The Push to Standardize Bills of Lading for the Trucking Industry

The trucking industry’s move towards the Digital Age is ongoing, as the technology used is always changing, improving, and trying to meet new breakthroughs. However, the industry is ultimately made of businesses, and whether we are talking about carriers or owner-operators, the freight sector relies on revenue to maintain and grow its operations. To this end, there are groups pushing for new and standardized bills of lading to bring everyone onto the same page, making commerce easier and preventing a loss of funds.

Trucking, Standardization, and the Digital Age

Standardization is nothing new to the trucking industry. After all, invoices for the past century have had staggered payment windows of 30, 60, and even 90 days. As banking and logistics embraced computers, the trucking industry attempted to move away from paper accounting, which is prone to human error. As years progressed, digitization crept into day-to-day operations. Electronic load boards and GPS were introduced to help plan routes efficiently, minimizing human mistakes while still keeping the drivers front and center. Even ELDs were a huge push to bring the trucking industry into some sort of standardization and compliance, logging hours of service and breaks. To a large degree, it was only a logical step to extend these moves toward digitization to include the commerce side of the trucking industry.

Electronic Bills of Lading

Electronic bills of lading, or eBOLs, have been in the works since around 2019. The Digital LTL Council – a division of the National Motor Freight Traffic Association – has been developing a standardized eBOL template that can be used throughout the trucking industry so carriers, owner-operators, shippers, wholesalers, and factoring companies are all speaking the same language, and using the same protocols. By utilizing eBOLs, the trucking industry will be able to reduce accounting errors, avoid disputes with customers who say one thing and then do another, and allow for increased automation, all of which will free up resources that are typically dedicated to chasing down outstanding invoices or payment discrepancies. Additionally, eBOLs could be integrated with blockchain technology to track shipments, verify loads, count damaged or defective goods, and more.

eBOLs and Factoring Services

Up until recently, trucking companies and owner-operators have had to manage cash flow challenges the old-fashioned way. Paper BOLs meant payment would be received in periods of 30, 60, or 90 days. This meant carriers would experience gaps in revenue, with money going to cover payroll, overhead, fuel, and more while waiting on payments. This was highly inefficient, and forced carriers to take out short-term loans to smooth over uneven revenue cycles. If an invoice was left unpaid and ended up in collections, that would add up to 45 more days on top of the original payment period before carriers saw revenue.

Freight bill factoring changed the industry, with Single Point Capital offering comprehensive factoring services and a turnaround on unpaid invoices that would provide funds within a single day. To stay ahead of the curve, we developed our own app, allowing trucking companies and owner-operators to submit BOLs electronically, which made factoring even more efficient. In a sense, we allowed the trucking industry to turn paper bills of lading into electronic documents, even while they were on the road. As the industry becomes standardized with eBOLs, Single Point is still looking to the future to expand our services so carriers and owner-operators can optimize their cash flow, build up capital to grow their businesses, launch their own trucking companies, and more.

Why Wait for Payments?

There are still hurdles to overcome as the Digital LTL Council irons out the details about eBOLs, including getting the trucking industry to adopt them sooner, rather than later. Instead of waiting, trucking companies and owner-operators can take advantage of the benefits of freight bill factoring from Single Point Capital. From turning invoices into cash within a single day to our app that allows drivers to submit invoices from anywhere in the country from their smartphones, Single Point Capital is committed to offering the fasted and most comprehensive factoring services for the trucking industry. To learn more about our freight bill factoring services, reach out to the team at Single Point Capital today.