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Number of original bills of lading

In response to one of my previous articles Is there a limitation on the number of Original bills to be issued..?? , one of the readers commented as below :


There has been no problem with this , i have been shipping with 5 Orginal Bills for the past 3 years and no problems .

To that reader Neil : For the sake of academic interest to all, please can you explain why you require 5 Original Bills of Lading and what do you do with them..?? 

This would be interesting to know and learn.. Thanks..


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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. number of bill of lading , depend on request shipper or consignee , most of cases that i saw
    3 orginal b/l and 6 copies stamped (copy original something like this ) . it is not preferable to issue more than 3 original b/l



  2. Just out of curiosity, how many “Copy BL’s” to members usually request? Is there a norm on this or you can request as many as you wish?

  3. Good Day , We have local content in Angola , so we in SA keep one orginal Bill and the team in Angola keep the rest , Clearing documents need to have 2 orginal`s …So we send 2 x sets of documents to angola one for our Soyo Office the other for our Luanda Office …This is for just in case …

    • Wow, so you do put the 5 originals to good use Neil.. Thanks for clarifying that.. Anyone else uses so many originals to shipments to other countries..??

  4. I agree with above provided we clearly mention the nubmer and sequence of originals B/Ls issued on the front of the bill of lading. It is important so that all parties will know how many of these documents have been issued because in case of amendments (consignee, change of destination, etc.) the whole set of B/Ls must be accessible to the Line as per Protecting and Indemnity Clubls guidelines.


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