Skip to main content

The Relationship Between Shippers and Carriers

By April 14, 2023January 22nd, 2024No Comments

There are a few key players in the logistics process that ensure freight arrives on time and undamaged to the proper destination – including the shipper and carrier.  Shippers and carriers each play a distinct role in logistics. What are those roles exactly? Well, you’ve come to the right place to find out! Let’s take a closer look at the relationship between shippers and carriers, and discuss their roles in the logistics process. 

Shippers, Sellers, and Carriers

When ordering and shipping freight, shippers are the party that supplies or owns the commodities being shipped. They pack, label, and track the items that are on their way out for delivery. Carriers are the ones in charge of transporting goods for shippers and sellers – and they are responsible for any possible loss of goods during transport. 

Shippers and sellers can be the same entity, but this is not always the case. Sometimes, a business (the seller) will decide to partner with a fulfillment center (the shipper) to ship its products. Shippers and carriers typically work directly with one another to make sure the product is delivered. 

While shippers and carriers work closely together and are responsible for the bulk of the logistics process, there are other important factors that must be considered along the way. Let’s take a look at what they are and why they matter in the logistics process. 

What is a Bill of Lading (BOL)?

BOLs can help us understand the relationship between shippers and carriers in more detail. 

Every shipment has a shipper, carrier, and consignee – and a Bill of Lading (BOL) is the legal agreement between these three parties. The BOL is issued by the carrier and includes the information needed to move a shipment, including the type, quantity, and destination of the freight. In a bill of lading, the parties involved are as follows:


Shippers are defined as the party responsible for preparing and packaging the shipment. They then entrust the shipment to the carrier to be transported. 


Carriers are the entity in a BOL that moves the cargo from the shipper to its predetermined destination. Some examples of carriers that you’ve likely interacted with before include UPS, FedEx, and the United States Postal Service, but also include the hundreds of thousands of truckload and LTL carriers that move freight in the United States. 


Consignees are the party in a bill of lading that receives the shipment. If you have ever ordered something online and had the item shipped to you, then you’ve been a consignee in the logistics process. 

Bills of lading serve three main purposes for shipping freight. First, they acknowledge the receipt of the cargo by the carrier, meaning that it proves the carrier has obtained the shipment from the shipper. Second, it offers evidence of a “contract of carriage”. In other words, it shows the agreement between the shipper and the carrier to transport the cargo. Finally, a BOL provides a “document of title”, or proof of ownership of the goods that were shipped. BOLs detail the relationship of shippers and carriers during the logistics process. 

The UCW Difference 

Logistics can be a tedious job, and keeping up with the multiple parties involved can prove to be quite a  headache. Fortunately, at UCW, we’ve been in the logistics game for quite some time, and we are happy to help you with all of your logistics needs!

Instead of searching high and low for reliable carriers for your products, we work diligently to make sure that your shipments get where they need to go. We work each day to fit all the moving pieces of the logistics process together, so you can focus on your business. 

At UCW, we will treat you with the respect you deserve. We believe that the biggest thing missing from the logistics industry is doing the right thing. Integrity in all that we do is incredibly important, because at the end of the day, we are here for you

To learn more about the UCW difference, and to chat with one of our knowledgeable employees, visit our website or give us a call. We’d be happy to assist you  with your logistics needs!