Seaway bill definitive guide

Sea Waybill: The Definitive Guide

Seaway bill definitive guide

If you are using seaway bill to ship your goods, then this is a must-read guide for you.


I am going to tell you about how seaway bill of lading helps you to import your products easily.

This guide covers everything you need to know about seaway bill like uses, pros, and cons of sea waybill and why we use seaway bill as compared to the original bill of lading.

Why we need Seaway bill as compare to Bill of Lading?

I don’t like a bill of lading for the shipping of products because B/L is quiet slow, in 2018 people have no time to waste.

You know the bill of lading works on the very complex procedure to transfer products.

On the other hand,the process of the seaway bill is not complex and really simple to handle.

As I already explained SWB is a modern application of information technology and offer unlimited service.

In comparison,an electronic bill of lading offers only a few applications to operate.

When we required to use seaway bill of lading?

Seaway bill used whenever a relationship is very strong between shipper and carrier.

Best time when domestic things need to transport.

Your products are according to the predefined line of credit.

When shipper wants to ship products immediately.

Most important when shipper and carrier both belong to the same group and no negotiation required for shipping process.

The goal we want to achieve by seaway bill is:

Getting a receipt of shipping products by the shipper.

This evidence will help you at the time of unloading cargo from the container.


How to apply for the seaway bill of lading?

If you want to ship your products immediately by sea cargo service, then seaway bill is recommended for you.

You need to apply for the seaway bill of lading by writing an application.

Some of the important information mandatory to put on the application.

Vessel/container information

Port of shipment/discharge information
Cargo description
Shipper Name
Consignee Name

You can request for the seaway bill by putting the correct information in the application.

You need to mention that you know the terms and conditions of seaway bill of lading.

And you must follow the terms and conditions.

Most important thing is Seaway bill is not the document of the title so you cannot transfer the bill to the third

Best thing is, consignee doesn’t need any document at the discharge port.

The carrier is responsible for the customs clearance.

When would I use a Sea Waybill instead of a Bill of Lading? You can use seaway bill ?

You can use seaway bill when You know who the recipient of cargo is.

When a high level of trust exists between importer and exporter.

What is a sea waybill?

What is seaway bill

I want to explain sea waybill is Contract of carriage or ownership document.

See this way bill is a contract to transport your products from loading port to the destination port.

In short:

This document works as receipt of cargo; we don’t need this bill for the delivery of products.

The interesting thing is the seaway bill is also called “marine shipping order.”

But the next question comes in mind is sea waybill is negotiable or non-negotiable.

Non-negotiable but how?

Shipper can’t endorse the bill to the third person for the delivery of cargo.

If you are in a hurry

Then I suggest you Seaway bill to opt as compare to the bill of lading.

You can get an immediate release of your consignment with the help of freight forwarder.

Don’t waste your time by collecting documents in hard form and keep them safe for your smooth shipping process.

It’s easy to get complete all the shipping formalities online.

However, I believe in saving time by using the seaway bill.

Do you know seaway bill is real implications of information technology?

Yes, you don’t need to have a hard copy of documents like a bill of shipping products, receipts and detail description of goods.

Amazingly seaway bill regulated by the modern communication system.

Connect with your carrier by website system instead of a telex release system.

Important Terms used in the Shipping system


The person which provide a guarantee for the shipping process.

And the legal document has been issued and signed on behalf of the carrier.


The term merchant used for the shipper, carrier, receiver of products and owner of seaway bill.


This term means all the action and procedures proceeds by the carrier as according to the products.


Owner of the seaway bill has right to allow and disallow the shipping of consignment.

Holder has right to endorse the seaway bill to the third party.


All the allowed things for shipping under the terms and conditions are called goods.


Transferable tank or trailer used to consolidate shipping products or packages.

Size of the container depends on the weight of products.


All charges required to pay the carrier for releasing the shipment.


You can say ship or feeder to transport small products.


Largest packing of cargo for the shipment it might be a trailer or container.

No limitation applied to the weight or volume.

Port to port shipment

Shipment from one port to another port.

Carrier is responsible for the loading and unloading products with seaway bill.

