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Here's How an Electronic Bill of Lading Speeds Up the Shipping Process

What's in this article?
  1. What Is A Bill Of Lading?
  2. Why Is A Bill Of Lading Important?
  3. What Is Detailed On A Bill Of Lading?
  4. What Are The Different Formats Of A Bill Of Lading?
  5. Why Should An Electronic Bill Of Lading Be Used?
  6. How Is Shipping Improved With An Electronic Bill Of Lading?
  7. Challenges For The Electronic Bill Of Lading
  8. Conclusion
Here's How an Electronic Bill of Lading Speeds Up the Shipping Process

When you ship something from one place to another, you're normally required to fill out and sign a 'bill of lading.'

This document lists everything, from what will be shipped and who shipped it to where it went and how long it took.

Paper bills of lading are great, but they come with challenges. They take time to fill, require space to store, and it takes a while to find one that's been archived, making them inefficient.

That's why most businesses these days use electronic bills of lading instead.

An electronic bill of lading works just as well as a paper version, but it's faster, cheaper, and more convenient.

This article will explain how an electronic bill of lading speeds up the shipping process.

What Is a Bill of Lading?

A bill of lading is a legal document, or contract of carriage, required to transport goods from one place to another and is usually required by international shipping companies.

Even in the modern age, some freight forwarders still use paper bills of lading.

Why Is a Bill of Lading Important?

It protects both the shipper and carrier. Without it, there'd be no way to prove when an event occurs during shipping.

For example, if the shipper sends some cargo to the carrier, the shipper needs proof that the cargo was delivered. And the carrier needs proof that the cargo arrived safely.

Without a bill of lading in place, there will be a lack of grounds for either party should something happen to the cargo.

Take two possible situations as an example: if the goods get transported to the wrong location or the number of goods that arrive is less than the amount sent.

The shipper could use the bill of lading as supporting evidence to make claims against the carrier and request compensation.

It also enables all parties to track the shipment.


What Is Detailed on a Bill of Lading?

The bill of lading must provide the following information:

  • Consignor's full name
  • Consignee's full name
  • Place of origin of the goods
  • Destination of the goods
  • Quantity of goods
  • Date of issue
  • Weight and dimensions of the package
  • Description of contents
  • Terms of carriage and insurance coverage

What Are the Different Formats of a Bill of Lading?

There are many different types of bills of lading, including those that cover international shipping, domestic shipping, rail transportation, trucking, air freight, ocean freight, and customs clearance.

Despite the various types, there are three common bills of lading:

Standard form

This form is used for shipping domestically and internationally. It includes information about the shipment, such as the number of packages, names of the shipper and consignee, description of the contents, and the value of the shipment.

International convention bill of lading

This form is designed specifically for international trade or freight shipments. It provides additional information about the shipment, such as the shipment origin and destination, the date of issue, the name of the issuing authority, the terms and conditions of carriage, and the place of delivery.

Customs declaration

This form is used to declare the value of imported merchandise. It includes similar information about the shipment to the standard form, plus it includes the type and quantity of items being imported.

The most common format for bills of lading is the standard form because it is widely accepted across borders. However, there are some exceptions.

For example, the United States uses the International Convention on Bills of Lading instead of the standard form. In addition, Canada uses the Canadian version of the standard form.


Why Should an Electronic Bill of Lading Be Used?

There are two main ways to access an electronic bill of lading: a website and a mobile app. Either method lets you view, print, and download your bill of lading quickly and easily. You can even scan and upload a hard copy bill of lading onto your computer or smartphone.

An electronic bill of lading allows you to save time and money while ensuring that your shipment reaches its destination safely.

Automating the shipping process eliminates the need for manually entering information about each item being sent. It also improves accuracy and increases efficiency.

In addition, you don't have to worry about losing important documents because everything is stored securely in one place.

How Is Shipping Improved with an Electronic Bill Of Lading?

Paper bills of lading take time to prepare and are prone to human error.

If an address or postal code is miswritten without any verification, then there is a risk of the goods not arriving at the right location.

Electronic bills of lading reduce this risk, as a system or software would automatically conduct an online search of the address that had been entered by the shipper and provide confirmation that the address is valid or not.

The electronic software would normally also alert the shipper of any missing information. Typically the shipper would not be able to advance to the next step of the shipping process, such as payment until all of the required information is provided.

Electronic bills of lading can provide real-time updates on the status of your shipment. If the courier's website supports this feature, then a shipper would normally just need to input a tracking code written on the electronic bill of lading into the courier's website.

Challenges for the Electronic Bill of Lading

An electronic bill of lading is used to track goods throughout the supply chain in real-time, making it increasingly popular among businesses. However, there are still challenges to overcome before it becomes the standard.

A few challenges include ensuring compliance with international regulations, managing data security, integrating with existing systems, and creating a seamless customer experience.

Some professional companies are already offering services, such as software solutions, cloud computing, and consulting, to help businesses and corporations integrate the new technology.



The electronic bill of lading has revolutionized shipping processes around the world. From the shipper to the receiver, everyone wins when these are used.

You can transport your goods with A1 Auto Transport without worrying about physical lading bills. Instead, you can create and send electronic bills of lading, which means faster delivery times and lower costs for both parties involved.

Plus, since you have access to real-time tracking information, you can rest assured that your shipment will arrive safely. Best of all, we allow you to manage multiple shipments simultaneously, saving even more time and money.

Visit our website for more information on the bills of lading and arranging shipping!

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Joe Webster always knew the auto transport industry would be a great career option. And with decades of experience, Joe is now an established consultant for A1 Auto Transport.

Joe was born in Santa Cruz, California. During high school, Joe worked as a mechanic; a job continued to work part-time during his bachelor's degree.

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A-1 Auto Transport is a disclosed agent for the following shipping companies:

Trans Global Auto Logistics, Inc.
3401 E Randol Mill Rd
Arlington, TX 76011
NO. 018191NF
CFR Rinkens
15501 Texaco Avenue
Paramount, CA 90723
NO. 013055NF
ABC Worldwide LLC
2840 NW 2nd Ave #105
Boca Raton, FL 33431
NO. 025472F
CSI Logistics
435 Division Street
Elizabeth, NJ 07201
FMC 22206
Intl Cargo
45 Campus Drive
Edison, NJ 08837
NO. 17858N
ShipYourCarNow LLC
1160 South Rogers Circle Suite 1
Boca Raton, FL 33487
NO. 025646
Merco Air & Ocean Cargo, Inc.
6 Fir Way
Cooper City, FL 33026
NO. 021869F
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