Bill of Lading procedures in triangular shipment What is switch Bill of Lading?


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How is Bill of Lading issued under a triangular shipment?


Suppose you are supplier of goods in India, you obtains export order from ABC China and  ABC gets purchase order from USA.

Once after completing nTriangular shipment Bill of Ladingecessary customs clearance procedures at load port, carrier issues Bill of Lading to you. The shipper under this bill of lading is you in India and consignee is your buyer ABC in China. The port of loading will be ‘your loading port’ and port of discharge and place of delivery are in USA as final port of discharge and final place of delivery. Once after discounting / negotiating your export bills, you send the said Bill of Lading to your buyer ABC in China along with other required documents as usual through your bank.



Once after receiving original bills of lading from you, ABC in China surrenders the said original Bills of Lading with the carrier and make arrangements to issue another Bill of Lading to him, by mentioning shipper as ABC,CHINA and consignee as ZYZ, USA. This bill of lading is called ‘switch bill of lading’. So ABC in China sends the said bill of Lading to his buyer XYZ, USA. The said switch Bill of lading is used by ABC for discounting or negotiating his export bills with Bank.   Surrender of Bill of Lading procedures and express release bill of lading procedures are also followed as regularly used in export trade.


Also read Documentation for triangular shipment   Triangular export   What is switch Bill of Lading?   Procedures and documentation on Triangular shipments
How to protect parties each other in triangular exports   Payment procedures in Triangular exports
Switching documents in triangular Exports and imports

I hope, I have explained about the Bill of Lading procedures in Triangular shipment.  Have you satisfied with this article about the mechanism of Bill of Lading under Triangular exports and imports?  Would you like to add more information about documentation of preparing Bill of Lading under Triangular trade in international business?  Share your experience in handling Bill of Lading under triangular imports and exports.


Comment below your suggestions about this article - Bill of Lading proceudres in triangular shipment.  What is Switch Bill of Lading.

The above information is a part of Online international business guide course

Other details on how to import export 


STALE BILL OF LADING What does it mean?   Difference between Clean On Board Bill of Lading and Shipped On Board Bill of Lading.   Can Original Bill of lading be surrendered under DP terms of payment  Can Original Bill of lading be surrendered under LC at sight   Can Bill of Lading be surrendered on LC terms   How to obtain a duplicate BL, if original bill of lading lost?  Can a Bill of Lading be consigned to a customs broker?   Can I get bill of lading before loading cargo   Can two consignments meant for one buyer be shipped together under one Bill of Lading?    Consignee To Order in Bill of Lading    How to avoid delay in receiving OBL Original Bill of Lading?   Amendment of Bill of Lading    How to amend shipper details in Bill of Lading?.   How to surrender HBL House Bill of Lading   Surrender of Bill of Lading Some facts How does Bill of Lading work in Sight LC.   How does Bill of Lading work in DP payment terms?   Can a Bill of Lading (BL) be predated for LC negotiation?   What is the earliest date can be mentioned on Bill of Lading. Can BL date and let export date be same day?   Can shipping line predate Bill of Lading,What is the earliest date can be mentioned on Bill of Lading.    What is Said to weigh in Bill of Lading   What is Shipper Load, stow and count in Bill of Lading    What is said to contain in Bill of Lading.   Can an importer take delivery of goods without original bill of lading?  What is House BL House Bill of Lading   Can Bill of Lading (BL) be before date of Certificate of origin GSP?   What is Express Release Bill of Lading?  Can Bill of Lading be surrendered at port of loading?    Transferability of Bill of Lading  What is charter party bill of lading ?   How  transshipment bill of lading works?   What is Combined Bill of Lading / Multi model Bill of Lading   Unclean Bill of Lading/Claused bill of lading/foul bill of lading/Dirty Bill of Lading   What is Clean on board Bill of Lading?  Is received for shipment Bill of Lading sufficient for LC negotiation?  Different types of Bill of Lading   3 Reasons under Importance of bill of lading in international trade   When can an exporter get bill of lading from shipping company?   



