What are the differences between BL original, Telex release and Express release?


When an import or export is made with international maritime transportation, forwarder companies issue the Bill of Lading (BL), which proves the existence of a transportation contract and grants the rights over the goods to the holder of the bill of lading.

Moreover, the BL confirms the goods sent from an exporter to an importer are on a specific vessel. When importing or exporting, the BL can take the form of a physical paper document called the original BL or the digital form of the original BL, known as the telex release and the express release.

The original bill of lading (B/L) is a legal document issued by a carrier of goods to a shipper, acknowledging receipt of the goods for shipment and specifying the terms and conditions of carriage. It is a contract between the shipper and the carrier and a receipt for the shipped goods. The original B/L is typically issued in multiple copies, each signed and stamped by the carrier and the shipper. It is required to release the goods at their final destination. The original B/L is an essential document in international trade, as it can be used as a negotiable instrument to transfer the ownership of the goods. It can also be used as collateral for financing and as evidence in disputes over the shipment of goods. For these reasons, it is important that the original B/L is handled correctly and safeguarded during the shipping process.

The Telex Release is the digital format of the Bill of Lading that allows the goods to be cleared without needing the physical documents. That is why if the non-original copy is presented it would be enough.

Cargo can be released when origin and destination agents are notified that the goods will be released without presenting the original BL.

  • It can expedite customs clearance;
  • It is fast and convenient;
  • It eliminates the cost of shipping documentation (courier).

Express Bill of Lading, it is recommended to use this type of BL when the relationship is of absolute confidence because there is no original Bill of Lading. The merchandise is released automatically (the shipping company releases it when they have the payment, or if you have authorized a credit with the shipping company, they release it instantly). In this option, there is no physical document or BL; everything is digital. The fastest option. Goods can be released as soon as they arrive at the port

  • Eliminates the cost of shipping documentation.
  • Eliminates the cost of generating the documentation.

Differences between a Bill of Lading and a Telex Release

The exporter must send the BL to the importer, and the choice between original or telex release usually depends on whether or not the supplier has confidence in the customer and whether or not payment is assured. If you have confidence in the supplier and the country allows it, you can do it by telex release. This saves the cost of sending the documentation by international courier. In addition, it is a faster and more convenient option that can speed up customs clearance.

If you choose an original BL, you must have it in hand to deliver the goods. An additional cost will be associated with sending international documentation, usually negotiated between the parties. On the other hand, an original BL will be generated if it is a telex release, but the copy will be sufficient for the goods to be delivered.

Differences between a Bill of Lading and an Express Release

In the case of an express release, the original physical document and the costs of sending the BL saved and those derived from its generation do not exist.

This option is the fastest and the one that avoids more expenses. However, it must be taken into account that the protection for a shipper who sends with the express release is much lower than with an original bill of lading or a telex release, so it is only recommended for shippers and consignees who have total confidence, usually subsidiaries of the same company.

Contact our team now, and we will advise you on all the processes so that your commercial shipment is a success and can reach any port in the world. If you want more information about our services, we can advise you which fits your business needs best