A bill of lading is a legal document that follows freight through the entire shipping process. It describes the quantity of what’s being sent, the destination, and other details. When the receiver takes control of the shipment, the bill of lading serves as a receipt. The shipper, carrier, and receiver must all sign (or have an authorized representative sign) the bill of lading. What happens when you deal with a claused bill of lading?
A claused bill of lading happens when you ship goods and the bill of lading shows lesser quantity or damage. This may be due to the sender or shipping company. If the bill of lading deviates from what the receiver expects, they can declare a claused bill of lading. This may also be referred to as a dirty bill of lading or foul bill of lading.
How do you avoid a claused bill of lading? The first step is to ensure that you send what the receiver expects. Communicate ahead of time if there are any changes so that you’re both on the same page. Even if there’s a shortfall in what you’re sending, it’s better to tackle it today before it becomes a problem tomorrow.
The second step is to entrust your cargo to a shipping company you can trust. If someone’s offering a ridiculously low rate that no one else can compete with, chances are your cargo and delivery schedule are at severe risk with them. Costs can be reasonably reduced when managing supply chains over a long period of time, but incredibly low rates for specific shipments are a mirage. Chances are, it’s a company that won’t handle your cargo well or in the timely manner you expect. If you seek to take legal action, they’ll have disappeared with your and many others’ money.
It’s good to develop a relationship with a shipping company you can trust. Make sure they highlight other high-profile shipments on their social media in ways that have been approved by the sender and recipient. This shows they’re publicly accountable and have a history. They should be willing to answer questions you have.
A claused bill of lading can be a headache for you, your shipping company, and your recipient. It can threaten otherwise good relationships you have with customers. The good news is it’s easy to avoid a claused bill of lading. Just communicate and make sure your shipping company is responsible.