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The 9 Standard Types of “Bill of Lading” Documents

Views: 29     Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2022-10-24      Origin: Site


In foreign trade, the bill of lading is a document issued to the consignor by the transportation department when the goods are carried. The consignee picks up the goods with the bill of lading to the transportation department of the freight destination. The bill of lading must be signed by the carrier or the ship before it can take effect. It is one of the valid documents for the declaration of goods by sea to the customs.


The 9 Standard Types of “Bill of Lading” Documents, as follows:


The 9 Standard Types of “Bill of Lading” Documents



1. Distinguish according to the header information of the consignee of the bill of lading


    ① Straight B/L: Refers to the bill of lading that specifically fills in the name of a specific person or company in the consignee column on the straight B/L. The named consignee takes delivery of the goods when it presents an original bill of lading to the carrier or its agent. Although a named bill of lading is a certificate of entitlement, it is not negotiable. In China, a registered bill of lading is not transferable.


     ② Bearer B/L (or Open B/L, or Blank B/L): There is no consignee or ORDER in the bill of lading, that is, any holder of the bill of lading has the right to pick up the goods. A bill of lading to deliver goods to whoever is the holder of the bill of lading. If the bill of lading 1, clearly indicates that it is a bearer bill of lading; 2, it refers to the consignee as a bearer; 3, it serves as an instruction bill of lading but fails to indicate whose instructions it is based on; 4, it is a blank endorsed instruction bill of lading. Bearer bills of lading can be transferred without endorsement.


    ③ Order B/L: refers to the bill of lading with the words to Order or to the Order of in the consignee column on the bill of lading. The former is called a bearer order bill of lading, and the carrier should deliver the goods according to the shipper's instructions; the latter is called a bearer order bill of lading, and the carrier delivers the goods according to the instructions of the named orderer.



2. According to whether the goods have been shipped


    ① Shipped B/L (or On Board B/L): refers to the bill of lading issued to the shipper by the carrier or its authorized agent according to the chief mate's receipt after the goods are loaded on board. If the carrier issues an on-board bill of lading, it confirms that he has the goods on board.


    ② Received for Shipment B/L: It is a bill of lading issued by the carrier at the request of the shipper when the carrier receives the goods delivered by the shipper but has not yet been shipped.



3. According to whether there is an annotation on the bill of lading


    ① Clean B/L: Refers to the bill of lading that the goods are in good appearance when loaded, and the carrier has not added any damage to the goods, poor packaging or other obstacles to the settlement of foreign exchange.


    ② Unclean B/L (or Foul B/L): refers to the bill of lading marked by the carrier on the bill of lading that the goods and packaging are in poor condition or defective, such as water wet, oil stains, stains, rust, etc.



4. According to different modes of transportation


    ① Direct B/L: Refers to the bill of lading issued after the goods are loaded from the port of loading and directly sailed to the port of unloading without changing ships midway.


    ② Transhipment B/L: Refers to the full bill of lading issued by the carrier at the port of shipment for the goods to be transshipped midway before reaching the port of destination.


    ③ Through B/L: Refers to the goods that need to be transported by two or more modes of transportation (sea-land, sea-river, sea-air, sea-sea, etc.) After that, the bill of lading for the whole journey from the place of departure to the port of destination is issued. Although the intermodal bill of lading includes the entire transportation, the carrier that issues the bill of lading is only responsible for the cargo damage that occurs during a voyage of its own transportation. This bill of lading is of the same nature as the transshipment bill of lading.


    ④ MultimodaL Transport B/L (or Intermodal Transport B/L): Refers to the bill of lading signed for the entire transportation of goods by two or more modes of transportation, such as sea, inland river, railway, road, and air.



5. Classification according to the content of the bill of lading


    ① Long Form B/L: Compared with the simplified bill of lading, it refers to the bill of lading except for the items recorded in the bill of lading format printed on the front side, and the back side lists the detailed terms on the rights and obligations between the carrier, the shipper and the consignee. . Due to the variety of terms, it is also called "traditional bill of lading".


