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Freight from the USA

Ocean Freight Bill of Lading

Ocean freight Bill of Lading (B/L or BOL) is the mandatory document in international cargo transportation from the USA by sea. Ocean freight bill of ladings issued by international ocean freight carriers. Issued bill of lading means that specified goods have been received on board as cargo for conveyance to a named place for delivery to the consignee.

Besides other points, the international ocean freight bill of lading serves the following purposes:

  1. It is evidence of a contract of carriage between ocean freight carrier and shipper;

  2. It is a receipt for goods shipping from the USA;

  3. It is a document of title on shipped goods.

There are different types of ocean freight bills of ladings used in international cargo transportation for exporting goods from the U.S. Here are two of the most used types of NON-NEGOTIABLE international ocean freight bill of ladings:

  • Express release ocean freight bill of lading = Telex release = Surrender and;

  • Release endorsed upon a set of originals ocean freight bill of ladings. 

NON-NEGOTIABLE international ocean freight bill of lading: This means that the document itself does NOT give the title to the goods. The consignee (cargo recipient) named in the ocean freight bill of lading must identify himself to claim the goods. Vs. NEGOTIABLE ocean freight bill of lading issued "to the order of" is the title of the goods. I.e., a NEGOTIABLE bill of lading can be bought, sold, or traded while goods are in transit.

International EXPRESS RELEASE ocean freight bill of lading: that means you do not have to provide originals of the bill of lading to claim your goods at the destination. Shipment on express release should be released at the destination upon surrender a copy of the international ocean freight bill of lading. Express release ocean freight bill of lading should state: "ZERO (0) – NO ORIGINALS REQUIRED FOR RELEASE".

The statement "SET OF ORIGINAL REQUIRED" in an international ocean freight bill of lading means that goods CANNOT be released to the consignee unless the consignee had surrendered a set of originals bill of ladings.

American miltimodal international deliveries

In our practice, if there was no prior agreement, all ocean freight carriers' Bill of Ladings are NON-NEGOTIABLE and ON EXPRESS RELEASES. We provide copies of the international express release ocean freight bill of lading via e-mail in PDF files.  

Unless a set of original requested in advance, upon payments toward our invoices, we email carriers' bill of ladings to the parties paid for international shipping on or within a few days after Estimated Date of Departure (ETD) of cargo from the USA. Sometimes we invoice our customers upon rated proofs of carriers' bill of lading. Refer to this step-by-step guide — step 5.

Upon receipt of a copy of the non-negotiable express release bill of lading, print it and keep it on records. Use it at the time of recovery of your shipping from the USA goods at the destination.

Please note that several countries around the world, particularly Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, and certain countries in Africa, DO NOT accept express release ocean freight bill of ladings. Ocean freight carriers should specify it when issuing the bill of ladings. In such cases, most of the time, the original bills of ladings will be generated at destinations. I.e., issuing an original bill of ladings during international transportation is not necessary. If generating originals at designations is impossible, we will mail you a set of originals. USPS First Class Mail within the USA is free. Expedited or international mail must be prepaid.

If a customer requires a set of originals international ocean freight bill of lading for shipments to a country that does accept express release, then a $50 fee will be added on top of the cost of the carrier's fee. Postage must be prepaid. Issuing sets of originals bills of ladings to countries that accept express releases does not mean that the originals required to obtain released goods.

Letter of Indemnity

If in your international shipping from the U.S., an original sea freight bill of lading is required, but it needs to be amended or lost, an international ocean freight carrier may request a LETTER OF INDEMNITY. Here is the link with a sample of LETTER OF INDEMNITY in international cargo transportation from the USA.

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