Understanding Moving Paperwork: What is the Bill of Lading?

During the moving process, there is likely to be an abundance of paperwork. Perhaps the most important document of all is the bill of lading. The bill of lading serves as the contract between the consumer and the movers; laying out all of the terms and conditions of the move. The term derives from the verb "to lade" which means to load a cargo onto a ship or other form of transportation.

What is the Bill of Lading?
A bill of lading (also referred to as a BOL, or B/L) is a document issued by a carrier to a shipper, acknowledging that specified goods have been received onboard as cargo for transport to a named place. By law, moving companies are required to prepare a bill of lading for every shipment it transports. The information on the bill of lading is required to be the same information shown on the order for service. The driver who loads the shipment must provide the individual with a copy of the document before loading any furniture. A thorough bill of lading involves the use of at least two different modes of transport from road, rail, air and sea.

The bill of lading includes all the important details of the move. For example, if the goods are transported by ship for an international move, the bill of lading will include the name, condition, and other information concerning the ship that will carry the load. It will also contain the destination of the shipment and the initial cost of the transportation process. The purpose of the bill of lading is to ensure that your goods are carried legally and according to a binding contract. Additionally, the bill of lading serves as the receipt proving that the shipment has been delivered to your home in good condition.

The bill of lading services as the contract between the individual moving and the mover, and is a legal document ensuring that a shipment of household goods are picked up, transported and received at the new home. It is the individual’s responsibility to read the bill of lading before it is accepted, as well as being responsible for any changes made to the service. The bill of lading is an significant document. It is important to keep it in a safe place. The bill of lading should be available until shipment is delivered and all charges are paid.

Order for Service:
Along with the bill of lading, moving companies are required to prepare an order for service on every shipment transported for an individual shipper. Individuals are entitled to a copy of the order for service. Should there be any changes in the dates the individual and the mover agreed the shipment will be picked up or delivered, or any change in the non-binding estimate, the mover may prepare a written change to the order for service. The written change should be attached to the order for service. The individual and the mover must sign the order for service.