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Bill of Lading date for transhipment cargo

Dirk asked below question about bill of lading date for transhipment cargo..

  1. “Do you know if Bills of Lading record the dates when cargo is offloaded at transhipment port and loaded on another ship.
  2. Would the bill of lading arriving at the final discharge port show the date of first loading or date of loading at transhipment port.”

I have explained in a previous article, that Transhipment is the act of off-loading a container from one ship and loading it onto another ship and that no shipping line can cover all ports around the world on a single service and therefore the services are segregated into trade lanes so that connections between various trade lanes is possible..

Although at the time of loading from the original port of load, the shipping line will have an “idea more or less” on which connecting vessel the cargo will be loaded and the ETA and ETD at transhipment port, shipping being a very dynamic industry and dependent on many natural and man-made factors, it would not be practical for any shipping line to show this information on the bill of lading at the time of its release..image for confused man

As mentioned in my article whether the port of loading will change if a container is transhipped, “The bill of lading may or may not state the port of transhipment.. “..

Unless the recipient knows the full routing and service of the shipping line, looking at the bill of lading, there is no way to know if the cargo will be transhipped or not and if so when, where and how many times..

To answer your question Dirk :

  1. No, the bill of lading doesn’t record where the transhipment took place or the date of transhipment at the transhipment port..
  2. The through bill of lading that the consignee receives for release at final discharge port would show the same vessel, voyage, port of load and bill of lading date as issued at the initial port of load, no matter how many transhipments are involved..

You can however check this information by tracking your shipment on the website of the shipping line that you are using..

Thanks to e-commerce, most shipping lines these days have this tracking facility and this will give you the date of offloading and loading at the transhipment port and all the information you wish to know about the progress of your shipment..


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Hariesh Manaadiar
Hariesh Manaadiar
I am Hariesh Manaadiar, the Founder of Shipping and Freight Resource.. I have been in the dynamic shipping and freight industry for over three decades and have worked in several sectors.. I share my experiences and knowledge of the industry through this blog for those looking for help in the industry.. Stay subscribed for more free useful content about shipping, freight, maritime, logistics, supply chain and trade..


  1. Hi Hariesh,

    Thanks for writing this information. I have a few quick questions.

    1. Does a Direct Ship vessel need to tranship because of overload?

    2. Does all vessels from Qingdao tranship at Busan or is there some that don’t Tranship at Busan ?

    3. Is the price for Tranship a lot cheaper than a Direct ship?

    Thank you in advance

    Kind regards,

  2. Good Day,,
    Please if we have one Letter of Credit where there is transshipment , the Bill of Lading is it called Switch Bill of Lading?
    Informations in the B/L will be from the Origin?
    Port of Loading Name ?
    Vessel and voyage number ?
    Container Number and Seal Number?
    Place and Date of issue ?
    All these informations will be from the Origin? not from the transshipment port?
    How the Applicant will know his consignment if the informations are all from the origin?
    How he will track his shipment if Vessel , Voyage Number was changed ?

    Thank you

  3. Dear Hariesh

    This blog is really provide complete information.
    I want to ask, for the transhipment. Do “strict” to use through B/L or it is ok to use Port to Port or Combined Transport Bill Of Lading?
    Please give me more explanation about it.
    Thank you very much for your help.

    Best Regards

    • Thank you Kana, if it is all water movement then Port to Port bill of lading is usually used.. Combined Transport or Through Bill are used where there are movements from/to inland destinations..

    • Dear Mr. Hariesh

      Thank you for your answer previously
      In example, we had shipment from Japan to Malaysia and have transhipment in Shanghai. From Japan to Shanghai use ship A then from Shanghai to Malaysia use ship B. Is it OK to use port to port B/L? Do you know a regulation which describe about the differences of using Port to Port, combined, and through B/L?
      Thank you for your answer and support

      Best Regards

    • Hi Kana, port to port covers sea based movement irrespective of any number of transhipments.. For example if shipment is from Kobe to New York via Singapore & Long Beach, it will still be a port to port shipment.. However, if shipment is from an inland point in Japan that involves road/rail move to an inland point in USA that involves road/rail move, then the line will choose to issue a Combined Transport or Through Bill..

      Read this article and your doubts will be cleared..

  4. Dear Sir,

    we have plan to move the cargo from Busan(Korea) by AIR(Chennai) and transhipment to Dubai via chennai by SEA. what is the Procedures

    • Hi Karthikeyan, there is no direct connection or integration between a sea and air shipment.. The best option would be for you to consult a freight forwarder who handles both air and sea shipments who can then give you a comprehensive quote covering both movements..

  5. Sir,

    Many shipping lines also provide a “Transport Plan” at the time of booking the container. It helps to know in advance how the cargo completes the voyage.




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