    ② Short Form B/L (or Simple B/L): Also known as short form bill of lading, short form bill of lading, which is relative to full form bill of lading, it means that there is no relationship between the carrier, the shipper and the consignee on the back of the bill of lading. Bill of lading with detailed terms such as rights and obligations.



6. According to the time of issuing the bill of lading


    ① Anti-dated B/L: Refers to the bill of lading issued by the carrier at the request of the shipper after the goods are loaded on board, and the date of issuance of the bill of lading is earlier than the actual date of completion of the loading.


    ② Post-date B/L: Refers to after the goods are loaded. The carrier or shipping agent shall, at the request of the owner, take the date of issuance of the bill of lading later than the date when the actual shipment of the goods is completed.


    ③ Advanced B/L: It means that the shipper fails to prepare the goods in time or has not completed the shipment due to the arrival of the shipment period and the period for settlement of documents stipulated in the L/C, or the ship fails to complete the shipment due to the shipping company. Inward arrival on board the ship, the on-board bill of lading issued in advance by the carrier or its agent at the request of the shipper. All responsibilities arising from the advance bill of lading shall be borne by the issuer of the bill of lading.


    ④ Stale B/L: It means that the exporter fails to arrive at the bank in time after obtaining the bill of lading, or fails to negotiate after the time limit for presentation specified by the bank, resulting in an expired bill of lading, which is also commonly known as demurrage bill of lading.



7. Divided by charging method


    ① Freight Prepaid B/L: The CIF and CFR conditions in the transaction price are freight prepaid. When consigning the goods according to regulations, the freight must be prepaid. Bill of lading issued with freight prepaid


    ② Freight to Collect B/L: refers to the bill of lading indicating that the freight is paid by the consignee at the port of destination, and the bill of lading indicates that the freight is paid on delivery, otherwise it cannot be against the consignee.


    ③ Minimum B/L: Refers to the bill of lading issued by charging the freight according to the minimum charging standard for the goods on each bill of lading.



8. According to the different divisions issued by the bill of lading


    ① Bill of lading issued by the shipping company: usually a bill of lading is issued for the whole container of goods


    ② NVOCC B/L: A bill of lading issued by a freight forwarding company or a logistics company using itself as the carrier and signing a contract of carriage of goods with the consignor.



9. Special bill of lading


    ① Omnibus B/L: Refers to the bill of lading that combines different kinds of goods on the same bill of lading at the request of the shipper.


    ② Combined B/L: Refers to two or more batches of liquid bulk cargo of the same variety, quality, port of loading and unloading, but belonging to different consignees and packed in the same liquid cargo tank, and each batch is divided into A bill of lading issued by the consignee of the goods and stamped with the seal of 'Consolidation Clause'.


    ③ Separate B/L: Refers to the bill of lading issued by subdividing the same batch of goods on the loading list into two or more batches.


    ④ Switch B/L: Refers to another set of bills of lading issued with the original bill of lading. Under the condition of direct transportation, at the request of the shipper, the carrier undertakes to issue another set at an agreed midway port with the bill of lading issued at the port of departure, taking the midway port as the port of departure.


    ⑤ On Deck B/L: Also known as the deck cargo bill of lading. This refers to the bill of lading marked On Deck on the bill of lading when the goods are carried on the weather deck.


    ⑥ Parcel Receipt B/L: Refers to the bill of lading issued for the goods consigned in the form of parcels. This is a bill of lading set by the carrier according to the special needs of the trade, and the weight must not exceed 45kg.


    ⑦ Container B/L: refers to the bill of lading issued for the shipping container. It is the main shipping document under containerized cargo transportation. The operator or its agent responsible for container transportation issues the bill of lading to the shipper after receiving the containerized cargo.



Common Problem

1. Why sometimes foreign merchants can pick up the goods without a bill of lading?

We know that the bill of lading should theoretically be a "document of title", that is, whoever "legally obtains" the bill of lading is equivalent to getting the goods.


