Q&A: More On Bills Of Lading

Here is a a little follow up to our post last week on Bills Of Lading. We told you what a Bill Of Lading was, but in practice there are many different types with different specific uses.

Again Robert Nilsop at our South Easton office was full of information on this subject, as he will be for many others.

Q. Why do various motor carriers utilize different bills of lading?

A. Because not all shipments are identical, special circumstances call for different contracts of carriage; for instance, you need to ship 8,000 gallons of isopropylene glycol to a customer. Utilizing 55 gallon drums is both costly and inefficient, more importantly, your customer’s utilizes bulk storage tanks. Solution, utilize a motor carrier specializing in the transportation of bulk liquids in tank semi-trailers.

Q. What are the most commonly utilized specialized bills of lading?

A. Household goods; Bulk [liquid or solids]; Size & Weight (“over-dimensional”]; Livestock; Packages [UPS, FedEx, etc.] are specialized modes of carriage where specialized b.o.l.’s are most frequently utilized.

Q. What are there different bills of lading?

A. Unique circumstances can require specialized shipping contracts. For instance, consider:

Household Goods: Unlike new products, most items of personal proper$ are used. Recognizing the shipper has the obligation to prove “good order and condition at origin and bad order – or nondelivery – at destination, interstate motor common carrier’s of household goods must prepare a physical inventory prior to loading and after unloading at destination. Thus undocumented damage discovered at destination is “automatically” the carrier’s fault. Where items are packed [china, crystal, glassware, lamps. etc.] or prepared from shipment by the carrier’s employees [blanket wrapped furniture], removed from origin premises, loaded onto the carrying conveyance, with the procedure reversed at destination, such ancillary services are not normally performed by general freight carriers. Thus the need for contractual language [tariff and b.o.l.] specifically addressing the specialized/unique issues.

Bulk (liquid or flowable bulk solids): Commercial bakeries order flour by the carload. Transporting individual sacks of product in box cars has given way to transport of product in bulk by rail and motor carriers. In this more, the transporting conveyance is the package. What is the weight of the empty transportation conveyance [tare weight]? what is the gross weight [conveyance + load]? The “net weight” is the weight of product. By recording the tare and gross weight, the weight of product is easily established. If the product is not top loaded by gravity at the shipper’s premises, who is responsible for safely loading the product into the transporting conveyance? Who is responsible for unloading at destination? If pneumatically discharged, whose equipment privides the pressure and who “owns” the discharge hose? The carrier’s service circular and b.o.l. should address these, and other issues.

Size & Weight (heavy & specialized property carriers]: With multi-ton loads being the norm, imposing responsibility for loading and unloading on the carrier would be impractical and costly. As the shipper and receiver have greater knowledge of the loading and unloading requirements, the ICC permitted size & weight motor carriers impose responsibility for loading and unloading on consignor and consignee.

Protective Service: Transporting refrigerated solid products – including frozen products – by mechanical means (“refer”) also permits carriers to transport cargo requiring protection from low temperatures [protect from freezing] as mechanical refrigeration units are reversible – they can supply heated as well as cold air. Where a specialized b.o.l is not used, the face of the bill of lading should show the temperature to be maintained during transportation.

We hope this helps make sense of things. If you have any more questions or think of something you’d like us to cover, ask in the comments or head to Wolpert.com.

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Published in: on October 29, 2009 at 5:10 pm  Leave a Comment  
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