Type of BL – Original B/L, Surrendered B/L, Sea Waybill
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About type of BL

Video of This Article

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This is 5:01 video.

Today, I clearly talk about Types of B/L in International Logistics.

About Role of B/L

Before talking about Types of B/L, let’s overview the basic role of B/L.

B/L is an important document in International Logistics,and an importer must obtain B/L for picking up a cargo.Then B/L is exchanged for D/O, a delivery note.

The importer picks up the cargo with the D/O. Note that B/L is not the only requirement to pick up a cargo. B/L has to be exchanged to D/O, for picking up a cargo.

The basic role of B/L is explained in another video.Check the link in the explanation section of this video for more details.

Types of B/L

Now, let’s look at Types of B/L.
The main 3 types are as follows:

・Original B/L
・Surrendered B/L
・Sea Waybill

Let’s take a look at it one by one.

About Original B/L

First, Original B/L.Original B/L is issued in 3 copies. It comes in a set of 3.You may have the 3 copies in 2 deliveries to avoid loss risk as a business custom.

Original B/L, as the name implies, is original.
An importer must have Original B/L, not a copy,to pick up a cargo.

Original B/L Flow

Let’s take a look at Original B/L flow.

When a vessel leaves a port, Original B/L is issued and sent by an export side forwarder.
The exporter sends Original B/L to the importer by courier, such as DHL or FedEx.
Once the vessel arrives at a port, an import side forwarder issues D/O.
Getting Original B/L, the importer exchanges it for D/O.

Although there is a loss risk because Original is handled, this is the flow of Original B/L.

About Surrendered B/L

Next, Surrendered B/L. Surrendered B/L is also commercially referred to as Surrender.
Surrendered B/L is featured, as “Speed” and “Copy is acceptable.”

First of all, what does “Surrender” mean? Surrender means collecting B/L by an original land, which means collecting B/L at exporting side. Once it is surrendered, B/L may not be Original.

The importer can get D/O by getting a B/L copy instead of Original. Surrendered B/L is stamped as “Surrendered” and “Telex Release.” “Telex Release” means the same as “Surrender”.

Surrender B/L Flow

Why is Surrender B/L for? Nowadays, due to high speed of a vessel, it may arrive at a port before Original B/L is issued and reaches an importer.

Especially marine transport take only 3 or 4 days to get to near countries’ ports. An importer cannot quickly pick up cargo without Original B/L.

However, unlike Original B/L, which sends the Original document, with Surrendered B/L, an exporter can surrender B/L by instructing a forwarder and paying the cost at export side.

The exporter emails the copy of B/L to an importer. And it’s done. The importer can exchange the B/L copy for D/O.This allows for speedy trade transactions. It also reduces the risk of losing B/L.

About Sea Waybill

Finally, Sea Waybill. Sea Waybill is a bit different from B/L and it is not a security.
This will be explained at another time, but Waybill is not used for any trade using L/C.

But Waybill has a big advantage.Once Waybill is issued and the importer is identical to the consignee in the document, he can easy to pick up the cargo.

In addition, there is no courier delivery cost of Original B/L and surrender costs for Surrendered B/L. Sea Waybill is easy, fast and cheap.

Sea Waybill Flow

The flow goes like this.

An exporter initially asks for Waybill to be issued, not B/L.
Once the vessel departs a port, Waybill is issued and a copy is sent to an exporter.
The exporter e-mails the copy to an importer.
The importer can pick up D/O, being proved to be the Waybill owner.
In the extreme, if Waybill is issued and the importer can prove that to be its owner, the cargo can be picked up.

Anyway, quick and easy is what makes Sea Waybill so special. However, there is also a risk associated with it. Because, once Waybill is issued, the cargo can be picked up.

The exporter may have a payment collection risk. If it’s Original B/L or Surrendered B/L, you can control the payment. With Waybill, it is more difficult.

Therefore, in order to use Sea Waybill,the business relationship with your trading partners will be important, such as, parent and subsidiaries, or, a long business track record.


Today, I talked about Types of B/L.

Original B/L
Surrendered B/L
Sea Waybill

Each of these B/Ls has its own characteristics. Please make sure you understand this content, and try to have smooth trade deals!

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