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What is a Bill of Lading?

July 14th, 2016 - 3:02 PM

Bill of Lading Definition

A BOL is a contract between a carrier and a shipper for the transportation of goods and is a standard document in the moving industry. Because U-Pack® uses carriers like ABF Freight® to transport household goods, a Bill of Lading is required for each shipment. If you’re moving with U-Pack, the driver will bring a copy of the BOL for you to sign after you’ve loaded the moving equipment and it’s ready for pickup.

bill of lading


Why do I need a Bill of Lading?

The Bill of Lading is one of the most important documents in the shipping industry and has three basic purposes:

  1. It serves as a receipt for the goods being transferred
  2. It proves ownership of the goods
  3. It functions as a contract between you and the carrier

Take a look at the ABF Bill of Lading here.

What’s on a BOL?

For a household move, the Bill of Lading form details your estimated charges and payment terms along with other important information about your move. Because it’s an official freight record, you may also see some terminology that you’re not familiar with. That’s why we also send an easy-to-read Move Plan along with your BOL when you move with U-Pack. It has similar information, but it’s not as technical as the Bill of Lading. We recommend reading both documents so you’re prepared on moving day.

To help you understand some of the terms on a BOL, we’ve defined some common shipping language:

  • Shipping – The person who needs items moved. When you’re using U-Pack, the shipper is you.
  • Consignee – The person who received the shipment (since you’re moving your own belongings, this is also you unless you’re sending items to a friend or family member).
  • Trailer Spot Date – The day your trailer is dropped off at your home for loading. You’ll have up to three business days after the trailer spot date to load your items.
  • Terminal – Also known as the service center. It’s the local office that handles the drop-off and pickup of your moving trailer or container. It’s also where you can load/unload your household goods or store them.

Pro tip: Keep the Move Plan nearby during your move. It has contact information you’ll need to arrange for pickup and delivery. See an example U-Pack Move Plan.

Downloading a Bill of Lading PDF

After you reserve your move, U-Pack will email a copy of your BOL (or send by regular mail if needed). To access it at a later date, or if you misplace the original form, visit the MyMove dashboard to download a copy. You’ll need to enter your U-Pack reference number (the 10 digit combination of letters and numbers at the top of your quote). A link to your Bill of Lading will be on the right-hand side. And like we mentioned above, the driver will bring a copy of your BOL for you to sign at pickup, though we recommend printing an extra copy or two to keep with you during the move.

What else do I use my BOL for?

After your move, the Bill of Lading is still useful because it serves as a receipt. If you’re planning on deducting moving expenses from your taxes, you’ll need a copy. Keep it with your records so it’s easy to find during tax season.

Additional questions?

If you have any questions or concerns about your BOL, we’re here to help! Call a U-Pack consultant at 800-413-4799 or leave a comment below.

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