Original Bill of Lading

Original Bill of Lading

Original Bill of Lading


The Original Bill of Lading is a shipping document or a contract of carriage which serves as the title of the cargo and a shipment receipt. This document confirms the carrier’s receipt of the cargo. When an original bill of lading is issued, 2 other identical original bills of lading are printed and issued together as one single contract of carriage.

This is in order for the consignee or the receiver to gain the release of the shipment upon reaching the destination, at least one of the original bills must be signed by the importer or their agent.

This document must be surrendered to the steamship line. As long as the shipper retains the original bill of ladings, they may receive payment prior to the release of the originals to the consignee or buyer. In these cases, most importers either prepay or fix credit terms with their suppliers, which allows them to enable shipments to be released on “express bills.”

When your cargo is released, the OBL (original bills of lading) must also be provided before the delivery of cargo to its final destination. There are 2 ways in which cargo can be released with an original bill of lading:

  • With an endorsed original bill of lading.

  • With a telex release- a paperless system of communication.


Usually, an original bill of lading is released in three original (negotiable) and three or six non-negotiable copies. The OBL can be consigned to the order of consignee, a bank, or shipper. These bills of lading can be endorsed to a 3rd party during the transit of the goods. You may have the three copies in two deliveries to avoid loss risk as a business custom. Original BOL, as the name implies, is original. An importer must have an Original document, not a copy to pick up a cargo.


Original Bill of Lading Flow:

  • When a vessel leaves a port, Original Bill of Lading is issued.

  • Original BOL is sent to the Shipper by the export side forwarder.

  • The Shipper sends the Original documents of BOL to the Consignee by courier.

  • Once the vessel arrives at a port, the import side forwarder issues Delivery Order (D/O).

  • Getting Original BOL, the Consignee exchanges it for Delivery Order.


Difference between Original Bill of Lading and Sea Waybill of lading:


The original bill of lading and Sea waybill of lading serves the following purposes:

  Original Bill of Lading Sea Waybill of Lading

1. Evidence of contract of carriage

2. Acknowledge receipt of cargo

3.Document of title to the goods

1. Evidence of contract of carriage

2. Acknowledge receipt of cargo



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