Sunday, December 3, 2023
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HomeBill of LadingWho can request shipping line to issue switch bill of lading..??

Who can request shipping line to issue switch bill of lading..??

Who can request shipping line to issue switch bill of lading..??

In one of my past articles we discussed about what is a switch bill of lading..

A reader raised a very important point/question regarding the issuance of the switch bill of lading. on who can request the shipping line to issue a switch bill of lading and what are the criteria..

Question : Considering container liner traffic, who is considered to be the “Principal” authorised to request the switch? Is it the shipper stated on the B/L or th party booking the container(paying the freight). As these partys are not always the same?

Image for article regarding who can request for switch bill of ladingThe entity that is authorised to request the shipping line to issue a switch bill of lading would be the shipper on the first set of bill of lading.. The shipper of the bill of lading is deemed to be the owner of the cargo and the ownership does not transfer to another party until such time the bill of lading has been negotiated and sent to the consignee..

This request must come on an “Original” letter head of the shipper and sent to the shipping line or their agent.. The shipping line or agent would then follow the process as covered in my original article regarding Switch Bill of Lading..

It must be noted that irrespective of the authenticity or the genuineness of the request, it is upto the shipping line whether they will agree to issue a switch bill of lading considering the stance of the insurance companies regarding the issuance of switch bill of lading..

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, I am buying on FOB terms and lc is paid with comercial documents and agains FCR not OBL, I hold a contract transportación with carrier but I am not boking the cargo, i dont want shipper knows the buyer, can i ask directly to carrier for a sbl? O shipper has to do it?

  2. Hi . I am an Importer In Kolkata , India . I want to Import an product from Malaysia and Sell it to my client in Mumbai India.
    I would like to keep the cost of the goods and exporter name hidden from my client and the the name of my client hidden to the exporter. What method should i adopt so that both my needs are served. Should i do an High Seas Sale or SWITCH BILL OR LADING? Kindly help and comment on the same

  3. Regarding shipper name on B/L, we are trader buy FOB from exporter then sell CIF to importer. Since we can pay exporter 100% TT in advance, can we avoid switching B/L by asking carrier put our name as shipper on B/L and send B/L directly to us, not to the exporter? Note that export of the goods is under control and our exporter has license but we don’t.

    • Hi TSN, if you have a good arrangement with the exporter, he can put your name as the shipper on the bill of lading.. There is no restriction from the shipping line side who should be named as Shipper on the bill of lading.. As long as customs regulations in your country allows it, you can show your name as shipper..

  4. Hello Everybody!

    Switch BL means a modification of Original Bare after a First Set of original bills has been issued. Generally in Cross trade the shipper will put as consignee & notifiy for this shipment another company, in the same country or another, that will request to change BL once he receives the full set

    Strictly speaking;
    Only the company which holds the full set of original Bills can request a change.
    This change must only concern the BL header as cargo descrpition shouldn’t be change (this information is given by original shipper following the packing list)

    At least you can change some part of description (Ex: changing from “paper rolls” to “paper”) but not the number or weight of packages.

    For your information, Shipping companies those days request that freight shall be paid before proceeding to any changes.


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