DOD's Use of Commercial Documentation and Procedures for Common Carrier Domestic Freight Transportation

LCD-77-232: Published: Apr 10, 1978. Publicly Released: Apr 10, 1978.

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In 1969, the Comptroller General granted discretionary authority to agency heads to determine whether it was more efficient and economical to procure transportation for particular types of small shipments using commercial forms and procedures. The Department of Defense's (DOD's) use of commercial documentation and procedures to purchase and pay for common carrier domestic freight transportation was studied. The DOD has entered into agreements with a number of carriers to accept commercial forms in lieu of Government bills of lading; however, many local transportation officers are not taking advantage of the benefits of these agreements. Shipping and management officers cited the following reasons for not using commercial forms and procedures: lack of authorization at the shipping level to use commercial forms, lack of standardization of commercial forms, fear of having less control over shipments, problems in determining whose funds would be cited on the document, fear of duplicate payments, problems in auditing charges, and failure to show that economy would result. The major benefits to be gained by using commercial forms are that fewer Government forms would be needed and administrative processing would be lessened. The use of commercial procedures should be reemphasized, particularly for shipments via direct air carriers, air freight forwarders, and bus express. Permission should be requested for use of commercial forms and procedures for all domestic shipments via these three modes regardless of shipping costs.

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