There are Shipper, Carrier, Consignee, Notify Party on the bill of lading. Among them, Consignee determines the ownership of the goods.


There are usually two ways to fill in Consignee:


One is TO ORDER or TO ORDER OF..., that is, who the consignee is has not been determined, this kind of bill of lading can be freely transferred by endorsement (the original holder signs on the back of the bill of lading, indicating the transfer), which is more expensive----- Because whoever gets the bill of lading "legally" owns the goods. Such a bill of lading is called a "bill of lading". In the operation of the bearer bill of lading, foreign businessmen have no right to pick up the goods if they cannot get the original bill of lading (unless the freight forwarder and shipping company mess up and release the goods without a bill of lading illegally), it is very safe, and it is recommended for everyone to use it. Under the letter of credit, the bank usually also requires the issuance of such a bill of lading.


The other is Straight B/L, that is, the "Consignee" column specifies the name and address of the consignee's company (usually a foreign businessman), and only this company can pick up the goods. Because the consignee is specified, it is useless even if others get the bill of lading, and the bill of lading cannot be transferred. On the other hand, just because the consignee is dead, only he can pick up the goods, so some countries recognize that the consignee can pick up the goods even if he does not have the original copy, as long as he proves his identity.


This is why we encounter foreign merchants who can pick up the goods without getting the original bill of lading in our business.


In this case, handing over the goods to the freight forwarder to issue a bill of lading is almost equivalent to direct delivery to foreign merchants. If the payment for the goods is not recovered at this time, there is a certain risk, and it is up to the foreign businessmen to decide whether to pay or not. The registered bill of lading also loses the validity of the "certificate of title".


2. Which countries can pick up the goods without the original Straight B/L?

Not all countries can take delivery without the original (Straight B/L).


At present, there are two mainstream legal systems in the world, the common law system and the civil law system. Among them, only the common law system, in the past that the name bill of lading is not a document of title. Therefore, countries in the common law system are prone to the phenomenon of privately picking up goods under a registered bill of lading.


Common law countries include:

United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, Hong Kong, New Zealand, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Singapore, Bahamas, Botswana, Brunei, Cameroon, Cyprus, Fiji, Gambia, Ghana, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Kenya, Kiribati, Lesotho , Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Nauru, Nigeria, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Tanzania, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, Uganda, etc. .


When in doubt, you can check online whether the foreign business belongs to a common law country.


However, even in Anglo-American countries (including the United Kingdom), there have been some cases in recent years, which hold that a registered bill of lading is also a document of title. In the common law system, precedent is the law, which can be regarded as a turning point. Even so, we must be cautious. After all, prevention is the main thing. Once an accident occurs, even if the lawsuit is won, it will not be worth the loss for the vast majority of small and medium-sized export enterprises. What's more, it's not always possible to win the battle, and it is easy for experienced foreign businessmen to turn lawsuits into commercial disputes and wrestle for a few years.


Therefore, for unfamiliar foreign businessmen, especially D/P ones, it is best to use the registered bill of lading with caution. In fact, if the name is not registered, it will not bring too much inconvenience to foreign businessmen in serious business operations.


3. Are HBL and MBL bills of lading the same thing?

In practice, we will encounter two types of bills of lading: the owner's bill of lading and the freight forwarder's bill of lading. The shipowner is the freight company that owns the ocean-going freighter. An ocean-going freighter costs a lot of money, and a company with its own ocean-going fleet is naturally strong. In a sense, such companies are also more secure, because they pay more attention to reputation when doing long-term business, and they will not destroy their reputation for petty profits. Relatively speaking, they are more formal in operation. Another freight company is a freight forwarder, or freight forwarder for short. The freight forwarder does not own a ship, and in a sense, the nature is similar to that of an ordinary trading company. After they solicited the goods, they took it to the shipowner to book the space together. We might as well regard the difference and relationship between shipowners and freight forwarders as wholesalers and retailers, and commodities are the "space" of ocean-going freighters. The shipowner wholesales the space to the freight forwarder, and the freight forwarder retails the space to us.


