What is a Blind Shipment?
A blind shipment is an instance when a consignee (receiver of the cargo) involved in a shipment is unaware of who the shipper or the seller is. This type of shipment is usually requested by a distributor who wants to avoid going through additional distribution channels and wants the goods to be shipped directly to the retailer. This is a means to conceal if a product or item was shipped from third party vendors.
As a result of blind shipment, the third-party vendor’s information is removed from the shipping label and later replaced with the seller’s information, thus making the customer “blind” to where their order comes from and many other details about it.
Why do shippers or consignees choose to ship blind?
Most of the time blind shipments happen because they are requested by distributors who want their suppliers; manufacturers or importers, to drop ship directly to their customers. In such cases, customers who order from this distributor assume that the product ships from the distributor, versus a third-party manufacturer or shipper. The distributor’s information may be left blank on the bill of lading, in other cases, it will have the name of the distributor as the shipper.
The reason why the involved parties choose to engage in double-blind shipment is when the third party who orders the shipment wants to protect his or her customers, not wanting the shipper to try to do business directly with the buyer, in a way which will overpass his services.
How do I make my shipment blind?
For a typical blind shipment, you should create two different Bills of Lading. The first will be used by the shipper when picking up the goods. The second will be used by the carrier at the time that it’s being delivered. If the shipper is the blind party, your first BOL will be indicated as the ‘blind’ or ‘dummy’ BOL, and the second one will be considered the ‘real’ BOL.
On the other hand, if the consignee is the blind party, then the first BOL will be considered as the ‘real’ BOL and the second will be considered as the ‘dummy’ or ‘blind’ BOL. Once the shipment has been picked up and is in transit, the carrier will switch the BOLs to make sure that the shipment goes to the correct destination.
** Most carriers request notification in the case that the shipment is blind so that they can make sure to switch the BOLs. Other carriers require documentation to confirm the process.
Do blind shipments have any restrictions?
The short answer, Yes. Some carriers place restrictions on blind shipments to make sure that they bill correctly. In such a case, they accept false names of businesses and incorrect address, and a wrong phone number, however, the city and zip code must be correct. Other carriers only require that the zip code is correct when shipping the goods. Some other carriers allow for the entire address and contact information to be incorrect. All of this depends on the carrier, so it’s important to ask them whenever you’re booking your blind shipments.
What is a double-blind shipment?
In some cases, there are ‘double-blind shipments,’ during which the shipper or seller is unaware of where a shipment is going to be delivered to, likewise, the consignee or the receiver is unaware of where the shipment is coming from.