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What is the Straight Bill of Lading?

10/09/15 by EE Team

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Today’s topic is the Straight Bill of Lading. Why the word Straight. Well, there is actually quite a difference between straight bill of lading and bill of lading (BOL).

A Bill of Lading in general is negotiable. It can have pricing information and lots of other information on the document. It is what the carrier fills out and uses to ship your freight but also bill freight and so on. A straight Bill of Lading is what is used on the trade show floor and that is non-negotiable. All it is transfer of title of your property from the general contractor to a shipping agent that you designate on a bill of lading.

I want to go over what a straight bill of lading is and what it contains. It always will have the below (click here to see form example)

  • Shipment origin
  • Shipment destination
  • Carrier’s name that you will need to put in.
  • A block to prepay or for collect shipment – prepay means “bill to” meaning the carrier will bill you after the shipment is delivered.
  • Address block to take care of all those arrangements – this is not pricing but just tells the carrier that the general contractor is not liable for the cost of the shipment.
  • Number of pieces
  • Description of the Shipment – it is very important to get as much detailed as you can in this section.
  • The general contractor will also have a re-assignment block – one that will say something like send back to warehouse and the other ship via general contractor’s carrier. I always like to put deliver back to warehouse because I can hold the transportation company accountable if they do not show up. They just go to the warehouse and pay the small fee/surcharge of around $15 per 100wt for the general contractor to take it off the floor and take it the local warehouse. So this is just a strategy that you can use but you do have to check one of the boxes.

Now the method of freight that people don’t check a lot is something very important. It talks about motor freight, air freight, van line or other – especially if it is a POV (privately owned vehicle). You will have to specify the carrier method and most importantly the date you need it delivered by. If you are doing 2-day air or vanline freight and you want to make sure that it gets to you by a certain date so you must put that date on the section. You may be thinking that my carrier knows the date but if the freight is forced off the floor, then the general contractor must be able to tell his carrier that the freight needs to get back by a certain date.

I am going to talk a little about forced freight. The general contractor has to get the freight off the show floor if the carrier does not show. An important point I want to bring up is that please be very general when it comes to listing your carrier’s name. For example if you work with a specific carrier like United Vanline Agency, don’t list the agency’s name that you work with but just list United Vanlines. Recently United Van lines and Mayflower are two carriers that have merged together. So if you list United Van lines and a Mayflower truck shows up, the general contractor may get pick about it. So learn a little more about the names of carriers and be more general in your terms.

One other thing I want to tell you is – The National Motor Freight Classification of Freight. Exhibit classes usually have class125 which I really never understood. I have always said class 92 which are computers and monitors, class 110 which makes more sense than 125 is cabinets but also if you have literature or books or something similar shipping on a nice pallet, that should be like class 65 or 50. Lower the number cheaper the rate. So when you are negotiating pricing with a carrier, think about the different national motor freight classifications. Otherwise they will just lump it all in class 125 or class 100 for your freight. It is a little confusing, look up NMFC and it will explain 18 different classes that they put motor freight in to adjust pricing or price things accordingly. It also helps in forced freight as you can ask – How did you classify my freight?

The next thing I want to quickly show you is the Shipping Label. If you put on a shipping label on every piece, it is so easy to work with (click here to see example of shipping label). All that you are saying is that this is the total # of pieces of my shipment and this is #2 of the total number. It helps the people on the show floor when they are taking or locating your freight.

As always, please respond with your questions or comments and let others know about EXHIBITOR LOUNGE.COM. We will see you next week. Until then, I am your host Michael Gray telling you to RELAX in the Exhibitor Lounge.