|During the moving process, there is likely to be a lot of paperwork for you to read, fill out, and sign. Perhaps the most important document is the bill of lading. The bill of lading serves as the contract between you and your mover and lays out all of the terms and conditions of the move. Since most people have never even heard of a bill of lading until they move, let's take a closer look.
What is the bill of lading?
The bill of lading is a legal document ensuring that a shipment of household goods will be picked up, transported, and received at the new home. It is issued by the moving company to the customer and includes all the important details of the move. For instance, if your goods are being transported by ship for an international move, the bill of lading will include the name, condition, and other information about 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 being carried legally and according to a binding contract. Additionally, the bill of lading serves as the receipt proving that your shipment has been delivered to your home in good condition.
Did You Know?
The very first bill of lading appeared in Florence, Italy in 1526. Similar to how the bill of lading is used today, it was developed as a way of registering shipments for maritime trade.
Dissecting the bill
Below is a copy of a standard bill of lading. To find out what each item means and how your mover will fill the form out, look up each number on the accompanying list.
1. Name and address of shipper (the customer)
12. Identification number of the vehicle transporting the goods
2. City and state of the origin
3. Date goods will be picked up
4. Method of transportation
5. Unique shipment number
6. The Name of the carrier (the moving company)
7. The agent's number, if applicable
8. Name of the person receiving the shipment
9. Address of the destination
10. The route the moving company will take (can also include specific docks and warehouses used along the way)
11. Name of the company delivering the goods, if different from the one that picks up the goods
13. The number of packages per item
14. A description of each item, noting the type of packaging and any special handling instructions
15. The total weight of each item
16. The class rate of each item according to Uniform Freight Classification or National Motor Freight Classification
17. Statement indicating the shipper is ultimately liable for freight charges, even when the shipment is sent on a collect basis to the consignee
18. Acknowledges whether the cost is prepaid or whether the carrier will collect payment upon delivery
19. Any amount of money received by the shipper in advance
20. Includes any advanced charges
21. This is where the total charges go
22. The declared value of the shipment
23. The company name of the shipper
24. The signature of the shipper's agent
25. The signature of the carrier's agent
26. The permanent address of the shipper, which can be the same as field 1
27. If shipping hazardous materials, a member of the Department of Transportation would have to sign here