About Endorsement of B/L
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About Endorsement of B/L!

Video of This Article

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This is 6:13 Video !

Hello, it’s IINO.

Today I would like to explain about “B/L Endorsement” which is done in ocean freight forwarding.

First of all, what does B/L Endorsement mean? It is a signature written on the back of B/L.

We sometimes arrange for endorsement of B/L in a hurry when we pick up the cargo at the import side and, find that there is nothing written on the back of B/L.

Today, I will explain in detail about Endorsement of B/L, when and by whom is necessary.

So let’s get started.

B/L Is Securities

First of all, please understand that B/L stands bill of lading, which means it is securities.

B/L is the document that proves who is the owner of the cargo which is transported by ship or plane and delivered from the exporter to the importer.

B/L signed called “endorsement” transfers the right of ownership from the exporter to the importer.

In addition, Endorsement on B/L by the importer allows the forwarder to pick up the shipment as the importer’s agent.

So, let’s take a closer look about Endorsement of B/L.

What Endorsement of B/L Is

The front side of B/L contains the shipper, consignee and cargo details. On the back side, there is a lot of fine print in light gray or others.

There is written the terms and conditions which is the contract of carriage with the shipping company issuing B/L.

The company’s seal is stamped on the terms and conditions printed on the back of B/L and the person from that company signs it. This company name and signature is called Endorsement.

I have seen endorsements in the corners or in the black space where there is no printing on the back of B/L. However, there is no problem in writing Endorsement over the terms and conditions.

Also, it is normal to write Endorsement at an angle so that the terms and conditions can be read.

Whose Endorsement Needed

Now that you know what Endorsement is, let’s talk about whose endorsement is required.

First of all, it is important to note that whose Endorsement is needed depends on description of B/L.

There is the description of the exporter and importer on B/L.

B/L that includes the name and address of the importer is called STRAIGHT B/L.

On the other hand, which written “To Order” or “To Order Shipper” on Consginee section, instead of the specific name is called ORDER B/L.

The person who writes Endorsement is different between STRAIGHT B/L and ORDER B/L.


In STRAIGHT B/L, the names of the exporter or importer are listed on Consignee section.

When STRAIGHT B/L is issued, it is common for the exporter to send B/L directly to the importer.

Once the cargo arrives at the importing country, the ownership inevitably transfers to the importer. Therefore, the exporter’s Endorsement on B/L can be omitted.

Then, the importer does Endorsesment on B/L as proof of receipt of the shipment.

In Case of ORDER B/L

On the other hand, in ORDER B/L, it is not clear at first glance who the importer is since “To Order” or “To Order of someone (third party)” is written on Consignee section.

These B/L are that you can know the next owner by indicating the owner of B/L by the instructor of “To Order”.

In the case of ORDER B/L, it is important what is written in the Consignee section.

If Congsignee section says “To Order” or “To Order of Shipper”, Shipper’s Endorsement is required first.

In this case, Shipper, who is the rightful owner of the cargo, has the right to indicate the next rightful owner. However in most cases, only Shipper’s signature is endorsed and the next rightful owner is not specified.

This is called “Blank Endorsement” of Shipper.

Next, there may be that on ORDER B/L, Consignee section says To Order of the Bank or a third party. In that case, you will need Endorsement of the bank or third party.

As long as you have the bank or third party Endorsement, you do not need the Shipper’s signature.

The bank or third party would not be the final importer, so you will need Endorsement of the final importer in addition to them.

You should pay attention here. When the bank or third party endorse on B/L, they need to add one more phrase.

It is “To order of the actual owner of the shipment, the name and signature of the bank or third party”. This Endorsement is called “Special Endorsement”.

Special Endordorement is used when a bank or third party is designated as Consignee and then the final importer’s endorsement will be done on B/L.

It is important to remember that this B/L Endorsement is often done for L/C settlement.


I have explained Endorsement of B/L so far.

I would like to add something about WAYBILL and SURRENDER B/L, which are without the original B/L.

In principle, WAYBILL is in a state that anyone can pick up the cargo.

However, in order to prevent it, some shipping companies register the importer’s Endorsement in advance and will not hand over the pickup documents without the endorsement.

Also in case of SURRENDERED B/L, some companies require the importer to endorse a copy of the SURRENDERED B/L at the importing point, while B/L is collected at the exporting point.

It is best to check with the forwarder when you hand over B/L.


I explained Endorsement of B/L, this time.

If you are an exporter, you need to sign B/L if Consignee is not on it. And if an importer, need it for any B/L.

If you have the original B/L, check the back of it to make sure that there is a signature, which will lead to smooth import and export arrangements.

That’s all for today. Thank you very much for your time.

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