Express Bill of Lading The Ultimate FAQ Guide

Express Bill of Lading: The Ultimate FAQ Guide

If you have any question about express bill of lading, you will find it right here.

So, keep reading to learn more.

What Is Express Bill Of Lading?

An Express bill of lading is a document receipt that contains all the relevant information about the shipment.

Normally, the seller issues this document to the shipper who acts as transport agent of the cargo.

Bill of Landing

Bill of Lading

What Is The Purpose Of Express Bill Of Lading?

The benefits that come with the Express bill of lading are immense. These benefits include:

  1. It is very useful in cases where shipping transactions do not involve a bank. This eliminates the need to secure payments on basis of the original BOL during delivery.
  2. Express Bill of Lading is fast: it allows shipments to move faster to the consignee. The carrier should move goods to the named consignee without providing additional documents.
  • In cases of a short duration of time, printing, and courier of original BOL is not achievable. Therefore, the shipper and consignee agree to use Express B/L to speed up the process.

When Can I Use An Express Bill Of Lading?

Mostly, you can use Express Bill of Lading under the following circumstances:

  • If you have made the payments before shipping the goods.
  • You can also use Express Bill of Lading if you still owe/credit the supplier.

By using Express Bill of Lading, the goods are not hold up since there is no issuing of original BOL. This, as a result, saves on the time taken to ship and reduces the courier fee.

What Is The Express Bill Of Lading Procedure?

Express Bill oF Landing Procedure

Express Bill OF Lading Procedure

There is a certain procedural setup that you should follow to ensure the safety of prompt’s shipment. These procedures include:

The consignee signs a contract with the seller, for which the consignee issues a letter of credit to guarantee payment.

The seller arranges for transportation by approaching a transportation agency in this, case the carrier.

The shipping agent can also serve the purpose rather than the seller doing it.

The carrier confirms the date and time of delivery to the seller (exporter).

Upon the arrival of goods, the person in charge of the ship submits receipts to the Port Authority Trust.

These receipts act as confirmation of the presence of the cargo on that ship.

The seller makes all pending charges to ensure the carrier acquires the receipts, which enable processing of the express Bill of Lading.

Once the seller makes payments, the carrier receives the receipts that allow physical inspection of goods against the contents on the receipt.

After completing the inspection, the carrier calculates the goods accordingly to ensure there is no short loads of the goods.

This clearance process allows the processing and fast discharge of the cargo by the responsible agents.

Note, due to the unavailability of the original bill of lading the shipper only presents the Express bill of lading to the carrier.

The agents at the port will not request carrier to produce any other document rather they will release the goods for delivery.

What Is The Difference Between Original Bill Of Lading And Express Bill Of Lading?

Original bill of lading commonly serves as a shipping document between the shipper and the carrier.

This document confirms the carrier receipts of the goods.

Original Bill of Lading

Original Bill of Lading

Additionally, the original bill of lading does not work as a single copy but rather printing of two similar documents is important.

Both the shipper and the consignee acquire one of these documents.

Note, with the original bill of lading, the consignee will not receive the shipments if the shipper still holds the original BOL.

Carriers use Express bill of lading to facilitate the contract between them and the buyer.

With Express bill of lading, you do not require to produce the original bill of lading.

This results in a fast release of goods for delivery purposes.

Using the Express bill of lading, allows you to mail the documents back to the shipper electronically hence eliminating courier fees.

This method saves on time and any extra cost you may incur along the process.

Is Express Bill Of Lading Negotiable?


Normally this document is not negotiable.

With a negotiable bill, the shipper will specify the delivery of the shipment to anyone who has claims ownership.

The negotiable bill does not indicate the specific names of the carrier and the buyer.

It also specifies the document title and who controls the shipment (does not indicate the specific buyer names).

Express Bill of Lading is non-negotiable, which requires you to document all the necessary information on the same sales contract and not elsewhere.

Express Bill of Lading does not declare ownership of the goods but rather, specifies the names of the consignee to receive the shipment.

Who Issues The Express Bill Of Lading?

Normally, the carrier issues this document after taking over the control of the shipment.