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OBL not released OBL not surrendered no telex release


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BALAJI: If I am bringing the consignment from Europe to Indian port & switch the b/l at USA. Can I mentioned USA buyer name in the documents like Certificate of origin & health certificate for clearance at India? What is the procedure to clear the same in India without revealing the Indian ultimate buyer name in the said above certificates?

admin: Hi Balaji, 1. Your question is brilliant but genuine and practical. Most of the countries allow to mention the details of your USA client (in your example) in Certificate of Origin, Health Certificate or any other specific documents if any. However, country of shipment and country of origin of goods will be European country. 2. If certificate of origin, health certificate and other specific documents if any issued by other agencies can be mentioned the details of USA customer, you can go ahead with other normal triangular shipment documentation which totally hide all details of Europe final seller from Indian final buyer. In other cases, you can appoint an agent who acts as an Importer in India. He completes import customs formalities and delivers cargo to the final buyer in India. Some of the customs brokers act as Importer also to protect such customers from contacting directly with final buyer and final seller.

Sanjay: Hello Balaji, Company A in India bought material from company B in Muscat and sold it to company C in Bahrain. The idea was that the company B would send the BL and other docs to company A in India and then the company A would switch BL in India and send a new BL and new set of Docs to the company C in Bahrain. Now the problem is that when the company B approached Maersk line and told tgem about this switch they said switching can't be done in India and Pakistan. They also added that the transit time from Oman, Muscat to Bahrain is just 11 days. I need to know- 1) is it true that the BLs can't be switched in India? 2) is it because of the short transit time that Maersk is not allowing switching? Rgds Sanjay Singh

Rajeev: Sir, Following Point No. 2 in your answer is not clear. Please elaborate. My question is how to hide name of the Actual export on Certificate of Origin ? admin Says : Wednesday, February 20, 2013 2.If certificate of origin, health certificate and other specific documents if any issued by other agencies can be mentioned the details of USA customer, you can go ahead with other normal triangular shipment documentation which totally hide all details of Europe final seller from Indian final buyer.

John: Hi Rajeev, Author is right, you can clarify with a good consultant in this regard.

santhosh Kumar: You have describe with very well manner, It is understandable, I wants seek with you," What is cross trading??

sagar singh: hi sir,this is sagar i am not getting how can you change certificate of origin of that product.because on certificate of origin you have to write origin country name and after that buyer will know about indian can you hide all these detail

Surendran Kollerath: Hi Sagar Singh, In a triangular shipment, final buyer may know that his supplier is sourcing goods from another country. So final buyer does not care about the country of origin of goods if no restrictions by importing country. So almost all final buyers are aware of country of originally manufactured.

G RAVI KUMAR: Sir, regarding triangular b/l or switch b/l I have small doubt. You infomred above that I am exporting consignemns to ABC,China. ABC China receive order from XYZ, USA. In the bill of lading, you also asked to mention Final Destination and place of delivery USA. Also mentioned to surrender by ABC, china. If ABC, China the B/L, how can get XYZ, USA delivery order. This BL has already surrendered by ABC,China's bank. Please explain With kind regards G Ravikumar cell:96772 80455

Manna: I would like to know how is switch bill of leading different from triangular bill of leading..... Kindly explain... Regards.

vinit naik: i have a FOB export order (shipment going to third country). t & c are adv payment (as this is a trial order of very less value) & on FOB. my buyer is in UK. the buyer wants his company name as the shipper on the b/l, is this possible, if yes please do explain the procedure. switch b/l is what i know of but he says his shipments ex china has his company name in the b/l.. please advise.

Uma: Afternoon, My question as follows:- 1. For Triangle shipment, if not required switch BL it is fine right? As long between the A / b / C companies are some how related. 2.Example the shipment from Singapore to USA and payable in Malaysia, the bill of lading should be remarked as "Freight Prepaid or Collect"? Obviously the BL will remark with condition "payable in Malaysia". However, the payment should be strictly remark as "Collect" or "Prepaid"? Or this is very subjective questions? Please advice. Thanks.

Admin: Hi Uma, Read all my artcles about Triangular shipment.

ANAND: Hello 1. Can switched BL be split into more than one switch BL within the total goods quantity?. 2. Will the switch BL will carry the same original BL No. ? 3. How to identify a particular switch BL is related to a particular original BL. Please explain , Thanks.

