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Is there a limitation on the number of Original bills to be issued..??

A reader of this blog had asked a question as below :

What is the limitation on 3 OBLs? Why 3….I’ve had customers request 5+ OBLs to be issued. When I said ‘no’….they asked why, and now I’m stumped.

Not sure if this ties into the debate of properly endorsing the OBL….but if surrendering an endorsed OBL negates the other OBL’s, what’s the issue with producing more than 3 OBLs?

Generally 3 OBL’s are issued because 1 could be for the shipper’s use and 1 could be for the consignee’s use and 1 could be for the negotiating bank or a broker or any other party involved in the shipment.. There is no hard and fast rule on the usage of this..

If the shipping line agrees to it, there is no problem in issuing 5 OBL’s as long as the number of bills issued is clearly indicated on the bill..

However,  it is advisable that the number of Original Bills of Lading issued, be restricted, MAINLY for security reasons.. The more OBL’s in circulation, the more the risk of fraud, theft or unauthorised release or release to the incorrect party etc.. Therefore it is always best to take only the bare minimum required number of OBL’s..

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  1. sir,

    can u plz explain in simple layman’s language what is the difference between “HAGUE VISBY RULES” AND “HAMBURG RULES”


  2. Just to add that it depends on the locakl law, for my country it’s clearly mentioned on the “code de commerce maritime”. So may be you have to check the law of the country of issuing BL

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