Every freight transaction involves two parties: consignor and consignee.
The terms consignor and consignee are often flipped in people’s minds, so why doesn’t the freight industry not just use shipper and receiver.
The consignor is the company shipping the product. A consignor can be a factory, distribution center or drop ship origin location.
When shipping internationally, the consignor is the exporter of record.
The consignee is the recipient of the goods being shipped. A consignee is a customer or client.
The ultimate owner of the product is the consignee, so it is important to keep in mind that shipments destined for a 3rd party logistics company would not list the 3PL as the consignee.
The consignee is the importer of record in international shipments.
So, with the above definitions in mind, the reason the terms consignee and consignor are used is because a company ships its products on consignment. The owner of the cargo consigns the product to a freight carrier for transporting it to the consignee. The ownership of the freight does not legally change until the recipient of the goods signs the Bill of Landing (BOL).