In addition to being careful of unexpected charges to watch out for when shipping an LTL load, it is important to keep your BOLs clean and precise so that you are not confusing carriers or being charged incorrectly.
When shipping LTL freight, make sure your BOLs are clean and precise prior to sending them to your shippers. Extra language in the special instructions section of BOLs only causes billing issues. Take a look at the below examples where the BOLs are very busy and not easily readable:
Let’s stop putting so much traffic in the special instructions!
- PU# is fine, but not 3 times
- PU instructions FCFS is not needed and does not protect you or the customer from charges
- If the carrier is delayed due to the shipper you will be charged regardless
- If they can’t get in timely or for another reason they will skip the pick-up
- “No APT needed for LTL shipments” – This is unnecessary information because if the consignee states appointment is needed it will be assessed
- The carrier already assumes appointment is not needed.
- This includes daily routines between consignee and carrier
- If a consignee isn’t always open during regular business hours, some LTL carriers will have that particular address flagged for appointments no matter what we have on the BOL
- Headings: “BOL SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS:” “PICKUP DIRECTIONS” “PICKUP NOTES” “PICKUP INSTRUCTIONS” “DELIVERY INSTRUCTIONS” should be consolidated or removed all together
- Again, “FCFS DELIVERY” is not needed and does not protect you or the customer from charges
- “1000-1600” – By putting hours on the BOL, some carriers may flag the shipment for an appointment because standard LTL operating hours will always be assumed
- If the carrier’s cut time from the terminal is 8am and this consignee is close to the terminal then this should be flagged because they would have to wait 2 hours prior to attempting delivery
- “MUST CALL” – This verbiage may be mistaken for notify or an appointment because some LTL billing clerks may not catch the remaining portion due to the busyness of the BOL
- “No additional accessorial will be approved without prior authorization” – This wording is irrelevant because the carrier will always charge based on their rules tariff and/or contract with the paying party
Now that you have cleaned up your BOL, you can’t stress enough to your customer:
“Make sure this BOL is handed to the carrier so that no additional charges occur!”