Admin: Hi Ravikumar, XYZ, USA can collect delivery order by submitting Switch Bill of Lading issued to ABC,China. ABC China can also surrender same switch bill of lading to the carrier and arrange to send a message to final destination of cargo for not insisting for Bill of Lading. or You submits your Bill of lading to your bank, your bank sends the same BL to xyz'bank. xyz'bank delivers same BL to xyz as per terms of delivery and payment. xyz submits the same Bill of lading with carrier to issue switch bill of lading. carrier issues switch bill of lading, this switch bill of lading is surrendered with carrier at destination port, collect delivery order from them, submits with custodian of cargo to release goods after import customs clearance of importing country.

sam: Dear Sir, Our buyer is asking for a guarantee letter from the us authorizing him to 'Switch the B/L". is it advisable? Following is the buyer's text: Please arrange to endorse the B/L by putting a company chop and signature on the back of all the original B/Ls.Kindly also please send a guarantee letter addressed to the shipping Company authorizing "ABC HONGKONG., Ltd." to switch for a new set of B/L in Hong Kong. Please arrange to send us the endorsed B/L and the guarantee letter. We can send you a guarantee letter, that we take full responsibility and liability for this change.

Jason: I am supplier in India, got a order from Europe and going to purchase from china. I am aware about the triangular shipment. But what is the procedure if I want to supply shipment on FOB China basis because my company is not registered in china.

Franky: It is known that OHBL is sent in cover in Air shipment. Is there a possibility of SWITCH HAWB in air shipment. Thank you.

Denster : Dear Sir, Need your assistant can we Express release or Surrender the 2nd Leg BL (sWITCH BL). Rgds Denster Pimenta

Husein Tinwala: Hi, Please provide your inputs wrt to following transaction: Company A, in India gets an order from Company B in china. Company A shall procure the goods from Company C in US. Now we wish to deliver the goods directly from US to China. How do we go about it? Do we require siwtch b/l in this case or we just have to mention in the BE/BL that "delivered to" and "nofify to" parties are different. please advice. Regards, Husein.

anton: dear Admin, how about POL?? can we write in the new BL from China ?? cause we also didn't want buyer know from where we ship.. Thanks

Farz : A export to B, but A receive the remitence by C. It may be sister concern company, is any objection from RBI by doing so Or any other way to get rid off this situation

Kuldeep Sabhnani : I have gone thru the site ''. Its a very informative site. I am specially interested in triangular transactions. My query is that in triangular transactions the Bill of Lading can be changed once the consignment reaches the agent from the supplier before sending the consignment to the consignee. Is it possible to change the country of origin of the goods as well? Ex. If my supplier is from China and consignee is in Uk and i am in India, can i ship the consigment first to India so that the country of origin of the goods can be changed to India instead of China. At times even if the product is good just because its Chinese the product is not accepted in certain countries. Pls let me know if there is a way out and if there is a legal procedure available . I understand that BIL can be changed but am not sure of COO.

Noel Jathanna : Can you please help & let me know the bank requirements for payment towards import & documents for export in case of 'SWITCH transaction' where material is purchased & sold without materials cleared in our country? It's import & export in the same transaction.

SAVITA UPADHYAY: I have a shpmt from India to Thailand which has to be Switched in Italy. now as the shpmt is going to thailand hence we have to also issue a COO (country of origin) for cnee to take a duty benefit, pls advise in Switch BL how can we issue the COO by hiding actual shpr of India that the end cnee of thailand should not come to know about the actual shpr. Appreciate you kind help

Pramod: Hi, I have a supplier in HK who can ship products directly to UK. I have paypal account in INDIA and I have eBay account. Suppose if some one from UK buys item in eBay then I will receive funds to my PayPal account in India. I will then order the product from HK supplier and send this Item directly to UK customer. In this case, what are the procedures?

murali : I happened to come across your blog on Import and Export and found the information very very useful. Thank you very much for such an informative blog. We are a non-profit section 25 company and we are working with artisans in Channapatna to promote the Channapatna handicraft. We are a livelihood development organisation involved in skill training and providing marketing support to artisans. Currently we are exporting our products and we are interested to explore selling our products directly to customers outside india through e-commerce. We would like to understand the documentation and procedures that we have to follow for this - billing, customs documents, bank procedures etc.

John: I'm buying cargo from china on CAD Basis. I'm in India. Cargo going to Dubai. How to make my documents ? Please suggest. I need to protect my end client from the chinese company.

raju: hi can i change Place of receipt and Port of loading in 2nd leg of switch BL cargo is loaded from India F/dest is yangon BL will be switch at singapore so can i mention POL as singapore in 2nd leg BL ?

