Intermodal Freight Transport

Chapter 15: Intermodal Documentation and Authorizations

Overview

It is a widely recognized fact that in transport operations, and especially in the case of operations that involve cross-border journeys; in other words, international transport journeys, it is essential to get the documentation absolutely right. Failure to do so can result in a whole range of problems that may arise in the way of delays to consignments, penalties being imposed, additional costs incurred, even loads being rejected at the point of delivery. In this context, the term documentation can be taken to include a wide range of commercial documents (such as consignment notes) and legal authorizations (such as community authorizations), and road haulage bilateral- and multilateral-journey permits depending, of course, on the journey destination.

In domestic transport operations, and particularly in domestic road haulage, a whole mishmash of consignment notes of one form or another are used, ranging from printed, multipart, self-copying document sets to hand-scribbled collection and delivery instructions on scraps of paper. In general terms, these are all satisfactory in their own particular way, and are fine when systems are operating without hiccup, but when it comes to tracing consignments and when handling loss or damage claims, scraps of paper are invariably found to be wanting. Such documents, if they can be called that, rarely make consignor instructions clear, delivery instructions are imprecise, other crucial details are omitted or incorrectly recorded, and then trying to determine who, or whose employee, scrawled a signature (if indeed anybody at all signed) for safe receipt of the goods in...

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