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HomeBill of LadingWill the Port of Loading change if my container is transhipped..??

Will the Port of Loading change if my container is transhipped..??

Will the Port of Loading change if my container is transhipped..??

This question was asked by a reader Ashish based on his scenario below :

We want to export goods from Vietnam to the UK via Singapore (or any other transhipment hub for that matter) as the transhipment hub.

I was wondering, in this case, if we do a transhipment, when the goods go on the second leg of the journey, say Singapore to the UK, would the POL be shown?

Do we need to mention anything on the BL to show that the goods are actually made in Singapore?

Back in 2011 I wrote an article on What is Transhipment.. To refresh everyone’s memory,

Transhipment = the act of off-loading a container from one ship and loading it onto another ship..

The reason for transhipment is that in any service operated by any line there are practical restrictions in terms of coverage of ports.. There is no shipping line that can cover all ports around the world on a single service and therefore the services are segregated into trade lanes..

Using above example – when the carrier accepts the cargo at Ho Chi Minh port in Vietnam, they will issue a bill of lading stating Port of Loading = Ho Chi Minh and Port of Discharge = London Gateway..

image for ts vslThe bill of lading may or may not state the port of transhipment.. (A word of caution here – if the bill of lading shows the port of transhipment and the Letter of Credit or terms of shipment prohibit transhipment, this might cause problems)

In above example, if we consider Singapore to be the port of transhipment, the container covered under this bill of lading will be off-loaded at Singapore by the shipping line from the vessel that loaded the container from Vietnam and it will then be loaded onto another ship bound for London Gateway for final discharge there..

The bill of lading that is issued will not be changed in any way in terms of vessel name, voyage, port of loading, port of discharge, container number etc etc.. All information will remain same as was submitted at the time of loading..

So to answer your question, no there will not be any change in POL/POD on the bill of lading..

In most cases, most of the clients do not even know where the container was transhipped.. As per the terms of the port to port bill of lading issued, the carrier has undertaken the responsibility to move your cargo from Vietnam to UK and they will do it as per their routing..

The transhipment port could differ based on the number of services that the carrier offers.. Singapore, Hong Kong, Port Kelang, Tanjung Pelepas, Kaohsiung are some of the most common transhipment hubs in South East Asia..

You may also wish to read other related articles from this blog :

If any of the readers have any interesting incidents, episodes, lessons learnt relating to transhipment issues, please do share..




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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 2 containers in this shipment but it’s transit 2 different vessels on the transit hub to the discharge port? How to control ?

  2. As we have one FCL loaded port of loading is Vietnam and final destination is jebel Ali seaport as I want trans shipment via Singapore without destuffing or changing the container

  3. I want to know, if a freight forwarder or the ocean line could change the destination’s port if they have been asked by the shipper to do so , while the ship has left the shipping port.
    The shipment is FCL shipment .
    The destination’s port (in the bill of lading)will be changed from Alexandria sea port to be port-Said sea port.
    Both 2 sea ports are in Egypt.there will be transit in port-Said .
    After issuing the Bill of lading ,the consignee was told that the ship will transit at port-Said port before going on to the final destination (Alexandria port) hence the consignee said that he wants to discharge the containers in Port-Said sea port instead of Alexandria port.
    Is that possible ? If the bill of lading is telex release?
    What about if the bill of lading wasn’t a telex release one..?

    • Hello Saleh, it would depend on who is holder of the document of title which is the bill of lading.. Generally the shipping line will listen to the party who has entered in to the contract with them.. They will not and should not listen to any and everyone asking for a COD..

  4. Hello every one.
    I am importing goods to Afghanistan from china the discharge port is Karachi Pakistan. My containers are loaded and also transshipped to another ship but now I want to change the port of discharge from Karachi to Bandar Abass, is it possible? If yes , how?
    Thank you.

  5. When we import from London to Dammam,KSA the BL number which is written in the Saudi Customs Bill(Bayan) is not the same what we got earlier? why? This shipment is transshipped at Jabel Ali port,Dubai.

  6. is there any restrictions in soudi arabia to release the switch house bill of lading …. and i need to export the cargo from malaysia to dammam & need to release the switch house bill of lading from india. whether i can use switch b/l from india

  7. Hi We have our Customer from Europe, and we are selling them material from China origin and will be shipped from China, but we want to Switch BL from Hong Kong, LC and Invoice also will be from our Hong Kong company. Is it possible to Change BL from Hong Kong with port of loading to Hong Kong. Reason for this is import of material to Europe from China is not acceptable due to High tax.

