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HomeBill of LadingDifference between telex release and express release

Difference between telex release and express release

Image for telex releaseTelex Release and Express Release

These are terms that still confuses many people in the industry.. The confusion occurs when these terms are loosely used instead of using it in the strict sense..

The definition of the two terminologies is as below :

  • A Telex Release is simply a message that is sent by the shipping line or agent at load port to their office or agent at discharge port advising that the shipper or exporter has surrendered one or all of the original bills of lading that have been issued to them, and that the cargo can be released to the consignee shown on the bill of lading without presentation of any original bills of lading.. This usually is requested only if the consignee is a direct consignee (not a bank or To Order)..
  • An Express Release is used in “express” situations such as :
    • Image for express releasewhen the shipper and consignee are part of the same group and there are no negotiations required between the two either directly or via bank for release of the cargo
    • the shipment doesn’t involve any bank and the shipper doesn’t really need to submit original bill of lading to secure his payment
    • when the shipper doesn’t have the time to print the original bills and courier the same to the consignee
    • the shipper is a freight forwarder and he wants to issue a house bill of lading to his customers

When the cargo covered under a Sea Waybill is released, the release maybe termed as Express Release..

The KEY DIFFERENCE between the two is that

  • Telex Release is issued for a physical set of Original Bill(s) of Lading which is printed, released and surrendered


  • Express Release is issued for a Sea Waybill of Lading for which there is NO Original Bill of Lading issued 

So, Telex Release and Express release are NOT THE SAME..

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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. If I’m a freight forwarder and I issued OBL to my customer(actual shipper). Mean time I handover the cargo to one another forwarder(co-load) to move the cargo from POL to POD. Hence this time what kind of BL is issued by the CO-loader to me

  2. There are no charges for telex release only if the carrier was informed prior shipment , but once OBL is issued than the charges are applicable to surrender and telex release.

  3. Hi,
    If I have received the full and final payment of my goods well in advance before the shipment , then in that case can I use Express Release method for the sake of saving time as well expensive DHL courier charges ?

  4. Hi,
    it depends on the Shipping Line, most of them one OMBL is enough but some of the to avoid troubles they ask for the full set OMBL.
    Essam Hamed
    Export Manager

  5. Just wanted to point something out… There may be additional charges depending on POL/POD and carrier. If a shipper surrenders 3OBL and requests tlx release, say from China- my agent charges USD 75.00. Technically it is an amendment. As always, this is not an all encompassing rule.

    Might be a coincidence but it seems to be chargeable when transit time is long. Shorter TT schedules are more flexible.

  6. is only one original bill of lading presented at destination sufficient to get release of cargo or all of the three needed to be presented?

  7. Hi sir,

    Lets share ideas together , what i know if you have express B/L and has ready endorsed by consignee its enough to surrender without indemnity letter and i know indemnity letter are requested if you have Sea way bill onyl and if am i wrong please do not hesitate to correct my comment

  8. Hi Faizam,

    There is no extra charges for express release or telex release .. it is an option given by the shipping Line on the responsibilty of the shipper.

    Essam Hamed
    Export manager

  9. Would there be any charges applicable to make a shipment express release or telex release? if so then whom will the charges be paid?

  10. Hi Hariesh,
    The telex release can also be effected for “To Order” bills of lading which would basically mean that the cargo be delivered to the consignee in whose favour the bill is endorsed.

    please advise.

    Best regards

    • The reason a “Negotiable” Bill is required by the shipper is for the purpose of negotiation.. This negotiation is done with the bank after which the bill is sent to the issuing bank and after that, the bill is sent to the consignee so there is no chance for the shipper to receive it in order to do a Telex Release.. So the answer to your question is NO..

  11. Hi Hariesh, please confirm what you are stating here; Telex release is requested only in the case of Straight Bill of Lading and never on a Negotiable Bill of Lading..

    Thanks, Naz

    • Hi Nazley, due to the nature of the Negotiable Bill of Lading an “Original” document will be required by the customer to produce to the bank.. So since an original will be required for the negotiation and also for release at destination (after due endorsement), it will not be surrendered in exchange for a telex release..

    • Hi, Naz,
      The negotiable B/L: is B/L that can be transferred by its consignee to a third party by signing (endorsing) and delivering it to another party (the new consignee). The new consignee can then transfer it to another party … and so on. To be negotiable a B/L must be written (drawn) ‘To Order’ of the consignee and must be clean. Any B/L that does not fulfill these two conditions is termed non-negotiable

      The conclusion is STRAIGHT B/L = NEGOTIABLE B/L when written (drawn) ‘To Order’ of the consignee and must be clean.

      So, it is not tied to negotiating shipping documents with the bank and we can according to the L/C terms “for example” present a copy of the telex release stamped by the shipping Line.

      Essam Hamed
      Export Manager

  12. i want to know,who is the responsible person(shipper/customer) for surrender the bl / telex release under term FOB COLLECT ORGIN/DESTINATION

  13. Hi Everyone,

    Mr. Hariesh, thank you for making this blog. I have been doing international shipping for my employer for more than 7 years, and yet I still find a lot of valuable information from this blog.

