What is the Bill of Lading Number?
The bill lading number is a unique alphanumeric code used to identify a legal bill of lading (BL) and the shipment it denotes. Also referred to as a BL number, it consists of four alphabets followed by an 8, 10, or 12-digit code. Once a BL number is issued, shipping companies cannot use it for another bill of lading for the next five years.
Significance of Bill of Lading Number in an E-commerce Shipping and Delivery
Bill of lading is crucial for shipment identification, especially for carriers dealing with bulk shipments. A BL number allows a company to keep track of these legal documents.
- Fraud verification: A bill of lading can be duplicated to acquire a shipment. Therefore, these BL numbers are assigned to mitigate such an issue. It helps shipping companies to ensure the safety of a shipment during transit.
- Faster verification: Shipments are identified through a bill of lading, and a BL is placed through its number. These numbers are stored in a centralized system, which allows intermediate carriers to get hold of the bill of lading without a time-consuming manual search.
Prerequisites of Bill of Lading Number and How It Works
The assignment procedure for a bill of lading number is dictated by two major requirements listed below.
- The bill of lading number should have four alphabets at the start, with 8,10, or 12 digits, succeeding it.
- It should not match any bill of lading number issued within the last five years.
A bill of lading is issued with the necessary details, followed by the addition of a unique bill of lading number. Subsequently, it is used to identify the mentioned document by various carriers.
Use Case with Bill of Lading Number
A seller partnered with a shipping company named XYZ to deliver a product to Phuket. Based on the product and its destination, a bill of lading was printed out, highlighting all the necessary information. Subsequently, a bill of lading number “XYZO12345678” was used to identify the new document.