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Express Bill of lading

types of bill of lading

What is an express bill of lading?

An express bill of lading can be seen as a type of bill of lading as per which carrier of goods is obligated for the delivery of the products to the named consignee and there is no issuance of original bills of lading (OBL). Express B/Ls are considered as a non-negotiable and are not seen as a document of title to the commodities; transfer of title has to be documented elsewhere within the sales contract.

When is an express bill of lading used?

The express bill of lading is taken into consideration if the buyer has already paid for the commodities before shipping or has some credit with the supplier. Cargo does not need to be "released" when express bills of lading are used since no original B/Ls were issued, saving on time and mail courier fees.

An Express Release Bill of Lading means there was no issuance of Original Bills of Lading, or no request for issuing it was made, when the shipper’s sent the instructions to the shipping line. Express Release is usually requested when there is no need to hold onto the Original Bill of Lading by the shipper for securing payment for the cargo. The shipper as well as consignee can be related companies, or might have a strong business relationship in such scenarios. Since no Original Bills of Lading was created, no specific documentations have to be mailed to destination in order to get cargo released.

An Express Release as the name implies it is used mostly in case of “express” situations such as:

  • ● when the shipper as well as consignee seems to be part of the same group or organization and no negotiations are required between the two either in direct or via bank for the final release of the cargo
  • ● when the shipping will not involve any third party such as bank and thus the shipper doesn’t really need to submit original bill of lading for securing his payment
  • ● when there is no enough time to print the original bills and further courier the same to the consignee in order to receive the consignment
  • ● the shipper itself is a freight forwarder and he wills to issue a house bill of lading to his clients, hence he choose an express release or a waybill instead of original master bill of lading from the shipping line

Advantages of an Express Release:

  • ● the consignee will not need to wait for surrendering an original bill of lading for securing the release because when an Express bill is chosen, it is manifested as such thus cargo release is immediate
  • ● shipper saves a lot on courier and postage costs the copy of the Express bill can be sent using electronic means such as email and fax
  • ● highly useful for group companies who are having offices at the pol and pod and amongst trusting business partners
  • ● can even save on bill of lading stationery

Disadvantages of an Express Release:

  • ● it is not negotiable and thus cannot be exchanged for money, it can just be seen as a receipt of cargo
  • ● release is not secure as compared to the original bill of lading and there are certain chances of fraud

The Express Release Bill of Lading is also termed as a seaway bill and is the quickest variation of a bill of lading which is used specifically in cases where the shipper decides about releasing their hold on the cargo in advance and immediate manner. In the case of express release bill of lading, an original bill is never issued. There is no requirement for surrendering anything back to the shipping company and neither towards the importer, thus the freight is released as soon as it becomes available. It also eliminates courier fees as the document copies are sent electronically by fax or email.

Can Express Release Bill of Lading be transferred?

No, Express Release Bill of Lading cannot be transferred to any other party.

Is Express release Bill of Lading used under Letter of Credit transactions?

As express release bill of lading is non-negotiable and it does not act as a document of title thus it cannot be used under letter of credit transactions..

Can goods under Express release Bill of Lading be transferred to another consignee?

No, since Express Bill of Lading is not a document of title so goods consigned under express release bill of lading can never be transferred to another consignee or buyer.

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