Freight News

Proof of Delivery vs. Bill of Lading


When it comes to freight shipping, documentation is crucial for every shipment. Whether you are sending a small batch of materials or an entire truckload of products, it is crucial to know which documents are required. The Bill of Lading (BOL) and Proof of Delivery (POD) are two documents that are used for nearly every shipment, so it is crucial to understand the role they serve. That is why the freight and logistics experts at C&D Logistics have compiled some information to compare proof of delivery vs. a bill of lading to help you understand the purpose of each document and their differences.

Learn about 3 crucial considerations for international freight shipping.

Proof of Delivery (POD)

Proof of delivery (POD) is a document signed by the consignee upon receipt of a shipment. The POD plays an important role in the shipping journey. In addition to providing proof that the delivery was successful, it can serve as further evidence in the event of a claim. That is why it is recommended that the consignee takes note of any visible loss or damage to the shipment when signing it.

The POD serves as:

  1. A cargo receipt showing that the shipment has arrived while accounting for the number and condition of the goods.
  2. A title of cargo identifying the intended owner of the shipment.
  3. A legal contract between the carrier and the consignee showing a transfer of responsibility.

What is the POD Used for?

In addition to showing that a shipment has been successfully delivered, the POD is where any damage to a shipment is noted by the consignee and then used later for any insurance claims made against the carrier. Before signing the POD, the consignee should thoroughly examine and document the condition of the shipment while taking photos of visible signs of damage. The consignee should always review each item in the shipment for visible damage, including the packaging and pallet. During the review, it is crucial to take note of any tears, holes, stains, or other damage to the shipment. It is best to do this with the driver of the shipment present and obtain a signature or initials from the driver next to any damage noted to avoid disputes over future claims.

Bill of Lading (BOL)

The bill of lading (BOL) is a document that is required for every shipment. It describes the goods being shipped, their quantity, and their destination, providing valuable insights at a glance. It must accompany the goods on their journey and be signed by the carrier, shipper, and receiver to confirm receipt of the goods and that they were received in acceptable condition. The BOL ensures that a proper declaration has been made to Customs and verifies the piece count, weight, description of goods, and date of pick-up or export.

Much like POD, the BOL serves as:

  1. A receipt for freight services
  2. A contract between shipper and carrier
  3. A document of title

What Does a BOL Include?

The BOL will include details regarding:

  1. Contact information
  2. Purchase order number
  3. Freight class
  4. Description of items
  5. Type of packaging
  6. The pickup date
  7. Hazardous materials
  8. Special instructions

To summarize, the primary difference between a BOL and POD is that the former is used for invoicing reasons while the latter is used for liability reasons, taking the liability off the carrier and onto the receiver.

To learn more about our international freight shipping solutions or to discuss the details of your shipment, get in touch with the team at C&D Logistics. We can be reached through our online contact form and will be happy to answer any questions you may have regarding our services.

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