a ship cargo docking

Categories of Bills of Lading for Marine Transport

The term ‘bill’ denotes a written or printed statement for the cost of services and goods to be delivered later or already delivered. The term ‘lade’ denotes the putting of cargo onto a form of transportation. A bill of lading (BOL) is thus a record of the goods, which will be received on board a vessel.

This is a document which establishes an agreement between a transportation company and shipper for the transportation of cargo. The document is issued to a shipper.

You might see no need for cargo delivery service in the Philippines to handle your imports and exports if you assume the BOL is a straightforward document. There are however different types of BOL depending on the means of transport you will use for your cargo.

The following are the four primary bills of lading used in marine transportation.

Straight Bill of Lading

The straight BOL is a non-negotiable document which will be addressed to the owner of the cargo being transported. The cargo owner’s customs broker is listed as the ‘notify party’ on this document.

The carrier of the goods will issue three straight bills of lading. One will be validated by the cargo’s consignee and should be presented for the cargo’s buyer to gain access to the cargo once it reaches the destination.

“Order” Bill Of Lading

This marks a negotiable document that is addressed ‘to order’ instead of a cargo’s buyer. The cargo’s carrier will hand the cargo to the person who will present the ‘order’’ BOL provided it has an endorsement at the back.

In this case, the holder of the document will be presumed the owner of the shipped goods. This BOL is often used in cases where the goods’ purchase has a letter of credit, or the goods are to be transacted on a merchant exchange while they are on transit.

Electronic “Telex” Release

This document eliminates the need to present an original BOL so that your goods are released. Instead, a shipper will endorse the original BOL then submit it to your agent at the origin of your cargo.

The customs agent at your cargo’s origin will notify the agent at your destination via a notification, which was sent via telex in the past but is nowadays emailed. The electronic ‘telex’’ release is often used if you still owe payment for your cargo but settle it before your goods arrive.

Express Bill of Lading

workers monitoring the cargo

Here, the carrier agrees to release cargo to a named notify party or consignee. The express BOL is an immutable document and will be used if you pay for your goods before their shipping, or you have credit with your supplier. It accelerates the release of your goods and eliminates the need for the presentation of an original BOL for the release of your cargo.

Cross border trade is currently at an all-time high. While there are significant profits to be made, issues with your documentation can leave you counting substantial losses.

The above bills of lading are only part of the documents needed for marine transportation. Get a customs broker to handle your cargo’s imports and exports to ensure you get all documents in order.