What is blind shipping

Posted On 25th June 2019

What are Blind Shipping and Blind Drop ShippingBlind shipping can get complex and frustrating for many.

There is a fair bit of extra effort involved in the carrier’s part and each carrier can have very specific ways of handling shipment.

Complications can be avoided by following a few simple yet essential rules. Here in this article, we explain all you need to know about blind shipping.

With blind shipment, one can keep the shipping address, or consignee address, hidden. So, the consignee won’t know the shipping address, or the shipper won’t know the consignee address.

The Bill of Lading (BOL) can be altered to conceal the real addresses and addresses are either left blank or redacted.

Blind shipping is very important to some businesses. So it’s good to know what is blind shipping and how to blind ship.

Blind Shipment Definition

Picture it this way — Blind shipment is when one or more parties engaged in the shipment are in the “blind” and cannot know who either the shipper or consignee is.

In most cases, it is middlemen who request blind shipments in order to keep manufacturers or importers from doing business with distributors, wholesalers or retailers directly or vice versa. But it can also be merchandisers who request blind shipping.

Using this method, suppliers, importers or manufacturers, are able to directly ship to customers and those customers will infer that they are buying "direct" from the manufacturer or, at least, that whoever they are buying it from is shipping from their own facility.

Blind shipping is an additional freight service and there are additional charges applicable for keeping your shipment blind. Most blind shipments also require pre-payment.

What Does Blind Shipping Mean

Blind shipping is simply when either the shipper is unaware of who the consignee is, or the consignee is unaware of who the shipper is.

What Does Blind Drop Shipping Mean

The drop-ship business market is in its prime. Drop shipping is the product of our optimized supply chains, where distributors request the manufacturers, importers or third-party vendors to ship the orders directly to the customers. However, without blind shipments, addresses are clearly marked, and the customers would see the addresses and names of the suppliers on the BOL or packaging.

Coming to how to blind drop ship: In case of blind drop shipping, merchandisers can request the manufacturers, third-party vendors or importers to ship the orders directly to the customers and this time addresses remain concealed.

With blind drop shipping, the customer will only see the address for the distributor on the BOL even though the order shipment was fulfilled by the distributor's supplier, or the drop ship business.

How Do I Make My Shipment Blind?

Often, Blind shipments require multiple BOLs. This can make things very complex indeed. Typically, two BOLs are created — one for the shipper and one for the consignee.

If the shipper is the blind party, then the first BOL will be a blind or dummy BOL and the second BOL will be a real one. The shipper will use the blind BOL during pickup.

Alternatively, if the consignee is the blind party, then the first BOL will be a real BOL and the second one will be a dummy BOL. The carrier will switch the BOLs when the shipment is in transit to make sure that it is picked up and delivered to the correct addresses.

Most carriers only require notification that the shipment is blind, however, processes may vary from carrier to carrier. We recommend that you discuss the requirements with your freight broker.

Carriers may request additional paperwork to be filled or can have some specific restrictions regarding the addresses to be entered to ensure accurate billing from their end. These are considerations to keep in mind.

All this brings up the question — Are blind shipments legal? The answer is, yes, absolutely. It is successfully completing the order fulfillment that’s the concern.

Blind Shipping Examples

Blind shipping examplesLet’s illustrate this process with an example that will help make this concept clearer.

In this example, Paul who runs a Cincinnati-based business wants to ship food processing machinery to his customer who is in Seattle. He buys his machinery from a wholesaler located in San Diego and then resells it to his customers at a marked-up price, which is significantly higher than its wholesale rate.

To fulfill the order most cost-effectively Paul decides to request that a shipment be made from his wholesaler in San Diego to his customer in Seattle. He also decides to make the shipment blind, so the customer still thinks that the order arrived from him in Cincinnati rather than his wholesaler.

The freight broker sets up the request with two BOLs. Since in this case, our consignee is blind, the freight broker generates the first BOL as a real BOL and a second dummy BOL.

The real BOL has the correct details and addresses — pickup in San Diego and delivery to Seattle.

Paul gets the real BOL and passes it along to a contact in San Diego where the freight is being picked up. The freight broker contacts the carrier and sets up the pickup from San Diego and delivery in Seattle. The carrier then makes the pickup in San Diego as per the demand.

Once the freight is confirmed as picked up and in transit, the freight broker contacts the carrier and supplies them with the second blind BOL to be used at the time of delivery. In this blind BOL, the shipper's address has been changed to Paul’s address in Cincinnati.

The carrier then confirms that they will use the second blind BOL at the time of delivery. Now, the freight broker will only track the order until its arrival at the customer's address in Seattle. At the time of delivery, the BOL will read that the freight was shipped from Cincinnati when, in reality, it was actually shipped from San Diego.

Double-Blind Shipping Examples

Matters can become extremely complicated in a double-blind when both the pickup as well as the delivery addresses are unknown to anyone other than the third party. The shipper doesn’t know the consignee address. And the consignee doesn’t know the shipper's address.

The third party will choose to ship double-blind when they want to prevent the customers from knowing the details of the supplier and the suppliers from knowing the customer info.

In the illustration we used, if Paul had decided to ship double-blind the freight broker would have had to conceal the customer address in Seattle from the shipper as well as the manufacturer address in San Diego from the customer.