Third party

Transfer responsibility of shipping process and products transferred from one carrier to the other carrier.

Another carrier is called the third party in shipping terms.


It means Carriage of Goods by Sea Act of United States of America

Non-Negotiable Seaway Bill

Do you know, Non- negotiable seaway provide two functions as an original bill of lading

  • Non-negotiable seaway bills work as receipts of products from the shipper to the carrier.
  • It’s the evidence or the contract of carriage same like an original bill of lading

(all important clauses printed on the one side of the contract)

Above two functions are the same with a bill of lading.

But keep that in your mind, this is  not a bill of lading.

Because seaway bill is not working as the title of the document.

If you select seaway bill, what do you think is it right?

You know seaway bill works between two reliable persons or companies.

And after getting this document, you actually don’t need a bill of lading to verify your consignment.

Seaway bill issued in hard copy or some time in soft copy format.

For example, if you need in the hard form, you can download and take a print on paper.

Keep one thing in your mind; seaway bill isn’t a document of the title.

There’s one holder of the cargo;ownership cannot transfer to the third.

Most important thing is:

Owner name mentioned on the consignment.

Which definitely indicates cargo owned by a single person.

Sample Non- negotiable Seaway Bill of Reality

Seaway bill

Non-Negotiable Sea waybill of Lading

There’s no hell difference in looks between the bill of lading and seaway bill of lading.

Do you know what basic information required to the bill of lading?

First, you need to mention shipper name, consignee information,and cargo description.

And on the fourth step, you need to mention port of discharge.

If you want to release your cargo immediately, don’t worry.

And head to Google and get into the shipping company website.

The shipping company will help you to release your consignment as soon as possible.

After releasing the cargo from the discharge port, you can send mail or message to the receivers of goods.

The reason why seaway bill is born?

Why seaway bill is born

Well, there are a lot of reasons to born seaway bill of lading like:

  • Above all, advanced technologies and fast communication between shipper and carrier.
  • You can get faster delivery of products from the discharge port to the destination port. (the Original bill has some better properties )
  • On the negative side of the Original bill of lading:

It’s not suitable for receiving products because of the original documents required to receive the products

  • Seaway bill boost up the release of surrendered Bill.
  • Best property of seaway bill of lading is the terms & conditions mentioned in the back of the document( in small letters)

Use of seaway Bill of Lading

Use of bol

Before I share some benefits of seaway bill which can help you to improve your shipping process

I want to tell you the additional property of this bill.

“You don’t need any documents in hard form to release your cargo.”

And above all seaway bill is only the reference to ship your products.

  1. Seaway bill used when you transfer your products by sea freight.
  2. If you belong to the same multinational company, seaway bill is used to ship products between different branches of the same
  3. According to the conditions of shipping, buyer and seller both are responsible for paying
  4. If you want to ship domestic products, you can choose the seaway bill of lading confidentially.

Similarly, the items which have no commercial value also use SWB.

  1. Seaway bill only used when a close, reliable relationship exists between two persons or business partners.
  2. Get rid of the situation when B/L does not arrive at the destination port,and you have to wait for it.

Seaway bill helps you to avoid such type of conditions.

Where to Use Sea waybill:

  1. When you start shipping your products, you need to have two things for the quality ofthe shipment

Fast and smooth shipping

As I already mentioned above seaway bill is the best option when you’re in rush.

Just imagine,

You’re shipping your products,and at the same time, you’re in a bit hurry.

The time duration between the loading port and destination port is very short.

And the bill of lading takes plenty of time to operate, so what option do you have?

Seaway bill?

Yes, it takes a very short time to ship your products from loading port to destination port.

So, Seaway bill helps to make shipment process fast and smooth.

  1. There are actually a lot of things to consider before shipping, most important is time duration.

Seaway bill is the instant solution of the shipping process.

  1. You can use this bill when seller and buyer have a strong business relationship.
  2. It’s still very important to focus on the repute of the seller in the market.

Especially how he deals with bulk products.

  1. You can use the seaway bill of lading but according to some rules & regulations.

Asa receiver,the name should be on the SWB.