This means the handing over of goods from the shipper to the carrier is complete and the carrier can load the goods for delivery.

During this process, the Express Bill of Lading is inclusive of:

  • Receipts indicating the transfer of goods
  • Legal ownership of the goods
  • Contract aspect sating all the relevant details about the goods.

In some countries and shipping groups, there are set standards that regulate who issue this Express bill of lading.

Note, the issuing process occurs only when the carrier receives and loads the goods on the desirable means of transport for delivery.

What Is The Difference Between Seaway Bill And Express Bill Of Lading?

Seaway Bill normally confirms cargo transfer between the carrier and the buyer.

Seaway Bill does not allow any trading of goods during the shipping procedures as it is not a document of title.

When using the Seaway Bill there is no issuing of any kind of bill of lading.

Seaway bill can be used if you have already made payments whereas Express bill of lading does not allow pre-payments of goods.

Carrier normally use the Express bill of lading as a contract to facilitate the delivery of goods to the buyer.

The contract builds upon trust due to the limited time of printing and courier the same to the consignee.

Is Express Bill Of Lading The Same As Telex Release?


The Express Bill of Lading is not the same as the Telex Release.

We have more distinguishing features that make these two types different.

Express bill of lading allows immediate release of goods upon arrival.

Express Bill of Lading does not require the shipper to pay a surrender fee since there is no request of Original B/L.

Therefore, there is an express release of goods.

Additionally, you do not require Original B/L cargo payments are secure and there is no involvement of the bank in any transaction.

In Telex Release, you should print and hand over the original B/L to the shipper/transporting agent.

As a shipper, you always surrender this document back to origin agents.

Telex Release requires the shipper to pay full documentation charges as well as surrender the charges.

Unlike Express Bill where there is an express release of goods, you can request Telex release under the following circumstances:

  • Delays in mailing the Original Bill of lagging to the destination without incurring storage fees.
  • If the shipment of the goods is secure and the Original B/L is not necessary.
  • Saving on the mailing cost. Agents at the port charge the surrender fee and charges for sending a telex message.

Can An Express Bill Of Lading Be Changed?


Changing of Express Bill of Lading is easily achievable.

Shipping agents, NVOCC, or the freight forwarders prepare the Express B/L according to booking confirmation.

You can change the Express Bill of Lading before and after receiving booking confirmation from the logistic service providers.

We have a different circumstance that enables easily changing or amending of the Express Bill of Lading. They include:

  • You can change before import customs declaration
  • Before export booking confirmation
  • Before drafting Express Bill of Lading confirmation
  • After import and export customs declaration
  • You can also change before and after shipping manifest submission.

There two circumstances that may delay the changing of the Express Bill of Lading:

  • Presence of a letter of credit from the financing bank, stating that the Express Bill of Lading should not have pending charges. This forces the consignee to first clear all the charges via the carrier before the release of goods.
  • An already existing shipping manifest. This will cause a delay in changing the Express Bill of Lading but eventually, you will be able to change it.

Does The Express Bill Of Lading Need To Be Signed?


The carrier mostly signs this document. This implies that the carrier is aware of all the information regarding the goods.

The Express Bill of Lading becomes legal once the responsible parties sign the documents. These responsible parties include shipper, consignee, carrier, and customs broker

Before signing the Express Bill of Lading ensure it is inclusive of;

All the responsible parties

Origin and destination of the shipment

The number of packages and package details.

Content of the packages.

What Precautions Need To Be Taken Before Signing An Express Bill Of Lading?

Before signing this document, you should consider the following precaution measures:

Ensure goods are in the right condition: You should firstly confirm that the goods are physically available on the board ship.

You should also confirm that the goods have an accurate description as per the Express Bill of Lading.

It should also be inclusive of, dead freight and any short-loading of the goods.

Shipper identity: it is important to give an accurate name, identity, and the location address of the shipper.

This will minimize the liability of the carrier in case of false information.

Port and date of loading: Before signing the Express Bill of Lading you should confirm that the dates coincide with dates on the receipt.

This allows you to determine the origin of the goods and the overall customs duty structure.

