How to Receive a Freight Shipment

When a freight carrier delivers freight to your dock, whether LTL or Full Truckload, you should expect to receive the goods intact and in good condition.


Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Sometimes there is visible damage, or the count is over or short. Sometimes there is damage inside the container that is not visible from the outside, referred to as concealed damage.

It is important to take the time to inspect the shipment when it arrives and notate anything that is irregular. Documenting and taking pictures of damage is always helpful if a claim is to be filed with the carrier. Damages and shortages can be costly, so it is in your best interest to report the situation and sign the receiving documents accordingly.


Steps for Receiving Freight:


STEP 1: Anticipate Delivery

Know what is coming and be prepared to unload the freight.

  • Do you have the proper equipment to unload?
  • Is there a dock for delivery, or must freight be delivered to the ground?
  • Can you accommodate a load that is double-stacked?
  • Allow enough time to inspect whatever you’re receiving.


STEP 2: Inspect the Packaging

If there is any visible damage to the outside packaging, take a picture and check out the product inside.


STEP 3: Document Any Damage

Notate the damage or missing items on the POD (Proof of Delivery). Be specific. For example, in the case of a shortage write, “Order Incomplete, 2 of 3 pallets delivered (pallet containing XXX missing)”.

  •  If reasonable, the shipment should be accepted and steps should be taken to minimize the loss. If it is absolutely necessary to refuse a shipment, advise the shipper so they can work with the carrier to avoid further damage or loss.
  • When accepting damaged freight, take pictures and store the entire shipment in a secure spot to facilitate inspection. Retain all the packing material as well. Without all the material for inspection, the carrier may decline your claim in full.
  • Report the damage or loss to the carrier as soon as possible. Claims must be reported within 5 days of delivery and a formal notice of intent to file a claim must be issued.
  • Establishing this procedure as a standard protocol can help avoid additional fees or complicate claim resolution.


STEP 4: Review and Verify

Review the BL (Bill of Lading/ Delivery Receipt) to verify any accessorial being charged. If that service (Lift Gate, Inside Delivery, etc.) was not ordered or rendered, mark the Delivery Receipt / POD accordingly.


STEP 5: Sign and Date

Be sure the driver signs and dates both your copy and the driver’s copy of the Delivery Receipt / POD. Also, print and sign your name clearly on the Delivery Receipt / POD. Be sure to keep a copy of your Delivery Receipt / POD.


Have questions about the right way to receive a freight shipment or what to do if things don’t arrive as they should? CONTACT US today to speak with a shipping specialist. Work with Westgate Global Logistics to minimize complications caused by poor receiving procedures.

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