different-types-of-bill-of-ladings

There are different criteria on which bill of ladings can be defined and differentiated. Few of these criteria being the “place from where carriers takes the responsibility of the cargo” (Port to port, Multimodal and through bill of ladings) or if the owner of the cargo can sell the cargo before it reaches by transferring the title of the bill of lading (Negotiable and non-negotiable bill of lading)

Different types of bill of ladings based upon Negotiable and non Negotiable documents

The main difference between the two types is title (ownership) of the one can be transferred to another party while the other is consigned to a named party and hence he/she has to be the final recipient of the cargo as the title of this type of bill of ladings cannot be transferred.

Readers should not confuse the negotiable and non-negotiable types of bill of ladings with the “negotiable” and “non-negotiable” copies of signed bill of ladings.

1. Straight bill of lading:

The straight bill of lading is specified to the particular party and the specified party cannot re-assign it to anyone else. The party only has to take the delivery of the cargo and the cargo cannot be sold by transferring the bill of lading to another party’s name.

Q: Can you think of an example when straight bill of lading can be and will be used?

2. Order bill of lading

This is the bill of lading that one would mostly come across onboard. The bill of lading is to the consignee or to his order. That is the named consignee will be the owner of the cargo or he can order the shipment to be delivered to another party by endorsing the bill of lading to that party.

As the title (ownership) of the bill of lading can be transferred, Order bill of lading is negotiable document.

3. Bearer bill of lading

The bearer bill of lading is the one in which the bearer of the bill of lading is the owner of the cargo and their is no consignee named in the bill of lading. This kind of bill of lading is very seldom found as there are huge risks involved in the misuse of this kind of bill of ladings.

Again as the title (ownership) of the bill of lading can be transferred, Order bill of lading is negotiable document.

4. Switch bill of lading

This can said to be the duplicate bill of lading for a cargo of which the bill of lading was already issued. Switch bill of lading is generally requested by the consignee from the owner of the vessel when the consignee do not wish to reveal to the new buyer the identity of the shipper of the cargo.

Types of Bill of ladings based upon carriers responsibility

1. Port to port bill of lading (also called Ocean bill of lading)

In this kind of bill of ladings, Carriers responsibility starts at port of loading and ends at port of discharge

2. Multimodal or Combined bill of lading

This kind of bill of lading cover more than one mode of transfers (for example, Ocean and rail or Ocean and road) and covers all the mode of transfers. Carrier has the responsibility from place of receipt to place of delivery of the cargo. Carrier can hire/sub contract to carry the cargo in one or more mode of transfers.

3. Through bill of ladings

The main difference between multimodal and through bill of lading is that in through bill of lading there is only one mode of of cargo movement but has different legs, like sea and inland waterways. Whereas in multimodal bill of lading there has to be at least two modes of cargo movement (like sea and land).

With respect to carrier’s responsibility, In through bill of lading, carrier is responsible only for their leg of sea transport.

Many believe there is no difference between the Multimodal and through bill of ladings which is not correct.

* If you think there is another important bill of lading that has been missed out here, please share in comment section and I would be happy to include that in this blog.

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Capt Rajeev Jassal

About Capt Rajeev Jassal

Capt. Rajeev Jassal has sailed for over 19 years mainly on crude oil, product and chemical tankers. He holds MBA in shipping & Logistics degree from London. He has done extensive research on quantitatively measuring Safety culture onboard and safety climate ashore which he believes is the most important element for safer shipping.

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45 Comments

Y V SATYA kumar
Y V SATYA kumar
Sep 12, 2016

Required types of b/l with pictures

Groza
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Aug 7, 2021

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Elen
Elen
Jan 13, 2017

maybe also mention shipped vs received for shipping and waybills?

RAKESH BALLABH
RAKESH BALLABH
May 1, 2017

kindly also comment on a bill of lading with consignee as "to order" and notifiy (generally mentioning the buyer's name.

Abhishek Singh
Abhishek Singh
Jun 8, 2017

Sir, can you please clarify What is the meaning of “negotiable” and “non-negotiable” copies of signed bill of ladings??

Zibi Kossak
Zibi Kossak
Oct 21, 2018

A negotiable bill of lading instructs the carrier to deliver goods to anyone in possession of the original endorsed negotiable bill, which itself represents title to and control of the goods. ... Because of this, a negotiable bill of lading must be used for a documentary sale.

Zibi Kossak
Zibi Kossak
Oct 21, 2018

Traditional bill of lading is a document of title so you can transfer the ownership of the goods to another party by means of endorsement or delivery. For this reason buyers have to present at least one original bill of lading to the carrier at the port of discharge. Non negotiable bill of lading is not a document of title. As a result buyers do not have to present at least one original bill of lading to the carriers at the port of discharge. Also you cannot transfer the ownership of the goods to another party by means of endorsement or delivery under non negotiable bill of lading. That is why non negotiable bill of lading is called non negotiable sea waybill. It is not a bill of lading in a traditional sense. Main Differences : Consignee: Bill of lading can be issued in a negotiable form. Non negotiable sea waybill cannot be issued in a negotiable form. You should to indicate your buyers name on the non negotiable sea waybill. Endorsement: Only bill of lading can be endorsed. Non negotiable sea waybill cannot be endorsed. Delivery of Goods: Under traditional bill of lading buyer have to present at least one original B/L to the carrier’s agent at the port of discharge. Otherwise they cannot get the goods unless letter of indemnity is issued. Under non negotiable sea waybill buyers can claim the goods by confirming their identity.

kenoly
kenoly
Apr 15, 2019

from my little knowledge i have about a bill of lading, i think a bill of lading is said to be negotiable when ownership can be transferred by the actual owner to anyone he chooses to claim the goods,and this can be done by signing of a signature.

diana luganda
diana luganda
Feb 28, 2020

not necessarily the owner. it can be the carrier while goods are still in trasit to the named port of discharge.

