Can an importer take delivery of goods without original bill of lading?


Can an importer take delivery of goods without original bill of lading?


Import Delivery without original bill of Lading.


This is one of the common doubts among exporters and importers – Can an importer take delivery of goods without producing original bill of lading with carrier? We have learned in other articles in same website that Bill of Lading is a document of title and transferable. Without Bill of Lading, can carrier release goods to consignee at destination port?


Now let us discuss some different levels in export import trade where in Bill of Lading does function.


There are mainly four types of handling of Bill of Lading, normally by carriers in export import trade. Let us discuss below different levels of handling bill of lading by a shipping carrier of goods.


Delivery of Imported goods against Bill of Lading

Original bill of lading is issued by carrier of goods once he receives the cargo afterCan an importer take delivery of goods without original bill of lading completion of customs clearance procedures. The carrier can be a shipping line, freight forwarder, or a Multi model transport operator, or both. The exporter, once after obtaining original Bill of Lading, he submits the same along with other required documents with his bank to send to overseas buyer through buyer’s bank. The exporter’s bank sends the said documents to buyer’s bank after necessary formalities. The buyer’s bank delivers documents to the buyer. The buyer submits the said original bill of lading with the carrier of goods after completing customs procedures of importing country. The carrier receives the said Bill of Lading and arranges to deliver cargo to the consignee, after checking the authenticity of consignee if required.


Delivery of imported goods against OBL surrender message.

You (exporter) release Bill of Lading from carrier, and surrenders the same to the carrier. The carrier sends a message to his counter part at destination port about the surrender of Bill of lading at load port. He advises his office at destination to delivery the cargo to consignee without ‘insisting for original bill of lading’.

There could be many reasons to surrender OBL at load port. OBL could not have released in time, vessel would have reached at destination port before release of OBL, Buyer’s instruction to avoid loss in transit etc.etc.


Delivery of import goods against Express Release Bill of Lading:

You instruct carrier to release ‘Express Bill of Lading’. Here, the carrier issues a copy of express BL to exporter. A soft copy of the same BL is sent by carrier to his counterpart at destination. You (exporter) also send a soft copy to your overseas buyer. Your buyer can take delivery of goods by just submitting the said copy with the carrier at final destination of goods.


Release of Import goods against endorsed BL / transferred BL

The consignee column of BL mentions “To Order” and the address other than your buyer. Normally this address will by your bank address, as your sale contract may be under Letter of Credit. Here, the carrier can deliver cargo to your buyer, only after the written permission from the address mentioned in the ‘consignee column’ of Bill of lading. The said permission should be in the form of ‘Deliver order’. Normally bank delivers such ‘order’ to deliver the cargo, only after receiving the payment of goods from the buyer.


I hope, I could explain you in detail about the release of import goods against Bill of Lading in different levels. Do you wish to add more information about release import goods with Bill of Lading?


Would you like to share your experience delivery of import goods with Bill of Lading?


Comment below your thoughts about this article - Can a consignee take delivery of goods without original bill of lading?

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Disadvantages of LC (letter of Credit) to Importer


Guidelines to importers of Prepared Feathers, Human Hair & Articles Thereof, Artificial Flowers

Other details on how to import export 

Can Bill of Lading be surrendered at port of loading?
OBL not released OBL not surrendered no telex release
Can an exporter obtain GSP after shipment of goods?
Is Letter of Credit (LC) a safe mode of payment for an Exporter?
Difference between Demurrage and Detention in import
How to obtain a duplicate BL, if original bill of lading lost.
How to obtain waiver on detention/ demurrage on imported goods/container from Shipping company/CFS
Excise and Customs - Click here to read complete notification under Budget 2014
How to get Export Orders?
How to settle dispute in Exports and Imports?
Click here to know India Trade Classification(ITC)
Pre shipment bank finance to suppliers for exports through other agencies
Types of export containers
Measurement of export containers
Foreign Trade Policy of India 2015-2020
MEIS, Merchandise Exports from India Scheme
SEIS, Service Exports from India Scheme
Merge your Commercial Invoice and Packing List for all your future exports


Max : I have a situation with shipments against LCs. actually we are importer, all shipments are against LC. transit time between POL & POD is very short lets say 9 days & from some POL its 14 days. Cargo is reefer cargo. Bank negotiation of documents takes time. the whole process takes minimum 25 to 30 days. Ultimately we are landing up in paying huge line detention & Port storage. how can i get out of such a costly situation ? Please advise. what is the alternative aside to bank guarantee???

Admin: Hi Max, You can arrange with opening bank to mention in LC to send a set of original documents by courier immediately up on shipment.

sanjay singhal: what is the procedure for clearing import consignment when against one bill of lading multiple containers are booked but only part consignment arrives

Rajesh: We sent the cargo on FOB basis. The freight agent of buyer holds the MBL at destination. I, the shipper has the HBL here. I need to get balance payment. Is it possible for the Buyer to release cargo with MBL of his agent without HBL ?

Ranvir Singh: there have been efforts to find ways to do without original bill of lading -delivery in order to receive / release the cargo on destination port. however, concret solution was not offered worth acceptance , by the shipping industry / authorities. whatever, alternative to the bill of lading , but it has to be fool proof.