(This is also same as an original bill of lading. The holder of the document can receive the products.)
Some Functions of Seaway Bill

There are some important functions at the pole that will truly separate the seaway bill and original bill of lading.


  • The first thing which differentiates is simply signed an agreement between buyer and seller.
  • Don’t waste your time check the information on seaway bill.

Information on SWB must be the same as information of manifest.

You can say business often use referrals for the verification.

  • Seaway bill used when the buyer and seller trust each other.

And both parties have the confidence to complete the shipping process.

  • However, Seaway bill provides you the ownership of goods.

And keep one thing in your mind without ownership SWB cannot work.

  • Above all, trust is the only guarantee of the seaway bill document.

Of course, in that case,you can face some difficulties like in the customs clearance process.

  • Some of the countries don’t believe in the trust relations they avoid to use this type of bill of lading.
  • If both parties belong to the same organization/company,the best option is seaway bill of lading.
  • If you take a look at the example of some donation based shipping products.

All the products are advised to ship through seaway bill of lading.

  • Some banks accept seaway bill of lading for the purpose of shipping payment.

Seaway Bill Process Level

Seawaybill process level

If you are confused about the workflow of seaway bill of lading, continue reading:

Step 1

On the first step, you can book your shipment, pack your cargo in suitable containers.

Step 2

After booking and packing, you need to complete the customs clearance process (customs clearance is the responsibility of carrier).

Step 3

Send a brief description of products and bill details to the shipping company for getting bill draft.

Step 4

The shipping company or the freight forwarder send you the request for the validation and confirmation.

If a company finds the correct information, then the process will continue with the same flow.

As a result, the shipping company sends the notice to receive the products at the port of destination.

Step 5

Consignee must provide some referrals to validate the process.

Contents to fill out on the seaway bill

You need to fill out some important information in seaway bill of lading

Let’s check below:

  1. Consignee name
  2. Shipper name
  3. Carrier name
  4. Place of receipt
  5. Exporting carrier
  6. Port of discharge
  7. Product description according to the quantity, quality,and nature of products
  8. Number of packages
  9. Number of containers/ vessels
  10. The weight of the container
  11. Gross weight of cargo
  12. Measurement
  13. Port of loading
  14. Place of delivery
  15. Cargo insurance (if applicable)
  16. To obtain delivery contact

Generally speaking, the seaway bill is not like an original bill of lading.

But also need full attention to fill for smooth shipping process.

Advantages and disadvantages of sea waybill

Advantages and disadvantages of bol

Here are the points why you should use the seaway bill.

First and foremost advantage of the seaway bill of lading is “it doesn’t need original Bill of Lading to receive the products from the destination port.”

You can save your time by sending the letter of recommendation of your company by email or any other mode of communication.

1) Benefits of using seaway bills (Advantages of Seaway Bill)

Remember now you are not stuck with the large community to ship your products.

Just carrier, shipper and consignee involved in the complete shipping process.

Some of the benefits you need to know before use:

  1. The procedure for using the seaway bill is very simple.
  2. You can operate this bill conveniently, no hard work required to transfer products.
  3. Seaway bill is a reference receipt and used for the security purpose

But the question is how is it secure?

Simple it’s not negotiable and can’t transfer to the third party.

  1. Best, no documentation required for the authorization of shipment.
  2. Immediate process of shipping, everything includes from the start to end.
  3. Cost-effective delivery of consignment helps to resolve all the problems of short distance shipping.
  4. Keep that in mind; this is not a document of title; you can use it as an electronic bill of lading.

Disadvantages of seaway bill

You may face some difficulties with the use of a seaway bill of lading.

The first drawback, like stock, cannot be maintained actively in this type of bill.

2) The shortage of shipping orders

The International Maritime Committee(Agency to deal with shipping process) helps to improve the shipping process.


It helps to formulate uniform rules for sea freight and air freight service.

The limitations of the sea waybill mainly indicated in the following piece of content:

  1. Look, the shipper works as consignee,but he’s not contactor of shipping.

And also remember he has even no direct connection with the carrier.

  1. Indeed, the original consigner has no right to use issued seaway bill again.

Surprisingly, the shipper is allowed to interfere in a contract of carriage.

