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Am I allowed to change the bill of lading number on a switch bill of lading..??

Further to my previous article regarding Switch Bill of Lading, here’s a question from a reader Surangi.. Answers anyone..?? Switch Bill of Lading number


can you change the b/l no  on the switch b/l

eg- if the B/l is switch in Singapore  and loaded to Colombo to Calcutta original set have Cal B/l no and switch b/l have a Sin b/l , please explain  is this correct.

Pleased to hear

Thank you.

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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. Hardly can be changed while we are talkiing about MB/L. But I think that in case of HB/L everything is possible. Or?

    • I had one shipment and M/BL was used from UASC it was loaded from Genoa ITALY and DES Port was DAMMAM Saudi , I switch the MB/L from DUBAI first M/BL was number ITGOA123456 and when i switch the MB/L in 2nd M/BL it was change to AEDDXB123456 it must be system generated.

  2. good day,
    no it is not possible to change B/L number on a switch B/L
    this number correspond to freight and cargo manifest only shipper, consignee, notify and port of discharge are allowed for amendment
    before issue switch B/L, full set 3/3 should be seetle to ship owner office
    before print new OB/L.

  3. Technically , nothing should change in a switch b/l , except shipper , cnee & nfty. However having said that , wehn switched , some carriers system may not be able to incorporate the the original bl nos and instead create a new bl nos which is system generated. Guess this is whats happening . Like I said earlier , nothing else sud change except those 3 parameters.!!

  4. dear suragi

    Bill of lading number should not be changed during switch BL, as the BL number also corresponding to outward manifest report at POL where possible audit can be done by customs to the shipping line and origin shipper..and furthers Sometime some of principal system using / creating the BL number based on the vessel voyage which mean if the BL number changed then the cargo on said BL assumed not loaded on the vessel.
    Further during the switch BL only the name of shipper,consignee and notify party name that can be changed. The other details must be keep the same aa first leg BL

  5. Yes its correct .i my self had switch the bl many time .shipment going from india going to saudi port i switch the bl from dubai and the bl number is change according to shipping line they creat some code for the bl whih shows from where the switch bl was issues.

    • The question does not mention whether this is a carriers (MBL) or HBL (issued by NVOCC) however the BL number would changed, there is no impact , since you recover the first leg 3/3 BL’s and then issue the 2nd leg set of BL’s, once that is done, the ownership of the cargo is transferred, So to answer the question, Yes, the BL number will definitely changed but would not have any adverse effect.


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