    Some time ago, we used the service of a new forwarder appointed by the consignee (as it was an EXW sale transaction). Because the consignee is our own sister company, we requested to the forwarder to only issue an express BL.

    For the forwarder to issue the express BL, they have asked us to issue an indemnity letter, to indemnify them (the forwarder) from any consequence resulting from the BL being an express BL.

    My question is, is it a normal practice for a forwarder to request for an indemnity letter?

    I appreciate any comments from anyone.

    Thanks a lot.

  14. Dear Mr Hariesh

    i think there is shipping line issues original bill of lading ans some else issuning seaway bill of lading according to request of client

    if the b/l is original can issue telex release . but if it is seaway bill , i think that the seaway bill is not negotiable document so why i should issue express release on seaway bill .

    also the customs office ask to show original b/l and consignee present b/l copy original to clear his cargo

    Thanks to confirm that am right or i misunderstanding something


  15. Dear

    I have one shipment FCL from China destination to Malaysia.
    The problem is I forward the Express B/L to my customer, but he request us to Surrender the B/L. He said need surrender b/l for the clearance purpose.

    May I know what is the different for the above case for Express B/L & Surrender b/L??

    Appreciate to have your prompt feedback.

    • Hi Jacky, you can only surrender a bill of lading if an Original has been issued.. In that case, once the Original bill of lading has been surrendered, a Telex Release will be issued.. If there is no Original bill and only an Express Bill has been issued, then there is no requirement for a surrender and client can take release of the cargo without presentation of any originals..

      It might also be possible that even though an Express bill has been issued, the shipping lines system shows the bill as Original and therefore the agent at destination is asking for the surrender.. So you can check with the shipping line as well..

      Trust this answers your question..

  16. Dears,
    In maerskline and safmarine only Express BL and Original BL is according to the shipper wish we are deciding the BL.If Express BL:
    no need of the Surrender letter for this liners.
    But others liners like CMA CGM,MSC etc need surrender letter for getting the Express BL and they will charges extra surrender amount for this.Why?

    So i wants to know,Express BL means the surrendering the OBL and hence getting the BL.If so.then Why Maersk and safmarine doesnt need the surrender letter.

    Am new in this field,so It may be a foolish question,but please anybody help me to advise the answer.

  17. Hi Ganesh,
    NVOCC means Non Vessel Operating Common Carrier, normally it is the freight forwarder who ships the goods on behalf of the customer, though he may not be operating a ship liner but he can issue a house bill on his own documents and he takes care of your shipment from door to cy or cy to cy according to your requirement and he will bill you, so you don’t have to deal directly with the ship liner.

  18. I am new to B/L. My shipper from China asked me surrender the b/l at where ? How should I reply ? Is there a difference between surrendering B/L at port of origin or port of destination. As a consignee, which one should I choose that is more advantageous for me.

  19. Hi Raj, if you say the consignee shows TO ORDER, then it CANNOT be an Express Bill.. This makes it a negotiable document and someone will need an ORIGINAL bill of lading for the release.. Whether it is LCL or FCL, it doesnt matter.. If the consignee is shown as TO ORDER, then you/consignee will need an ORIGINAL BILL of lading..

  20. Hi Dear,

    What is NVOCC – can you make it simple for our easy understanding …. Awaiting for you reply ..

    Thanks In advance,


  21. As far as I know, a Bill of Lading consigned ” To Order” can be surrendered at POL for telex/e-mail release, provided the Shipper has endorsed the original sets.

    • Hi Jackie, thanks for your valuable views.. Generally when the cargo is consigned to a Bank or To Order, more often than not, the OBL’s are sent to the consignee and not surrendered at POL as it involves some negotiations etc locally.. But technically yes it can be surrendered just like a named consignee bill of lading, but only after an amendment is made changing the consignee from “To Order” to some “named party” based on the endorsement by the shipper on the reverse of the bill of lading..

  22. In every case there has to be some form of bill of lading, even if it is an express b/l (sea way bill) or ocean b/l. Some document has to be surrendered. With an express b/l the consignee has to surrender a copy of the b/l, be it a photostat or e-mailed copy, to obtain release. The way bill will simply state that there are no originals and thus a copy will suffice. Even with the release, the releasing party must ensure thatt the name of the consignee on the way correspondends with that on the b/e (SAD500). A releasing party cannot just release to anyone without some form of proof of ownership of the cargo.

    • Kindly bear in mind tht by its very nature a bill of lading is a document of title, a seaway bill is not (also a straight bill of lading may be negotiated by means of a letter of assignment). So there is no requirement to present a seaway bill (if issued) to the carier as the carrier is supposed and under obligation to deliver the cargo to the consignee as mentioned in the seaway bill. Of course the carrier is bound to ascertain by appropriate means the true identy of the party claiming delivery of cargo as being the party (consignee) as stated in the document. Exactly that is the reason why many cariers prefer a seaway bill as it exempts them for waiting for a bill of lading to be produced/presented.


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