A bill of lading is a document that serves as proof a company or carrier received goods from a shipper. It’s a critical record that our Cleveland warehouse professionals know is essential to demonstrating the chain of custody from shipper to carrier. Beyond simple proof of cargo transfer, it establishes a contract between the two parties for the delivery of the goods to the purchasing party or next carrier. They’re often required for many types of land freight shipments, but can also be mandated for air and sea cargo as well. Failure to properly fill out these forms can be costly.
If you’re considering partnering with a Northeast Ohio warehousing and distribution to a third-party logistics company, it’s important to have a solid understanding of what bills of lading are and how they’re prepared. Chances are, it will be an aspect of your operations you’ll also want to outsource.
What Exactly is in a Bill of Lading (BOL)?
Bills of lading, sometimes called BOL, are nothing new. In fact, they go all the way back to at least the 16th century, when they were routinely used to track ship cargo movements. Back then, it was pretty basic: An inventory check and the signatures of the shipper and carrier.
Today, the general idea is the same, but with all the various modes of transport, warehousing, and distribution (not to mention evolving technology), the particulars are quite a bit more involved.
In recent months, logistics industry watchers have seen demand for warehousing close to major ports surge, driven by the tsunami of e-commerce demand and flood of container imports. That’s made it tougher – and more expensive – to find storage space from New York to Los Angeles. Bloomberg reports these demands are unlikely to abate anytime before next year, at the earliest. The good news is many companies may find solutions in working with Ohio warehousing & distribution firms that are strategically located and connected.
Both logistics service providers and real estate companies were quoted by The Wall Street Journal as saying the fierce competition for warehousing space near port cities has pushed warehouse costs so high that many companies have been compelled to scour neighboring regions (including in the Midwest) to serve shippers’ needs. Northeast Ohio has long been a prime, strategic hub for warehousing and distribution.
The demand for industrial space – inland and around the ports – is likely only to rise in the coming years. Nationally, it’s accelerated the last few years thanks to the rapid rise of e-commerce, which relies more heavily on Ohio warehousing and distribution versus retail space. Storage space rates in some regions have doubled just in the last year. The pandemic exacerbated that trend, and shows no signs of abating.
If your current, in-house Ohio warehousing and distribution practices are already taxing your time and resources, it may be time to take another look at outsourcing with a Cleveland 3PL. “3PL” stands for “third party logistics.” A dedicated 3PL warehousing provider does more than simply give you a place to store your stuff. It offers opportunity for dynamic companies to access a broad range of supply chain & logistics services and expertise.
Inbound and outbound logistics are among the most complicated functions of running any business. Effective warehouse management is essential to these processes. Get it wrong, and you’ll be stuck with low staff morale, poor customer satisfaction and dwindling profit margins. Get it right, and you set your business up for success with reduced losses and delays and improved product flow.
At On Time Delivery & Warehouse, we understand that the best warehouse management and distribution practices include more than just moving and tracking goods. Communication, transparency, honesty, responsiveness and the willingness to always go the extra mile are also imperative. As a third-party logistics (3PL) provider, we wear many hats in order to offer our customers an all-in-one solution.
Efficiency in Cleveland warehousing is essential for a company to thrive. This is especially true when inventory is one of a business’s largest assets – and biggest expenses. But warehousing is a huge undertaking, which is why so many firms outsource this crucial function to third-party logistics teams that specialize in it.
Third-party logistics companies, or 3PLs, work in varying capacities to manage your supply chain. Warehousing is a critical cog in the supply chain wheelhouse, key to the protection, packaging and delivery of your goods from the front end of production to the final consumer destination.
There can be benefit in managing in-house warehousing, but it should be understood it’s a challenging specialty enterprise all its own.