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Proof of Delivery (POD) vs Bill of Lading (BOL): What's the Difference?
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Proof of Delivery (POD) vs Bill of Lading (BOL): What's the Difference?

August 26, 2022
Last Updated:
June 4, 2023

Wondering what the difference is between a POD and a BOL? Check out this post for a breakdown of each and when you might use them.

Co-Founder & COO at Cargoflip

Author Prateek Gaur

Table of Contents

When you're shipping goods, there are a lot of documents that you need to keep track of.

Two of the most important documents are the Bill of Lading (BOL) and the Proof of Delivery (POD). As a shipper, it's important to understand the difference between these two documents and ensure that they're filled out correctly.

By understanding the difference between a BOL and POD, you can avoid any shipping mix-ups and ensure that your business is protected.

What is Proof of Delivery (POD)?

Proof of delivery (POD) is a document that that proves that a shipment has been delivered to the recipient. 

POD documents can take various forms, but they typically include the date of delivery, the name and signature of the recipient. PODs are often used in business settings to confirm that goods or services have been received as expected.

Given that 11% of goods are damaged during transit, it's important to have a POD in hand so that you can make a claim with the carrier if necessary.

What Is POD Used For?

  • Confirms that goods or services have been delivered as expected
  • Protects both the sender and the receiver and the delivery provider
  • Ensures that both parties are satisfied with the delivery

What is the Bill of Lading (BOL)?

The Bill of Lading (BOL) is a document that is used to indicate the transferring of goods between a carrier and shipper. 

The Bill of Lading, whether electronic or on paper, contains important information about the transaction, including the names and addresses of the parties involved, the date of the transaction, and a description of the goods being transferred. 

What Is BOL Used For?

  • Represents the contract between the shipper and carrier
  • Gives and proves control of the cargo to different parties along its shipping route
  • As a receipt, which the shipper can use to prove that they have turned over the goods to the carrier
  • As proof of ownership, which the carrier can use to prove that they are in possession of the goods

The Difference Between Proof of Delivery (POD) vs Bill of Lading (BOL)

POD and BOL are both documents that serve different purposes in the shipment process. Although both documents serve a similar purpose, there are some important differences between them.

A BOL is a more comprehensive document that covers the entire shipment process, from pick-up to delivery. A POD is a more specific document that only confirms that the shipment has been delivered to the recipient.

Who Signs The Documents?

The BOL is typically signed by the shipper, carrier, and recipient. The POD is only signed by the recipient.

When Should The Documents Be Signed?

The BOL should be signed at the beginning of the shipment process. The POD should be signed at the end of the shipment process after delivery has been made and the goods have been received by the recipient.

What Information Is Included In The Documents?

The BOL includes information about the entire shipment process, including the names and addresses of the parties involved, the date of the transaction, the shipping company details, freight payment information, and a title and description of the goods being transferred. The POD only includes information about the delivery, such as the recipient's identity, the printed name and address, the tracking number, and, in some cases, a delivery photo.

Protect Your Business

Proof of Delivery (POD) and Bill of Lading (BOL) are two important documents in the shipping process. They both serve different purposes but are critical for protecting your business from loss or damage in transit.

To ensure your shipping documents are stored in a single place and minimize the risk of loss or damage, consider signing up for Cargoflip. Our software makes it effortless to stay on top of your shipping documents and keep your business running smoothly.

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Seamless integration with your existing systems
Streamlined documentation process
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Book a demo and enjoy a free trial. Discover the future of logistics today.