Booking in logistics is the act of requesting space and equipment aboard a vessel for cargo which is to be transported. This is a vital step in the shipping process, as the booking cannot be confirmed without a signature from a shipper or its agent. The different types of bookings that can be made include:
- B/L – This stands for “bill of lading.” It is a document given by the shipowner to the shipper, which outlines goods being carried on particular voyage.
- C/B – A Combined Bill of Lading, or C/B, is documentation from both a land carrier and sea carrier working together to transport certain cargo.
- FAS – Free Alongside Ship is another form of validation given by a ship’s captain to a reputable person who wants to confirm he owns the goods that are about to be loaded.
- CPT – Cargo, Protection and Tracking, is a service offered by many international carriers to their customers. It works simply: during shipment of goods, the carrier in question will provide the customer with regular updates on where his cargo is in transit. The shipper can use this information in case he needs to track down his freight if there’s a problem or delay in its delivery.
Booking in logistics also refers to when certain ships are reserved for particular types of cargo by shipping lines. This occurs when there are not enough vessels available at any given time for all cargos seeking transport options. A booking agency takes requests from different shipping companies looking for space aboard ocean vessels they operate, and then they allocate each cargo to a specific vessel.
Booking in logistics is also the first step towards securing transportation for goods. It takes place before any documentation or other shipping processes occur, as it sets into motion the process of getting on board with a carrier and locking down space for cargo. Once this happens, the shipment can continue on its way without worrying about not having room for itself aboard an ocean vessel.
The booking agency is also responsible for communicating with shippers and carriers during the booking process. The agency will do this by making requests to the carrier via email, fax or other online methods of communication, and then relay that information to the shipper after a confirmation has been made.
A booking number is a unique reference number that the booking agency will provide to both the shipper and carrier after a successful booking has been conducted. This number is used to reference all shipping documentation, including the air waybill.