But he can add or remove something on behalf of the consignee.

In a way,the carrier has the right to receive the products easily.

Seaway bill is just a receipt for the shipping of the products.

You must remember shipper and carrier have authorized relationship, and terminate the right of the consignee.

Now the carrier is the authorized person to ship your products.

  1. You cannot transfer your Products under the seaway bill till order not arrived at the destination port.
  2. If importer refuses to pay the charges your shipping process ultimately in danger.

But every problem has a solution.

You can use bank option to keep your cargo secure.

You know the seaway bill is the additional document for the bill of lading.

It helps to improve the international trade experience.

Pros and Cons of Seaway bill of Lading



Time-Saving process


Best thing is shipper don’t need to wait for original documents for the transfer of products.

Most important, seaway bill is non-negotiable.
No need to deposit any charges to the shipping agent at the destination port.Presentation of cargo is more as compare to original consignment.
No need to send your documents by courier service Seaway bill can send by electronic mail.If once shipment released, there’s no way to stop the process.
You can transfer of cargo by seaway bill immediately.


Best thing is shipping process without any extra formality.

If you send your documents by courier, then wait for the arrival of documents.

Seaway bill terms and conditions

Terms and conditions

Regulations related to goods

Some of the people think how sea waybill help to ship the products safely.

Here’s a secret behind

The carrier should need to follow all rules and regulations to transfer products safely.

In the meantime,the carrier is also responsible for paying customs duty, and expenses of shipping.

In the case of inappropriate packing, incorrect numbering and labeling carrier is answerable.

Freight and charges

You can get your products on the receipt (seaway bill),and your dealer provides all particulars to calculate the exact freight.

Seaway bill helps to avoid any inconvenience on the way of shipping.

Sometime Carrier needs to open the container or re-measure the weight.

If you request to do so, you must pay to the carrier for this purpose.

Although, the carrier is responsible for any danger and risk during the shipping process.

Received products may be damaged or mismanaged, don’t worry carrier will help you to recover.

Description of goods

Of course,the product description is really important to mention in the bill.

Seaway bill is the receipt of cargo you want to deliver.

So, you need to mention the brief description of the products which you want to ship.

Especially the number of goods, number of containers and even condition of products at the loading time.

Some things are mandatory to ensure the security of cargo.

Guess what?

The weight of the individual products and the total weight of the package.

As well as contents, measures, the number of goods and detail quality description.

Usually, products compare on the destination port as according to the description on the seaway bill.

Inspection of goods

In the final analysis, the carrier is responsible for the ups and downs during the shipping process.

So, the carrier has the right to inspect the products before loading into the container.

And he allowed checking products during the way sooner or later.

The carrier needs to check the measure and quality of products under the seaway bill of lading.


The transit time of shipping is the estimated idea of duration from the loading port to the destination port.

With seaway bill normally consignment arrived at specific time.

But some time natural disasters and accidents waste some extra time.

To be sure, the carrier is not responsible for such type of delays.

Dangerous Goods

All the harmful and dangerous products particularly radioactive material need to apply some specific regulations for shipping.

First thing,the carrier should need to understand the nature of goods (inflammable, radioactive and bitter).

Second,The merchant should take care of packing way as according to the rules and regulations.

If the shipment process disturbed by the carelessness of the carrier,for this reason, he will pay for it.

Carrier’s responsibility

You know the process of shipping includes shipper, carrier and freight forwarder.

Every person has equally important responsibilities to ship the products.

Before checking some of the duties of the carrier you need to read all rules and regulations behind the seaway bill of lading.

First and foremost duty of carrier is to keep the receipt of shipping product safely.

One thing carrier should keep in his mind Rules and Regulations of shipping when products loaded into the container

Safety measures for the shipping process:

It’s pretty important to keep the receipt of shipping products safely.

Follow the rules and regulations on the backside of the seaway bill help to continue a smooth shipping process.

Waybill tracking is the additional feature to take care of your cargo during the journey.

You can use UPS waybill tracking and DHL waybill tracking service to get the exact position of cargo.

