A Complete Guide to Understanding the Delivery Document

by Vector | Jun 29, 2021 12:56:03 PM


The delivery document is an order for the delivery of goods. A business owner provides it. A second party delivers the goods to the contact address. This second party is usually a freight carrier service. Another name for a delivery document is delivery order, also called D/O for short.

This short article is a complete guide to understanding the delivery document. We're going to look at what information the delivery document contains and its purpose.

Who Issues the Delivery Document?

The consignee pays for the receipt of the goods. The consignee may be an individual. Or it may be an organization.

This party can be the owner of the goods. Or it may be an agent that's responsible for the transport. This agent works on behalf of the owner.

The document is directed to the logistics, carrier, or trucking company. The consignee directs them to transport the goods to the specified location. The document also mentions who to deliver it to. It directs the carrier to release the cargo to this legal entity.

Now that you know who issues this important piece of paper, let's cover what's in it.

What's in a Delivery Document?

The delivery order contains key information. This details the delivery of a cargo. It outlines the recipient of the goods and their address. The document also directs any specific delivery requirements.

The document outlines the responsibility of the trucking firm to ensure no damage happens to the cargo. It also defines the liabilities. In other words, it explains what will happen if the goods get damaged while in transit. Finally, the documents describe how and when the carrier will release the cargo. Moreover, the order mentions the recipient.

Thus, the delivery document is the final step in the trucking cycle. It marks the end of this contract. The responsibility of the goods has been discharged. So, the delivery task is officially accomplished.

Once the carrier or trucking company completes the delivery, it issues a bill of lading.

Bill of Lading

The bill of lading is a document that acts as written evidence accepting the receipt of goods. It is often abbreviated as BOL or B/L. The transport company or carrier issues it. Usually, the truck driver or transport coordinator signs it.

The bill of lading describes the agreement between the transport company and the shipper. It also defines the conditions and legal responsibilities related to this agreement. This is called the contract of carriage.

The party that's receiving the cargo needs to present the bill of lading. Without it, they cannot receive the goods. For this reason, the BOL clearly states the destination and the legal recipient. This enables the carrier to complete the handover of goods.

What Are the Components of a Delivery Document?

Let's go through each part of a delivery document one by one.

Shipper/Consignor Details:

This is usually the name and contact information of the contractor or supplier. They are the party responsible for the transport and delivery of the cargo. The delivery document provides the name of their legal entity.

In strict legal terms, the consignor is the owner of the goods.The consignor tenders the goods to the carrier for transport. The consignor is the person or entity that's sending the cargo to be delivered. The shipper is the entity that contracts with the carrier for this transport service.

Most of the time, people use the terms consignor and shipper interchangeably to refer to the same person or organization.

As mentioned previously, the consignee is the entity to whom the cargo is being delivered. Usually this is the party that has paid for the goods and is therefore the owner. The delivery document includes the name and address of the consignee.

This is the party that's responsible for the transport. It's usually the trucking or shipping company that delivers the cargo to the consignee.

This is where the carrier picks up the cargo. The job of the carrier to transport the goods starts from here.

The delivery location is usually part of the delivery document. The trucking service is hired to carry the cargo till the destination. At that point, the carrier issues the bill of lading to acknowledge the receipt of goods.

Container Description:
The delivery document contains information about the cargo. It also lists the items to be delivered.

The description also includes details about the weight and size of the container. This is especially important for carrier and trucking firms. Why? Because it helps them prove the conditions in which they received the cargo.

The container description also includes details of packaging. For this reason, it can mention crates, cartons, pallets, and so on.

Reference/Invoice Number:

The document contains the order number. It also mentions the invoice number or cargo identification number. Therefore, this accelerates the process of releasing the correct goods to the right consignee.

Why Does the Delivery Document Exist?

The delivery document is a crucial component in logistics. On one hand, it's the contract between the consignor and carrier for the movement of cargo. On the other hand, it's a receipt for the consignee to receive the cargo. For example, without the delivery order, the consignee can't take ownership of the cargo. So the customs, port authorities, and other organizations won't allow release of the cargo without the delivery document.

But there are many other benefits:

  • It's a quick and simple agreement. The delivery document acts as a contract. It contains the terms under which the transport will be carried out. It's a legal agreement between the three—consignee, consignor, and carrier.
  • The document is also a delivery receipt. The carrier issues the bill of lading (BOL). It does so once the goods are safely delivered. The BOL acts as a proof of delivery. It confirms that the carrier company has successfully completed its job.
  • It allows standardized communication. A delivery order provides common communication. It ensures all involved parties are on the same page. It also provides a standard global process for communicating the delivery and receipt of goods.
  • Using the delivery document increases efficiency. Capturing data at the right stages of logistics is important. The delivery document is one way to do it. It provides transparency to all the parties involved. They constantly know the status of the cargo. This enables lower operational costs. And it improves efficiency, which is always a key factor in the logistics business.
  • It makes business relations and agreements clear. A delivery document builds trust. It clearly defines the delivery details. Thus, this enables better business relationships. When there are clear agreements between parties, there are usually fewer disputes.

Digital Delivery Document

The trucking industry is going digital. More trucking firms are shifting to a completely electronic delivery order process. Digital documents help you save time on paperwork because they're instantly available. Modern truck drivers can access the required documents on their smartphones. Digital documents also help save on the cost of paper.

However, there is a drawback. All stakeholders may not support or accept e-signatures. This trend is changing, though, with e-signatures becoming more widely available.


In summary, the delivery document is a detailed order that a consignee issues. It directs the carrier, which is usually a trucking service, to release the cargo to the delivery party. Also, it contains information about the cargo. And it helps improve clarity and avoid disputes.

This post was written by Aditya Khanduri. Aditya currently handles product and growth at Cryptio.co, and he's also built a couple of B2B products. He's proficient in data analysis with Python and has worked with multiple startups in the blockchain and artificial intelligence sector.

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