An exporter’s guide to understanding proof of delivery

Proof of delivery is a logistics document confirming successful customer delivery. In this blog, learn more about its types, advantages, and disadvantages.
proof of delivery
In the world of trade, a document called proof of delivery (POD) plays a crucial role in confirming that the importer has successfully received a shipment. The receipt is provided by the carrier and contains essential details, such as the recipient’s name, the delivery date and time, and other pertinent shipping information. A POD may be submitted electronically or in paper format1.

In this blog, will explore the significance of proof of delivery and its role in ensuring successful and secure international shipments.

What is proof of delivery?

A proof of delivery (POD) is an essential document used in logistics and supply chain management to verify that goods or services were successfully delivered to the importer. An invoice will only be issued under the POD system after the importer confirms delivery. It is proof that the recipient has obtained the desired goods in the required quantity and in good shape.

A proof of delivery document’s precise structure and appearance is often based on the sector, corporate regulations, and particular transaction requirements. It is crucial to make sure proof of delivery paperwork is completed, signed by necessary parties once the delivery has been confirmed, and kept for record-keeping2.

Importance of proof of delivery

Some of the reasons why this documentation is crucial are3:

Protection against fraudulent claims:

In situations where an importer falsely claims non-receipt of a shipment, POD becomes invaluable. It allows exporters to show an unmistakable record of the delivery, which helps resolve disputes and safeguards their finances and reputation.

Demonstrates commitment:

A visible record of proper delivery demonstrates the exporter’s dedication to providing dependable and transparent service, enhancing their reputation.

Streamlines operations:

Proof of delivery offers exporters a dependable mechanism for monitoring and tracking deliveries. It also simplifies the documentation of order supply and management.

Importer protection:

POD safeguards importers from fraud and other wrongdoing. Clear delivery records empower them to readily cancel any erroneous or fraudulent payments, and also ensures that they won't be held accountable for any mistakes or problems that might occur.

Types of proof of delivery

Some of the commonly used proof of delivery systems are:

Paper proof of delivery

In this system, one must physically sign a document to verify receipt of an item. In industries where physical signatures are required by law, many businesses still follow this practice. Paper-based proof of delivery can be time-consuming, costly, and difficult to store, especially for companies that handle a lot of deliveries4.

Electronic proof of delivery

Electronic proof of delivery systems utilizes digital technology like scanners, barcodes, or QR codes to store proofs. The delivery person scans the connected barcode or QR code with a scanner upon delivery. In comparison to paper-based techniques, electronic proof of delivery is more practical and efficient. It’s environmentally friendly, cost-effective, and offers greater precision and reliability as it is accessible from any location at any time5.

Photo and e-signature proof of delivery

The most modern method of proving delivery involves capturing and uploading images of the delivered item and an electronic signature using a mobile device. The recipient's electronic signature serves as digital acknowledgement in this type of POD6.

Advantages of proof of delivery

Here are a few advantages of POD7:
● Ensures that the right recipient receives an item from the correct sender (especially important when the purchaser is not the intended recipient).
● Helps determine when and where an error occurred in case a package is delivered damaged or in poor shape.
● Helps to resolve disputes against shipping claims, especially with regard to e-commerce transactions.

Disadvantages of proof of delivery

Here are a few disadvantages of POD8:
● Relies on manual methods that leave potential for human error, such as illegible handwriting, mistakes, or missing papers.
● Requires time-consuming, repetitive tasks that may hinder driving efficiency.
● Makes it difficult to customize delivery operations for specific shipments or recipients.
● Restricts real-time, accurate communication with the recipient.

Contents of a proof of delivery

Here are some of the contents included in a POD9:
● Title and emblem of the carrier company in charge of delivery.
● Recipient's name as it appears on the delivery receipt.
● Detailed location of delivery.
● Specifics of the client’s order, including items and quantity.
● The chosen mode of payment for the order.
● Date and time of the delivery.
● Description of the shipping options used.
● Delivery's conditions, such as the item dimensions, weight, and any unique needs.
● Unique tracking number allocated to the package.
● Scannable code that can be used to access package information.
● Size and weight of the delivery’s contents.
● Proof of delivery in the form of the recipient's signature.

Advantages of proof of delivery

A bill of lading (BoL) is a legal document that is drawn up between a shipper and a carrier. It serves as a contract for the carriage of goods and gives the carrier all the information required to handle the items and appropriately invoice them. Normally, a copy of the completed BOL is attached to the package, and another copy is given to the carrier upon pickup.

A proof of delivery (POD) is a document signed by the recipient (consignee) of a package, confirming its safe arrival. It verifies and confirms that all the contents are present and undamaged. Following an inspection of the shipment, the consignee dates and signs the proof of delivery.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Who issues proof of delivery?
The importer can directly ask for proof of delivery from the exporter. The party that is responsible for delivering the goods, such as the shipping company, courier agency, transporter, or logistics provider, is responsible for issuing the proof of delivery11.
What can be used as proof of delivery?
Signed delivery receipts or invoices, electronic signatures, barcodes or QR codes, GPS tracking and geotagging, electronic confirmation systems, photograph capture, and carrier tracking information can be used as proof of delivery12.
How do I verify proof of delivery?
You may follow these steps to verify proof of delivery document:
● Examine the goods received.
● Check the cross-reference of the proof of delivery with supporting documents such as invoices and delivery notes.
● Check the recipient’s name, delivery address, date and time of delivery, and other specific conditions or instructions mentioned in the proof of delivery document.
● Check any additional evidence provided, like GPS tracking data, photographs, or electronic confirmations.
Published on January 30, 2024.


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