8 Common types of bills of lading

Ocean Transportation An ocean lading bill is provided when goods are transported by sea. The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) regulates ocean freight to or from the United States. Common types of ocean lading bills or releases are: a straight lading bill: this is a non-negotiable form of the B / L that is addressed / delivered directly to the purchaser, with the purchaser’s customs broker listed as a “Notify Party.” In this case, the carrier will issue a set of three original Lading bills, one of which must be endorsed by the consignee and submitted in order to obtain the lading bill. Usually, if the purchaser still owes compensation for all or part of the product, the straight lading bill is given.

A “order” lading bill: this is a negotiable form addressed to “order” or “order of[ a party]” rather than being sent to the purchaser. The carrier will turn over the shipment as long as it is approved on the back to anyone presenting this lading bill. It is believed that the holder of the lading order bill is the owner of the items being delivered. The lading order bill is generally used when a letter of credit relates to the purchase of goods or when the goods are supposed to be exchanged on a freight exchange while the shipment is still in transit.

The electronic “telex” release: an electronic “telex” release removes the need for the release of the products to show an original lading bill at the destination. The shipper, then, endorses an initial lading bill and submits it at the source to the carrier’s representative. The origin agent then notifies the agent in a simple message at the destination that the goods can be released without the lading bill of the hard copy. This notification has been made by telex (hence the name) in the past, but today digital releases are made by email or through integrated system notes in carrier booking systems. This is often used when a purchaser still owes all or part of the goods but then pays before the arrival of the cargo.

An express shipping bill: the carrier promises to only deliver the goods to the designated consignee and inform the party with this sort of shipping bill. It is a contract that can not be settled and no original lading bills are given at all. If the importer has paid for the products before delivery or has credit with the manufacturer, the express lading bill is often used. By eliminating the need for a physical lading bill to be presented, it accelerates the release of the goods upon arrival and saves on time and mail courier fees.

When goods are transported by air, air waybills or AWB are issued. They are non-negotiable, so it is immediately handed over to the consignee or their customs broker for customs clearance and final delivery once the cargo arrives at the destination airport. Air shipping bills therefore function only as: a carriage contract A freight invoice, i.e. the carrier has received the shipping instructions Delivery instructions, if special handling is needed however, if the goods are shipped under a letter of credit or the shipper uses his bank to collect payment for the goods before being released to the consignee, the air shipping bill may be sent to a bank. The consignee must pay the bank in such cases, which in turn provides the airline with a bank release to allow the carrier to release the goods. Typically, this process takes several days for the goods to sit in the airline warehouse and may incur storage charges.

A “Waybill” is commonly used for overland deliveries in North America. This is a short-form carriage contract that typically only briefly refers to terms and conditions in the tariff of the carrier. Be sure to ask them–you’re going to want to know the limits of your shipment’s liability. A Waybill is never consigned to “business” like an Air Waybill and is never negotiable. Nevertheless, the shipment can be sent with an extra carrier’s handling fee under “Collect on Request” terms to protect both the buyer and the seller’s interests.

Uniform Lading Bill This type of lading bill is issued for shipments overland and is subject to “uniform” terms and conditions with widely adopted transport tariffs and/or contract carriage agreements. It is possible to consign the uniform lading bill (aka uniform waybill) “to order,” thus becoming a negotiable lading bill–just like an ocean B / L. A uniform lading bill is a long version of the “Waybill” and includes all the terms and conditions, whereas the waybill refers only nominally to the terms and conditions.

Hand Tag Typically, the hand tag is used when a truck driver shows up for cargo pickup at a shipping dock or door and fills in a manual form–hence its name. This is a contract in short form, with only a brief note of some terms and conditions. It is still covered by the carrier’s liability limit despite its casual nature and refers to the underlying tariff of the carrier. Because of its simplicity, the hand tag is often used by courier services and other electronically dispatched trucks in the air freight or regional carriage company that are hired to pick up cargo from shippers that have not prepared a standardised waybill for the driver to sign as a cargo receipt.