Murali.R: Hi, Curious to know, what is the impact on Export Manifest at Load Port once a BL is switched at intermediate leg. Does the Export Manifest at load port needs ammendment ?. Thanks in advance Murali

Murali: Hi, Myself Murali and new to freight forwardign industry. can any one tell what is meant by: Exchange bill of lading, and in what scenario's the same can be used. Thanks in Advance

Puneet Singla: Hi, My Query is on Triangular shipment. Company 'A' an Indian company has given an order to a Finland company 'B' for a product. This Finland company has further given the order to another Indian company 'C'. All are independent companies. Now 'C' has received the advance from 'B' with delivery instructions to be made to 'A' i.e. within India. Therefore how will the 'C' show shipment of goods against the advance Foreign remittance received from 'B' and how will 'A' show imports for foreign remittance made to 'B'. Also how will the GR will be given to the bank. Regads

SHEIKH FARID: HI, My query is that A purchase a plant from B in terms of DAP Now shipment reached at destination and A insisting to do the customs clearance by B in this regards please guide me who will be responsible for the customs clearance at destination in terms of DAP. Regards.


bemi: Hi, Would appreciate your opinion on below situaion. We are based in India and our client is based in China. Our client has asked us to Quote prices FOR SEZ Kandla. (meaninng the chinese client will be buying from us and selling to their client in SEZ Kandla. In this situation: 1) How can we document this Export, we will be exporting under Advance Authorization License. 2) Will our Export Invoice , Packing List, Copy of Transport Receipt showing Our name as Exporter and Chinese compnay name as Importer/Buyer with destination of Goods SEZ Kandla : be acceptabel as Proof of export? 3) For exports to SEZ we need to file Bill of Export. Do we need to file Bill of Export with Shipper as our name and Buyer as our Chinese client , with their address of China , however our Contract will show the Destiantion and price as FOR Kandla.

dev: Hello, if i have issued a BL in the name of the company who doesn't have a IEC code so whats the procedure to change the name of consignee. can it be done and whats the procedure for the same

alam ahmad: how the container of the said shipment will move. will it directly go to the USA from India ? or will it first go to china from india thn USA. if container will move directly from india to USA, what will be shown on the indian shipping bill as port of final destination. thanks


Afaq: I have received an order. My company is based in India. I need to pickup goods from Indonesia and ship to end user in Saudi Arabia. I will pay the supplier in Indonesia and the end user of Saudi Arabia will pay me upon delivery. Now that I am getting foreign currency in my bank and I wont have shipping bills with me. What should be submitted to my bank? Please advice

Shah : Hi My buyer (consigne) is in Usa and he wants the cargo delivery in Qatar so how I can prepare the documents please advise me

M Arif: I just want to know if Switching Air Waybill or switching BL is legal?

amit : suppose we have a import from china but we do not want to declare the loading port as china . we declare loading port as Indonesia for instance .will it require the coo for Indonesia origin . will the vessel track will be checked by indian customs .

Jey: my customer required swithch bill requirement from Ex-Australia to srilanka upto port by Airfreight is it possible &since ive checked checked with my contacts &other sources they can be trying only through Sea freight LCL,But not possible in Air freight please confirm total weight of the cargo is 400kg

BHAVESH K PATEL: Dear Sir, I am company A in India, I got order from a client C in Iran. I want to purchase from a supplier B in China and supply it to client C in Iran. I want to hide details of Supplier from Client. I understood all details of switching BL and all. But I want to know about Certificate Of Origin and PhytoSanitary Certificate. I want to know who issues these documents. Can we reissue only this two documents in India. Can we get a certificate of Origin stating China as Origin Country from India.

Hitesh: First of all many many thanks for describing so many articles in deep. It is very helpful for the new players like us. Regarding Switch of B/L I came across situation somewhat different from what you described. I am in India and have my buyer in Middle East. And supplier is in Indonesia. My Buyer and I work on LC. While my supplier does not work on LC. But he has having arrangement in India Say party-X who can finance him. So arrangement is like that My buyer issue me LC and I transfer that LC to party-x which in turn will transfer money to my supplier. So my supplier Issue B/L with my name as Consignee and Party-x as notify party. Than I have to switch the bill in India by making myself as shipper and my buyer as consignee and notify party. So my question is that is this type of arrangement and trade possible and B/L can be switched. Please advice. Best Regards, Hitesh

Bala: Thanks to all for your brilliant presentations. On the Switch BL, i heard that we can change on the shipper & consignee columns. What about POL & POD. Shall we change that too.