It’s time to get into the Nitti gritty, the carrier must follow all practical implications from the agreement.

I want to give the advice to follow on different steps like:

  • Need to follow the rules at the time of loading into container/vessel.
  • During the time from the loading port to the destination port.
  • When products discharge from the container.
  • Especially during the storage process after receiving products.

You can say throughout the time.

Restricted Cargo

Restricted Cargo

Another key point which is very important to know

In some cases, you need to ship dangerous products like poisonous and highly reactive items.

Let’s check some instructions about:

  1. You can’t transfer refrigerated products without prior notice.

If you insist on transferring then the carrier is not responsible for any loss or damage.

  1. If your goods are delicate, put appropriate packing otherwise carrier shall not pay for the breakdown and damage.


You need to allocate the refrigerated area before loading the products into the vessel.

In this way, you can keep your consignment secure.

Special Delivery

Special delivery is not a complicated procedure.

You have a lot of products to ship then the shipping company provides a special arrangement of Full Container Load (FCL) or oppositely Less Container Load (LCL).

Well, you can use FCL or LCL service for your convenience.

But the carrier isn’t responsible for any loss and damage to goods.

Most of the people ask “How can I secure my shipment?”

You need to pay some additional charges to the carrier for security.

Once payment transferred carrier will be the responsible for any discrepancies even until products delivered to the consignee.

Methods and Routes of Carriage

Carrier may start shipping journey at any time

  • You can use any way of the carriage, transfer your products by railway freight, sea freight,and air freight service.
  • Use air freight for speedy service but if you want to ship some delicate products then use sea freight.

Not a document of title

You know seaway bill is the evidence of carriage and receipt of cargo.

Although the process of shipping by seaway bill is simple.

The first step is the ownership of shipper, then bring the products from the factory to the loading port.

The third and final step is releasing consignment from the discharge port.

On the other side shipper transfer the ownership to the carrier by the seaway bill.

The positive point is, the carrier need not an original bill of lading to deliver products.

And even consignee need not have a hard copy of the bill to receive cargo.

Seaway bill is not a document of the title so products cannot transfer to the third party according to the rules.

Law and Authority Control

Whenever you need to claim your products in case of damage and discrepancy.

Don’t panic and claim according to the laws and regulations.

Sometimes you pay to the carrier to get additional service of protection.

Hope you will find your cargo super fit.

But in case, cargo get scratches carrier will pay for your loss.

General Average

Unfortunately, when you face a natural disaster or accident.

According to rules carrier have to pay general average.

In other words, he has to pay the estimated amount of products.

You need to pay security charges to the carrier to make your consignment secure.

The difference and connection between sea waybill and bill of lading

Seaway bill VS. Bill of lading

The point where people get stuck let me tell you something about:

As I explained above, bill of lading is receipt and contract of carriage as well as a certificate of ownership.

Comparatively seaway bill is different it’s not a document of title.

Bill of lading is a document of title and allow to transfer ownership to the third party.

Oppositely seaway bill restricted not to transfer authority to the third party.

Best thing is you can track your cargo status by seaway bill tracking system with no cost.

Telex Release VS Express Release

You know, some terms confuse the people in the commercial enterprise.

The thing you must clear in your mind is, these terms are not the type of bill of lading.

With the telex release what you can do?

First, bill of lading issued second printed and at third step surrendered.

Contrarily by the express release no bill of lading issued or printed.

Telex Release

telex released

Telex Release

Actually, Telex Release is the notification which sent to the shipper at the loading port.

In other words the message by agent or shipping company.

It’s a notification to assure all issued original bill of lading surrendered.

This message allows to release the cargo; this is the evidence of shipping from the loading port to the destination port.

After getting the telex release message, agent discharge the shipment without any original bill of lading.

But keep one thing in your mind, telex release is not for the negotiable bill of lading it’s just for the straight bill of lading.

Express Release

express release

A particular case of shipping, when both parties belong to the same group or company and no need to negotiate with each other via bank or directly.

Then express release works.

No original bill of lading is required to complete the shipping process.

Any type of documentation is not necessary for the approval from the loading port to the destination port.

