Straight Bill of Lading


To understand the term straight bill of lading, let us first understand the meaning of the bill of lading (BOL).

Bill of Lading

A bill of lading is a legal document between the shipper of goods and the carrier detailing the type, quantity, and destination of the goods being carried. It also serves as a receipt of shipment when the goods are delivered to the predetermined destination. This article will help us understand a particular type of bill of lading, i.e., the Straight BOL.

What is a Straight Bill of Lading?

A straight bill of Lading is a non-negotiable bill of lading. It is used when the goods that are being delivered are already paid for or are donations or gifts and don’t require payment. Using this, the consignee is delivered the goods by the shipping company upon presentation of identification.

How Does Straight Bill of Lading Work?

A straight BOL is a document in which a seller agrees to use a specific transport option to ship goods to a certain location, and the bill is then assigned to a specific party. Who is known as the ‘named consignee.’ Due to its non-negotiable nature, it cannot be assigned to anyone but that party. This helps in the correct delivery of the goods. This bill of lading details the type, quality, and quantity of the goods for clarity.

Once the party presents proper identification, usually agreed upon in advance, the shipping company hands over the goods.

A straight bill of Lading is also known as a Consignment Bill of Lading or a Sea Waybill.

What are the Risks of Using a Straight Bill of Lading?

  • The original bill of lading is not required to be presented by the buyer or the carrier to get the goods. This may run risks for the payment under the letter of credit and cash against documents payment methods.
  • Issuing banks may be left vulnerable to various fraud risks, especially under a letter of credit payments. As they can lose control of the goods by using this Bill of Lading.

What are the Benefits of Using a Straight Bill of Lading?

  • As the buyer or the importer need not present the original bill of lading, they can directly get the goods from the carrier. Which may eliminate demurrage and detention charges. This may be very beneficial to exporters and importers where the payment is not an issue among the parties. And the transit time is very short between the port of loading and port of discharge.

When to Use a Straight Bill of Landing?

A straight bill of lading is commonly used to ship to customers for goods already being paid for.  Similarly, in the case of gifts or donations or any items that do not require payment, like exchanges or returns, a straight BOL is easier to use.


There are various documents needed for the export of goods across country borders, such as letters of Credit, transport documents, Bill of Exchange, etc., which facilitate fair international trade. Bill of Lading is one of them, and it acts as proof of ownership. It is very important to have all the documents of trade ready in order to be successful in an international venture.


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