carrier needs to cancel this load, you MUST speak with a LIVE person to properly inform us. If you do not, we will cease doing business with carrier.

7. License/Insurance: Carrier acknowledges that his DOT/MC license is in good standing and that he carries a minimum of $50,000 in cargo insurance. Carrier gives permission to Direct Express Auto Transport to submit an insurance claim to Carrier’s insurance company upon request of our mutual customer.

8. No Third Party: Carrier agrees not to broker this load to any third party and acknowledges that doing so will result in termination of carrier’s working relationship with Direct Express Auto Transport.

9. Soliciting Customer: We send our mutual customers a survey. If we discover that our mutual customer has been solicited by the carrier/driver and told that next time to contact them directly, we will cease dispatching to that carrier.

10. Common Courtesy: Unless requested by the customer, which is unlikely, we consider telephone calls to the customer in the middle of the night exceedingly rude and will cease doing business with that carrier. We expect professional communication and conduct toward customer.

11. More Door-to-Door: This is a door to door service. If we discover that a carrier has intentionally attempted to steer the customer into meeting miles away, we will cease doing business with that carrier. Keep it within the spirit of door-to-door, deliver as close as possible.


A proper Bill of Lading defines what cargo is being shipped and the terms for doing so. It is meant to be concise and clear so that there are no misunderstandings. The above example Bill of Lading does that and more by also dictating terms of conduct for the carrier.

Please don’t hesitate to visit the Direct Express Auto Transport main page to get a quote to ship your car today!

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