Sam: When an importer pays the factory and factory does not send the OB/L to importer, what are the options for forwarder to release the shipment? Factory claims they didn't receive payment, customer has payment confirmation, what is the obligation of forwarder, or what is the protection if forwarder releases the freight against payment confirmation?

GAJENDER SINGH: We have exported few containers from India to Kenya & we have the original shipping line's b/l with us at origin and the containers are released to buyer at destination without the presentation of original B/L. On checking shipping line is saying that in Kenya their is some customs rule and consignee can take the cargo without the original b/l. Pls advise what we can do in this situation to take our payment from buyer.

Cairo: The carrier released the cargo with out the BL and without our consent ? How can I proceed against the carrier ?

Al: Hello : Your articles are very good. We imported clothing from 3 overseas shippers in a single container. Two of them sent us bank endorsed Bills of Lading and the third one did not send us the same even though we have wired him the full payment and have proof of payment. The forwarder said he will devain the container and send us the two shippers' goods but the one without the BL will be sent to a bonded warehouse. Do we have any recourse here ? thank you

alex: hello, may we get the cargo without BL ?

Mukesh Gupta: we are an export house and wish to import engine parts from china for Re-Export. Is there a possibility to import the goods without payment of duty? against Bond??? Or is it possible to easily take a refund of import duty 100% after exports.??

Chittranjan : Hi can any one help me to know the Brazilian custom law? Is it true that in Brazil consignee can release the cargo by prove that said cargo belongs to him and Shipping line/custom give green signal to take delivery of cargo without Mbl & hbl.I want to know how brazil custom work..

prashant shah: My exporter send me container against copy of BL & I paid him against it. Container arrives at my port. But my exporter did not provide me original BL and they put message on BL when they booked that container delivery against Original BL and payment. Now I can not get my container. My exporter do not answer my call or not reply my email. without Original BL I can not get my container now what to do

Admin: Hi Prashant Shah, Check with Exporter, whether he has cleared all dues with carrier who issued BL. Since container already arrived at port, advise exporter to surrender all original Bills of Lading with liner who issued, arrange to send a release message to carrier's counterpart at destination under a copy to you.

AJ: X is the manufacturer and Y is the buyer. X and Y are owned by same people. X decides to sell goods to Z instead of Y. BL however states consginee as Y. Can the BL be changed and have Z pick up the goods from the port ?

Mukesh Parmar: We import a FCL from two exporter from china I have master bill of lading and shipper column mention the name of their logistics company name and in consignee column my company name and beneficiary same as As consignee but I have no House bill of lading can I cleared my containers without HBL. Pls advice

AJAY KUMAR: dear sir/madam We imported two shipments, but when the supplier imposed our import paper courier on the load port. The seizure of the courier company was attacked by the Sieber, due to which our courier went and went and has not yet been found. In our import paper, the order is YES Bank.Yes Bank has also given us the payment receipt. But the forwarder is not giving us an import delivery order. When the bank has made the payment. And Supplier has given NOC. To leave the goods. But the forwarder is not delivering delivery. Help you do something

Eduardo: I'm in a very complicate situation at the moment, my Chinese supplier is trying to blackmail me holding the Bill of lading until the goods arrive to the port in order to ask for a ransom. Now is any chance or possibility to release the goods without the Bill of Lading?

Atul Inamdar: Can we send Material to our Customer by Air without recieving Payment from him?Is there any Method through which we can Hold the Material if not Paid by Custmer

Ayo: Hello, I’ve been having a delay in the release of bill of laden from the carrier ( Grimaldi) . All payments have been made , what could cause the delay and how do I go about it. Thanks

anthony : i have aclient who lost the original BLs and had note released with shipping line.

Laura: If the consignee should not have full release because of missing the OBL, etc., but then release is posted somehow anyway, and the containers are picked-up, who is at fault? The line obviously made a mistake in posting release because the procedures were not followed. But is the consignee also at fault for picking them up when release was posted? My second part of the question is why the line would post release in the first place, if they did not receive the OBL, telex, or instruction from the shipper to release it.

Manisha: HI,Consignment term is DP at Sight,document released from Bank by paying full amount but cannot courier to CHA as courier services is not operational yet due to covid 19.can consignee release document w/o OBL.because shipping line is insisting for Bank guarantee either from Importer's Bank or Exporter's Bank.Is Bank endorsement is mandatory?

Rajesh: I am consignee and i have paid all charges to my forwarder now i came to know my forwarder dont pay to another forwarder so NO DO issue and my goods not release from custom, my question can i clear goods as consignee from custom or can i take DO from carrier or what is should do!! pls advise!! As forwarder are black mailing and usurped or steal my goods.

Lesley Lock: Containers have landed from Indonesia we have made all payments but supplier is refusing to send OBL to release containers to us Unless we send deposit for more containers We do not wish to do further business with this dishonest company. How can we get these containers released ?

Admin: Approach International court of Law or Arbitration process. If problem does not solve, go ahead the process to black list the supplier.

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