Port of discharge: this prevents deviations of the shipping vessel. It’s the responsibility of the charter party to enhance this process.

Description of freight load and quantity: before signing the Express Bill of Lading ensure that the description and quantity are correct.

It is essential to confirm the fright. Since the shipper might order a shipment for carriage by the carrier and end up declaring something else on the receipt’s documents.

Note, details on the Express bill of lading should match consignee details during the booking process.

Freight: before signing, you should ensure that the freight is no incorrect markings. For instance, prepaid freights or paid freights.

Conflicting terms: you should ensure that the Express Bill of Lading terms and those of the charter party are not conflicting.

This mostly occurs when the carrier refuses to show all details such as commercial information. This as result brings conflict between the consignee and carrier.

How Do I Surrender The Express Bill Of Lading?

Normally, if the cargo is not on credit, it is easy to surrender this document receipt.

Surrendering of these receipts requires you to submit the original documents with a letter request to the carrier of goods.

Upon receiving the express B/L, the carrier sends a message to the other counterpart at the destination port.

This message indicates complete surrendering of the Express B/L.

This allows you to acquire the freight without producing the Express B/L.

The person in charge at the destination port will release the goods without requesting other additional documents.

How Does Express Bill Of Lading Tracking Work?

Most companies are adopting the tracking method of the shipment to prevent losses along the way.

This process gives the shipper and the carrier an assurance that the shipment will arrive promptly and safely.

We normally use two methods in tracking the shipment;

Use of Express Bill of Lading: This document is essential as it contains all the information of the shipment such as;

  • The names of the consignee and carrier and the addresses too.
  • Specific handling instructions of the shipment.
  • Description of goods available
  • It should also include dates, shipping units, and measurements.
  • Also, the value of the shipment. This gives the total amount the shipment is worth.

This method is the easiest and the receipts should be readily available for review of the shipment.

With advances in technology, you can use a Pro Number that comprises 6-10 digits. You should print this number and place it on the shipment which is easily scannable.

You will find this number in all paperwork including, the Express Bill of Lading.

This allows the carrier and the shipper to have a fast track of goods, delays or dead-freights

Does An Express Bill Of Lading Serve As A Contract Of Carriage?


Contract of carriage involves an agreement between consignee and carrier.

This agreement allows the carrier to ship goods from the port to the destination address

This contract comprises rules, conditions, and obligations that guide the carrier.

That is, in case the carrier incurs the extra cost during the delivery it should reflect on the Express Bill of Lading.

This allows the consignee to evaluate the document and refund the cost to the carrier.

In case of disagreement between the consignee and the carrier, the carrier will hold back the cargo until an amicable solution is achievable.

Can An Express Bill Of Lading Be Consigned To A Customs Broker?


You can consign the Express Bill of Lading to a customs broker. This consignment takes place under the following criteria:

The custom broker becomes an importer by obtaining relevant documents from the government.

By acting as an importer, it means you are liable to government regulations of importing goods into the country.

As a result, the Express Bill of Lading will consign with a customs broker who completes all the custom importing procedures. The custom broker finally accepts the delivery of goods as an importer.

Can Goods Under Express Bill Of Lading Be Transferred To Another Consignee?


Considering that this document is non-negotiable and acquiring it does not prove ownership of the shipment.

It, therefore, means, if you obtain goods under the Express Bill of Lading, you cannot transfer them to another consignee.

Is Express Bill Of Lading Used Under Letter Of Credit Transactions?


You cannot use it as it does not guarantee payments of goods by the buyer to the seller.

This document does not prove ownership and therefore, you can present it to clear the charges.

This implies that you cannot transfer these goods to any other consignee

Therefore, it is advisable to clear all the pending charges to avoid delay and withholding of the shipment.

What Are The Disadvantages Of The Express Bill Of Lading?

Below are some of the main disadvantages:

  • It is non-negotiable: this implies that you can only present receipts of the goods without exchanging them for money.
  • It is less secure hence increasing chances of fraud during the whole process.
  • Withholding of goods might occur since the officers in charge request other additional documents.
  • Possessing the Express Bill of Lading allows you to obtain the shipment without providing additional documents.

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