Preparing and Understanding Blind Shipments
Imagine that you order a product online. In a few days, the product arrives at your door, but it was shipped from a company you have never heard of — not from the company you originally purchased from.
After some initial confusion, you realize that you now have the original vendor’s information and can go directly to them for (cheaper) future orders. As a consumer, this is great news! But for the seller, they just lost future business.
So how does a seller avoid this problem? That’s where blind shipments come into play.
What is blind shipping?
The meaning of blind shipping is when an LTL shipment in which the identity and address of the shipper or consignee (or both) are hidden from the other party. This is typically done through a third party who books and controls the movement of the freight in order to keep a manufacturer from attempting to do business directly with a distributor’s customer, or vice versa. Blind shipping is sometimes referred to as blind drop shipping.
What is double-blind shipping?
Double-blind shipping is when the identity of both the sender and the receiver are hidden from one another. Double-blind shipping ensures the customer doesn’t go right to the vendor/manufacturer, and that the vendor/manufacturer doesn’t go directly to sell to your customer at a better price. Both of those situations cut out your profit. Double-blind shipping is a way to avoid this.
Why use blind shipments?
The carrier picks your items up right from the vendor, changes the shipping documents, provides tracking information, help clear customs, and deliver customer-direct in just a few days. This offers our customers many benefits such as:
- Cut down shipping timeframes by eliminating the need to ship the item to yourself and then somewhere else.
- Save the hassle of having to remove manufacturer labels, re-label the product, and re-ship the product.
- Take advantage of our discounted pricing due to our relationship with numerous blind shipping carriers.
- Keep customers and supplies blocked from knowing about each other.
Blind shipments present a unique set of challenges for both the shipper and the carrier. Read on to get the facts about preparing blind shipments and learn how to avoid common blind shipping blunders.
How to prepare your blind shipments
To hide the necessary information from the shipper and/or consignee, blind shipments can include up to three separate bills of lading (BOLs):
- A BOL used by the shipper when the freight is picked up
- A BOL given to the consignee at the time of delivery
- A proper BOL with the complete shipping and delivery information, which is given to the carrier when the shipment is booked
Each carrier has a specific way of handling blind shipments, so it’s best to check with them prior to the actual movement of your freight. Some carriers have additional requirements, such as ensuring the correct city and ZIP code are listed on every BOL, or additional paperwork needed to confirm the blind shipment.
Handling multiple BOLs — not to mention any additional paperwork and BOL requirements — can be complicated. Many companies choose to work with a third-party logistics provider (3PL) who can help them through the process. Learn other ways you can benefit from working with a 3PL.
Be aware of additional fees
Blind shipments will often incur additional fees due to their complicated nature and the extra work it takes on the carrier’s part. Remember to account for these additional fees up front so your freight quote is as accurate as possible. Learn other common shipping fees that could affect your final bill.
Avoid potential blind shipment pitfalls
Blind shipments are inherently more complicated than standard freight shipments, which only require one BOL. When multiple BOLs are involved, problems can arise. But not to worry! These complications can be avoided with some careful planning.
When using multiple BOLs, make sure to confirm with the carrier that they have the correct BOL to present to the consignee, as well as the complete pick-up and delivery information for the carrier’s records. Otherwise, the improper BOL may inadvertently be used, resulting in your freight being delivered to the wrong place or alerting the consignee to where the shipment actually came from.
It is fairly standard for carriers to have language in their rules tariff that states they will try their best to fulfill the requirements of the blind shipment, but they will not be responsible for any misrouted freight. More often than not, the carrier will not make adjustments to routing mistakes, so it’s important to give them the necessary information as clearly as possible.
Understanding the ins and outs of your business shipping can be confusing and time consuming. Unishippers’ team of freight shipping experts can help you manage your business’s blind shipments and other shipping logistics. Contact Unishippers today to get started.