Baskar: Hi I am purchasing some materials from Japan and asked them to deliver partial material to China and the balance materials to India. But the tax invoice what will get from Japan is for partial materials as per their customs but i paid them full advance amount. So as per the papers, Japan still have pending materials to me. In this case, how the papers need to be consigned.

selva: Hi Sir, I'm New to Logistics, need your assistance. How to identify the bill of lading types with the copy of pdf, will there any watermark or clause stating as Original bill / Sea way bill / Switch bill / express / telex etc...

Zarksis B.Munshi: Sir, In case of air freight how can we do triangular shipments because the time span is so less and an AWB is a non negotiable document. Please advise.

Zarksis B.Munshi: Sir, For triangular shipments in airfreight can we use an FCR to the shipper instead of issuing the first set of switch AWB. Please advise. Thanks and best regards.

Subbarao : I want to import from UAE and do high sea sale to Germany. I am trader in india. In this case the ship does not come to india. Does this transaction attract custom duty in india.

Talia: Hello, I have an L/C air shipment from Italy to Vietnam. The LC neg is in Singapore. Now the cargo has reached Vietnam but the 1st leg AWB is still in Italy. How do I get the forwarder to release switch AWB to clear the cargo?

Madhusudhan Ramaswamy: Dear Sir I am in Singapore and I have got an order from Malaysia for which my supplier is from India. I have no offices either in Malaysia or India. Where do I get the switch B/L

Madhusudhan Ramaswamy: Dear Sir I am in Singapore and I have got an order from Malaysia for which my supplier is from India. I have no offices either in Malaysia or India. Where do I get the switch B/L

Kamlakant: Dear Sir, pl. guide what is procedure of SWITCH BILL in air shipment. Thank you.

dilber singh rawat: dear sir, we had exported one shipment to Iran, who is consignee against advance payment from buyer located in Europe. While going to submit the shipping documents to fund receiving Bank, it was informed that they are not authorised to accept the documents and can be to submit UCO authorised bank for Iran shipment. Since the fund was received by other Bank, hence UCO Bank is also not ready to accept the documents. Please advice how to submit documents and with whom, so that transection can be square off.

Prabu M: Dear Sir/Madam, I am located from India. I have my supplier in USA and buyer in China. I have used switch AWB in china after shipment is triggered from USA to china. My question is where will file and how do file my Bill of Lading in India? Appreciate your quick response on this matter. Bankers are saying it's merchant trade. They can not make this payment. If they want to make the payment to my supplier banker is looking for Bill of Lading.

alok: I have a young brand that has gained a fair amount of popularity over the past year. I now have an opportunity to export my products to someone who wants to franchise my brand in the UK, which will be a game-changer for my company. I currently buy my goods from a manufacturer in China and to fulfil this order to Europe, I would like to send the goods manufactured in China, directly to my buyer in Europe, without letting the two parties know off each other (otherwise they might by-pass me and trade directly) I have read about the concept of switch BL and it seems to fit my need perfectly. However, the banks that I deal with do not approve of this method of switch BL Their point of contention is that 1. I will be making a payment to my supplier in China, but there will be no physical goods reaching me in India 2. I will be receiving a payment from my buyer in Europe but there will be no physical goods being sent out of India. So, the banks are advising me to either 1. Make a tri-party agreement, in which case my buyer & my supplier will become aware of each other, which is something I can't do 2. Or, bring the goods to India, and them send them to Europe, which will add significant time & costs to the transaction From your blogs and other articles on the internet I know that the switch BL exists and is possibly the solution to my problem, however, I can't seem to find my way around the banks & the paper work they need. I know I am missing a key piece of this puzzle and I would be greatly indebted if you could advise me on how to get past this hurdle.

Gopal Sharma: In case is switch BL is involved for US shipment, please do let me know, on which BL the AMS and ISF will be filed if there is direct vessel and no transshipment port.

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