What is a Bill of Lading?

What is a Bill of Lading?

If you have ever scheduled freight shipment for LTL or any truck service, you’ve most likely been asked to fill out a bill of lading, or BOL. A bill of lading is a contract between the shipper and the freight carrier for the safe transport of goods to the receiver, who also known as the consignee. The bill of lading is given to the driver upon pickup, and it is best practice to attach a copy to the freight and keep one on file for your records.

You will six pieces of information to properly fill out a Bill of Lading:

  1. The shipper’s address: where the freight will be picked up at.
  2. The consignee’s address: where the freight will be delivered.
  3. Bill To Information: You will also need to identify who is paying for the freight movement. It can be prepaid (paid for by the shipper), collect (collected at the consignee’s delivery sight), or third party, meaning someone other than the shipper or consignee will be paying for it. If you do select third party, you will need to provide the name and address of the paying party.
  4. The carrier: who will be transporting the freight.
  5. The freight details: There details include the number of pieces in your shipment, weight, dimensions (LxWxH), and description of each piece being shipped. You can also add the freight class or NMFC number if you know that information.
  6. Any accessorial services: You may need an additional service to pick up or delivery successfully. There are many accessorial options, but an example would be a delivery to a residential address, which would require a liftgate truck.


Once you have the BOL filled out it will eventually be signed by the shipper, the driver, and the consignee. Remember to always inspect your freight before signing a bill of lading, as when you sign off you are saying all the information is accurate and the freight is in good non-damaged condition.

There are similar documents for air and ocean shipments that contain additional information. If you need any help with a bill of lading contact Ark and we would be glad to help.