Auditing Bills of Lading: Ensuring Accuracy in Freight Transactions

Auditing bill of lading

If you want to ensure accuracy in your freight transactions, few tools besides auditing bills of lading can do the job. On the surface, freight transactions are simple enough. They involve the transportation and transfer of goods between parties. However, on a deeper level, freight transactions involve a series of activities that ensure the exchange and delivery of goods. Of course, it is always for a reward or cost. 

As simple as these activities seem, rate quotes, documentation, transportation, collection and packing, delivery, and payment introduce complexities to the freight transaction. Suddenly, the once simple process becomes very complicated. This is where auditing bills of lading comes into play. It is a receipt that helps reduce errors and fraudulent activities in any freight transaction.

At Gemini Shippers, we pride ourselves on ensuring stable prices, smooth operations, and easier access to players in the freight and shipping industry. However, we also audit the bill of lading documents to ensure you get the best value for money in your freight transaction. This article will explore why it is such a necessary document and how to use it to ensure accuracy in your freight transaction.

Why is Auditing the Bill of Lading Essential for Accuracy in Freight Transactions?

Although it is a receipt, the bill of lading holds all the information about the freight transaction. This includes information like the cargo’s origin, destination, type, and condition every step of the way. Here is why that is important:

Ensures Compliance

The bill of lading is a legal document that lists the terms and conditions for each participant in the transaction. This document provides the legal framework for the shipment transaction and enhances contractual compliance from all parties, making regulatory compliance easier.

Cost Mitigation

This is one of the primary functions of the bill of lading. When appropriately audited, it can help you find discrepancies in the rates/charges agreed upon before shipping. One of our primary services at Gemini Shippers is assisting our members in auditing the rates/charges on the bill of lading. At Gemini, we also handle requesting corrections from the ocean carriers. This way our members do not have to stress about financial discrepancies like erroneous charges or incorrect application of rates. In turn, it helps avoid overpayment, and since we manage the entire refund process, a seamless and stress-free process experience.

Enhances Claim Resolution and Payment Processing

The bill of lading contains information on the details and condition of the goods at each stage of the shipping process. This allows claims to be resolved smoothly. It also contains the payment conditions, ensuring payments are processed efficiently and when due.

How to Audit the Bill of Lading in Freight Transactions

Although auditing the bill of lading is important, it is quite challenging to work on in-house. The trick to getting it right is to follow a set of guidelines that work. Here is how we get it done at Gemini Shippers:

Understand the Bill of Lading

Freight transactions vary, and the bill of lading can only be unique to a singular freight transaction. Therefore, before you begin auditing, you must understand the bill of lading in view. To understand it, study the cargo and its attributes and review the industry standards to ensure what is said is correct. When you finish this process, you will have a much better time with the auditing process. There’s one caveat, though. The key to understanding the bill of lading is to ensure you gather and review all the necessary documentation.

Verify the Details of the Transaction and the Bill of Lading

Even if you understand the bill of lading, you will have difficulty effectively auditing it if you do not verify the details in the document. For all you know, you might have been given the wrong bill of lading, or your copy might not resonate with the other party’s. Auditing the bill of lading begins with consulting all parties involved in the transaction and then comparing the details on the bill of lading with those of the purchase order and sales contract.

Standardize the Auditing Process

When you have a system in place, it guarantees a clear and consistent auditing process. Standardizing the auditing process ensures everyone involved with the bill of lading knows what to do to ensure proper auditing is carried out. This usually entails effective recordkeeping, document verification, and timing of the audit process. You should do it as soon as possible to tackle any potential issues or resolutions immediately. Standardizing the entire auditing process makes the experience smooth, quick, and, most importantly, very effective.

Invest In Technology – Automation!

Technology is all the rage. It has also been effective and reliable in various logistics and supply chain operations. You can enjoy the same when auditing the bill of lading. The process is typically stressful and time-consuming. However, with Gemini’s automated technology, that all goes away. This is true whether it is an electronic bill of lading or paper-based. Leveraging technology in the auditing process streamlines the operation and makes it much more effective.

Scrutinize Freight Charges and Examine Notes on Cargo Condition

One of the most common errors on the bill of lading are changes with the freight charges or application of erroneous charges that have nothing to do with the freight transaction. This is why ensuring the charges stated on the bill of lading align with those initially agreed upon is essential. When scrutinizing and examining the notes on the condition of the cargo, you will want to check for and understand any hidden charges that spring up. You can also lay claims to compensation if the cargo’s condition is hampered. However, the extent of compensation will depend significantly on the terms agreed upon before shipping commenced.

How Gemini Shippers Can Help with Auditing Bills of Lading

We are an association of shippers, aiming to ensure our members have the best shipping experience. For us, this includes reduced operational costs, seamless experience, and the ability to catch and request changes when required. To get it done properly, we go beyond the basic checks. We compare bill of lading details to our simplified contract terms, verify Incoterms, align with agreements, and all in an automated process. 

At Gemini Shippers, we are meticulous and make sure our members do not lose money under our watch. Our bill of lading auditing system is designed to minimize errors and risks. It also ensures all parties are on the same page for a smooth transaction. Join now to get started as a member of Gemini Shippers.