Express Release works when the shipper is very busy and have no time to print the bill of lading & courier the bill to the consignee.

You know the shipper is the freight forwarder mentioned on the bill.

In short, when the cargo shipped by seaway bill, the shipping is called express release.

The key difference between Telex Release and Express Release

You must keep in your mind both terms are not the same.

Telex Release is a message issued for the original Bill of Lading which is in the hard form issued and surrendered.

In other case Express Release issued only for seaway bill of Lading, no hard copy required to release the cargo from the loading port.

Difference between Ocean, Sea Waybill and Memo Bill of Lading

Ocean Bill of Lading

Ocean bill of lading issued by the shipper to the customers.

You need to complete your documents according to the rules of a specific country.

You know the ocean Bill of Lading is a document which is negotiable.

This document works as a contract of carriage, receipt of shipping products and also a document of title.

Additional properties of the ocean bill of lading it’s signed and stamped.

And also serves as a negotiable document.

As well as provide six extra non-negotiable copies of the bill.

If the buyer wants to resell the products again, then ocean bill of lading allows endorsing the document to the third party.

Sea waybill of Lading

The type of bill with advanced technology.

A hard copy of sea waybill is not required to receive products at the destination port.

  • Sea waybill operate as receipt of cargo
  • waybill works as evidence of carriage
  • Non-negotiable sea bill of lading, used between two groups of the same

Memo Bill of Lading

Short form of Memorandum bill of Bill of Lading.

Most important about this bill, non-negotiable and nontransferable bill of lading.

Memo BOL used as a receipt of products and evidence of carriage.

This bill also not works as a document of a title like a sea waybill (ownership cannot transfer to the third party)

Seaway bill vs. Original Bill of lading

Which documents required to ship your products is a little bit difficult question.

Before selecting the document, you must have knowledge about original Bill of Lading and sea waybill of lading.

And what is the difference between these documents?

Original Bill of Lading

bill of lading example form Best vic s bill of lading template

Original bill of lading issued by the shipper and send to the carrier.

After getting this vital document carrier clear all the process release cargo for air freight and sea freight.

B/L Works as receipt of products, evidence of carriage and document of title.

You know the sea waybill is now the most recommended mode of the bill of lading.

SWB offers you the fastest way of the shipping the products.

Sea waybill works when the shipper and importer have a strong trust-based relationship.

No original bill of lading is required to release the cargo for the destination port.

This piece of document used when shipper and carrier need immediate service.

Sea waybill uses as evidence of carriage, receipt of products not the document of title.

In short, this type of bill helps to make the shipping process easy.

When cargo release from the discharge ports it’s called “Express release bill of lading.”

Difference between Master Bill of Lading and House Bill of Lading

Do you know the Master Bill of Lading issued by the main carrier?

Carrier is responsible for the delivery of the products safely according to the terms and conditions.

House Bill of Lading issued by freight forwarder to deliver the products at the destination port.

Frequently Asked Questions about the sea waybill of lading


1. Can I use a Sea Waybill and a Bill of Lading for the same shipment?

Actually,this’s not possible.

You can use only one shipping document for the same shipment.

Bill of Lading and seaway bill cannot use for the same shipment.

2. When express Bill of Lading used?

You can use this piece of the document when no bank negotiation involved.

3. Is it allowed to ship my frozen and chilled products in a container?

If you’re going to ship frozen products, you need to inform freight forwarder first.

Second, your container must be refrigerated or reefer container.

Give complete details (nature of products) to your freight forwarder before loading the container

4. Can I manage email release cargo to the consignee?

Yes, But You need to have to surrender Original bill of lading.

And provide the letter of intent at the bill of lading discharge port.

5. What is surrender Bill of Lading?

Surrender bill of lading is a document issued by the exporter by which importer can get ownership of products.



So, it’s all about seaway bill.

As you see how seaway bill replaces original bill of lading.

In my opinion, this piece of document is most appropriate to establish your trading business.

So whenever you start your business make sure you know about the seaway bill of lading functions.

Most important to evaluate which bill of lading suits you the best.

If you get confused about anything about shipping, don’t worry and contact BansarChina.

Good Luck!

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