ASHUTOSH KUMAR
ASHUTOSH KUMAR
Aug 18, 2017

plz expalin something abt documementry credit system

Njabulo  Ximba
Njabulo Ximba
Aug 20, 2017

There are two bill of ladings missed which are clean bill of lading and clause bill of lading.please investigate them.

Mohammed Rafat Butt
Mohammed Rafat Butt
Jun 12, 2018

These are not types of B/l.

Mukul Mudgalkar
Mukul Mudgalkar
Jan 3, 2018

Stale bill of lading...

abc
abc
Mar 23, 2019

if the b/l is not submitted to bank within specified time under documentary credit system.the b/l thus becomes the stale b/l

Captain Bansal
Captain Bansal
Aug 14, 2019

International sales of goods contract between buyer and seller contains various terms and conditions and one of the term is about how payment of goods will be done. If both of the parties agrees to payment using Letter of credit / Documentary credit system then it is clearly mentioned in sales contract. However, Letter of credit which is issued by buyer's bank is also based on various conditions say B/L should be clean and to be presented in between some period ( say 01/06 - 15/06) but due some issues if its presented to bank after 15/06 then that will be called a STALE B/L . Don't confuse it with unclean/dirty/claused/foul/spoiled BL which is different from stale B/L. So , in short it can be said as "a B/L which is presented to bank after date mentioned in Letter of credit wil be termed as a STALE B/L".

sanaullah shaikh
sanaullah shaikh
May 7, 2018

Thanks Captain , the blog is very knowledgeable.

Bernice korkor
Bernice korkor
May 24, 2018

Do you have information about the split bill of lading and groupage bill of lading

Mohammed Rafat Butt
Mohammed Rafat Butt
Jun 12, 2018

Split B/ls are issued more or less like the switch B/l. It is a practice usually found with bulk trade where the shipper may sell the cargo at POD to more than one receiver. Simply put one cargo many receivers . Groupage is where many shippers engage one freight forwarder to send their cargo under the same b/l. Receivers may be one or many.

Mohammed Rafat Butt
Mohammed Rafat Butt
Jun 12, 2018

Hi, in general if the B/L is termed non-negotiable it does not qualify as a B/l but is then termed as a sea waybill. A bill of lading should be negotiable.

Arnold
Arnold
Jul 10, 2018

What is the difference between charter party bill of lading & CONGENBILL 2017

Arun
Arun
Dec 13, 2018

dear sir, can you please explain when does a B/L becomes actual contract of carriage. I assume it is an evidence of contract of carriage. Please answer. Thank you sir.

jeetendra
jeetendra
Jan 4, 2019

generally which type of bill of lading use in tanker trade.

AA
AA
Feb 18, 2019

Please explain commingle bill of lading.

Vashishth Joshi
Vashishth Joshi
Apr 5, 2019

Hi, I have a question regarding the change of “consignee” in a B/L. Suppose, there is a cargo coming to India with a straight B/L with a named “Consignee” mentioned therein. Now, once the cargo reached in India, the buyer (importer) refuses to clear the cargo from port siting an issue with the previous consignment’s quality. The buyer wants to press the “Shipper” and thereby bringing him to negotiation for a price discount. The buyer has not yet paid for the goods, so practically the ownership/title of the cargo vests with the “Shipper”. In this case, can “Shipper” request to change the “Consignee” in B/L? and, is it possible to change it without obtaining a NOC (no objection certificate) from the existing “Consignee”? Kindly explain the legal position and rights of a “Shipper” in reference to Indian Law since he would suffer a great loss if the consignee refuses to provide NOC. Please quote provisions and relevant citations, if possible. Thanking you,

Chiran
Chiran
Apr 17, 2019

Why master need to be careful while signing a Order bill of lading??

Sudhir
Sudhir
Jul 20, 2019

What is the difference between Hague rules, Hague visby rules, Hamburg & Rotterdam rules for Bill of lading. Which rule is widely used.

Augustus
Augustus
Apr 2, 2020

Why the consignee does not wish to reveal to the new buyer the identity of the shipper of the cargo. Cause as i know. That switch b/l needed some agreement from consignee, shipper and newe buyer of final buyer

Amar Anand
Amar Anand
Jun 24, 2020

nice blog sir....

Sharaf  Mukhtar
Sharaf Mukhtar
Jul 22, 2020

I want to know more about the Shipping industry

Arunava Chatterjee
Arunava Chatterjee
Nov 18, 2020

What is the appreciable difference between a Charter Party bill of lading & Ocean Bill of Lading which prompts certain banks to mention under their LCs "Charter Party Bills of lading not acceptable".

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