It is not difficult to imagine that although the ship owner is safe, it is inevitable that the "store will overwhelm customers", and the flexibility and attentiveness of the service are often inferior to that of the freight forwarder. There are a large number of freight forwarders and a wide distribution. It is very convenient to communicate with us in foreign trade, and we are more willing to cooperate with our operations, especially the special operations such as "back-signed bills of lading" mentioned above. Therefore, in actual work, it is more common for us to deal with freight forwarders.


On the surface, the shipowner's bill of lading and the freight forwarder's bill of lading have similar effects. We sell the original bill of lading to a foreign businessman, and the foreign businessman can pick up the goods with the bill of lading. But there is actually a difference. First of all, the bill of lading itself is a kind of "transportation contract". When the freighter issues the bill of lading to us, it is equivalent to signing a contract of carriage. The shipowner's bill of lading is a contract between us and the shipowner, but the freight forwarder's bill of lading is not. We hand over the goods to the freight forwarder, and the freight forwarder hands it to the shipowner. There is a shipping agreement between the freight forwarder and the shipowner. The shipowner is only responsible to the freight forwarder and not to the owner, because under the operation of the freight forwarder's bill of lading, for the shipowner , the freight forwarder is the "cargo owner".


Therefore, with the owner's bill of lading, you can pick up the goods directly at the destination port; but the freight forwarder bill of lading is not acceptable. You need to take the freight forwarder bill of lading to the port agent to "replace the order", that is, issue a delivery notice according to the freight forwarder bill of lading, and then pick up the goods. Of course, for us the consignee, this is just an extra procedure on the surface, and it does not affect the pickup, so it is not a risk. On the contrary, we can use this to better control property rights. For example, after we hand the freight forwarder's bill of lading to the customer, we suddenly find that the customer has fraudulent behavior and may not give money. At this time, we can ask the freight forwarder for help and notify the destination port agent to "hold" the goods, so that the foreign businessmen can even hold the freight forwarder's bill of lading. The goods are also temporarily unavailable, to buy us valuable time (there is no official reason, and it is inconvenient to forcibly detain the goods at the destination port, which can only be delayed for a few days, but for foreign trade disputes, this delay is very beneficial to exporters).


In short, if there is an unfortunate accident in the transportation of goods, when we pursue the responsibility of the freight company, it is obvious that the powerful shipowner is more capable than the ordinary freight forwarder. Usually, the freight forwarder can cooperate with our work better than the ship owner. In handling the bill of lading flexibly and preventing commercial fraud, the help of the freight forwarder is very important. In addition, the freight forwarder's transportation price is also very advantageous, and there are often discounts.


The operation difference between MBL and HBL: MBL is the bill of lading of the shipping company; HBL is the bill of lading of the freight forwarder.


1. SHIPPER sends the consignment note to FORWARDER, indicating whether it is FCL or LCL.


2. FORWARDER makes a booking with the shipping company, after the ship is ON BOARD. Shipping company issues MBL to FORWARDER. MBL's SHIPPER is FORWARDER at the port of departure, and CNEE is generally the branch or agent of FORWARDER's destination port.


3. FOWARDER signs HBL to SHIPPER. HBL's SHIPPER is the real shipper. CNEE generally does the letter of credit as TO ORDER.


4. CARRIER will deliver the goods to the port of destination after the ship has opened.


5. FORWARDER will send MBL to the branch of destination port through DHL/UPS/TNT, etc. (INCLUDING: CUSTOM CLEARANCE DOCS)


6. After SHIPPER gets the bill of lading, it will present the document to the domestic negotiating bank within the presentation period and settle the foreign exchange. If you do T/TSHPPER, send the documents directly to foreign guests.


7. The negotiating bank settles the full set of documents to the issuing bank.


8. CNEE pays the redemption note to the issuing bank.


9. FORWARDER takes the MBL to the shipping company to change the order to pick up the goods and clear the customs.


10. CNEE took HBL to deliver goods to FORWARDER.

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