top of page
  • Writer's pictureCorey Coogan

Your Logo on the Bill of Lading can be Risky

Updated: Aug 15, 2023


November 30th, 2020

Should your 3PL Logo be on the BOL?

For 3PLs and brokers, it’s more important than ever to provide a branded, end-to-end solution to their customers. But how much branding is too much? 3PL and Brokerage solutions are becoming increasingly popular for Shippers, and over time, the line between Carrier and Broker/3PL can become blurry. Everyday we at Logistically talk to 3PLs that want their logo on everything, because branding is good right? The short answer is yes, but it’s important to understand where a logo can actually lead to unnecessary risks that could cost thousands of dollars, eat precious time, and be a colossal hassle.




Adding a Logo to the Bill of Lading can be Risky


Adding a Logo to the Bill of Lading can be Risky



It makes a lot of sense to include a business logo on emails and invoices, but what about a Bill of Lading? While most brokers and 3PLs would assume it’s a great idea to include their logo on all documentation, the BOL is the most “iffy” of places. The main reason for this is that insurance companies who handle freight claims may have a difficult time differentiating between the Carrier and the 3PL/Broker. It’s also not uncommon for certain types of insurance companies to go after a small 3PL, who may be an easier target than the Carrier. For many 3PLs and brokerages, the cost of a legal battle is too high and it may be less expensive to settle no matter how unjust.

What About Legal Protection?

There are laws and structures in place to protect a 3PL for being liable for freight damages. For instance, the Carmack Amendment states that a Carrier is liable for damages or loss incurred during the shipment life cycle, but a broker who only arranges transportation of goods is not liable for those very same damages. While this seems like the perfect safety net, there have been rulings in the past that unfortunately did not swing in the 3PL’s favor. The reason? Most of the time it’s because the broker acted too much like a Carrier; and in many cases, their logo was ever present at the top of the BOL. In essence, the takeaway here is that although there are structures in place intended to protect the 3PL or Broker from freight claims – those structures do not necessarily guarantee such safety.

Expert Advice

We reached out to Jay Jeannotte, Vice President at Falvey Shippers Insurance, to get his thoughts on the subject. The Falvey legal team provided two very important pieces of advice for Brokers and 3PLs:


1. “3PLs would be advised to avoid placing logos on the BOL”


2. “it is imperative for there to be a contract in place between the 3PL and their customer that explicitly outlines the roles and responsibilities of the parties involved”

“A 3PL placing their logo on the BOL could potentially present some risk of liability since courts are the ones that make determinations after the fact as to the duties and responsibilities of parties if a contract is at all vague. For this reason, 3PLs would be advised to avoid placing logos on the BOL. In addition, it is imperative for there to be a contract in place between the 3PL and their customer that explicitly outlines the roles and responsibilities of the parties involved.” – Falvey Shippers Insurance Legal Team


Logistically TMS

With Logistically TMS, brokers and 3PLs can take control of their branding like never before – allowing them to choose whether to include their logo on the BOL, without having to make the choice to reduce branding in other key areas (emails, customer portals, rate confirmations). When all is said and done, brokers and 3PLs are left with a solution that enhances visibility and exposure for their business, without doing so in areas that can ultimately cause harm.

To learn more about how Logistically can help you control your TMS branding, request a demo.


10 views0 comments

Comments


bottom of page