    • Hello Rohit, in a switch bill of lading, only shipper, consignee, notify maybe changed.. However, depending on the shipping line, you may surrender the first set at Hong Kong and they may reissue a second set showing Hong Kong if the ship passes or tranships cargo in Hong Kong.. However, such reissuance is considered to be a misrepresentation by insurance companies..

  8. Hi Gowri, this depends on country to country.. Generally a manifest filing is not required at transhipment port as the bill of lading is a through bill of lading.. In some countries like USA, it is essential to even declare cargo that is transiting the ports whether it is off loaded or not..

  9. Hello Hariesh,

    Would like to draw your attention toward two more things; One of your reader said that cntr number changed from T/S port so it might be LCL cargo. Let say from Point A a groupage cntr went to a hub or gateway office and from their it re-loaded / transshipped in another container to Final Destination. In such cases container number on the B/L issued at POL (Point A) will be 1st leg cntr number (cntr used to ship cargo from Point A to transshipment hub).

    We have also observed that now carriers are issuing B/L’s on which Port of Discharge appearing is actually Transshipment Hub and in Place of Delivery column Final Destination name is mentioned.

    • Hi Yousuf, thanks for your comment.. Yes of course if it is an LCL cargo, then the container number could change due to the reworking done a hub port.. You are right about the carriers issuing bills of lading with T/S hub as POD and subsequent Place of Delivery..

  10. Hi Hariesh,
    Glad to see your detail response. I have also read your referred article and found it very informative that answered my query. Really appreciate your efforts.

    Best regards,

    Syed Aamir Ali

  11. Hi Hariesh, very well explain about ‘transhipment’. My question is also relates to it. “A bill of lading has also mentioned the name of the vessels (mother vessel) sailed from POL; in transshipment, after reaching their routing hub, containers will move to another vessel (feeder vessel) for reaching final POD. What I understand is neither the hub nor the vessel (feeder vessel) name will be appeared / replaced / made amendment in the B/L or MB/L, before sailing from the hub / at the hub, if it is so, then being a consignee (having original B/L at POD), where and how I would find such information before arrival of the vessel at POD. Does the shipping line give update on it to the consignee? Finally, what can be the legal repercussion for not documented such important change?”

    Best regards,
    Aamir Ali

    • Hi Syed, at the time of loading at the port of loading, based on the sailing schedule of the line, they would have already identified the connecting vessel at the hub port which could be carrying this container to the destination.. But this is tentative until it is clear that the connections can be made (there could be delays enroute due to weather, port delays, vessel repairs etc etc)..

      In a lot of cases, there could also be more than 1 transhipment vessel involved..

      Considering both above factors, the connecting vessel or the feeder vessel details cannot be mentioned in the bill of lading at the time it is issued at origin..

      Regarding the information about the connecting vessel details being made known to the consignee, one of my earlier articles referenced in this post answers your above question.. Please read

    • No Nazim, legally Switch Bill of Lading cannot be used to change POL.. If you look at my article about Switch Bill of Lading, although such requests are made, it is the issuing carriers prerogative (at their own risk) to allow such requests..

      Many insurance companies consider issuance of switch bills of lading to be dubious or fraudulent activity depending upon the reasons why the switch bill of lading is required to be issued.. Change of a POL might be considered to be one such activity..

  12. With regards to above mentioned port of load, what will be the port of load if my container number changes at the Transhipment port.

    • Hi Neville, the cargo in a container maybe unpacked and repacked at transhipment port only if it has been found to be severely damaged (due to handling at that port or any other issues like the bottom falling off due to misdeclaration of cargo weight etc) rendering it un-seaworthy or un-cargoworthy..

      Such incidents have been known to happen.. In such cases either a new set of bills of lading will be issued with the new container number or a manifest amendment will be done changing the container number..

      All other details will remain same.. In such cases, it is customary for a surveyor to be appointed in order to ensure that there are no shortages or damages to the cargo at the time of unpack/repack..

      Other reason might be if customs at the transhipment port decides to inspect the container on any suspicion, but in such cases generally the container is not changed..

  13. Hi Hariesh,

    Thanks for the helpful response. Very useful.

    In case the seller does not want to disclose the POL, what are the options available? I heard they could “import & re-export”. In this case, probably the agent charges for customs clearing for both import and export become payable, but would the tariffs/duties also be payable, or can the goods be put in a bonded warehouses and in which case the tariffs wont apply?

    • If someone wants to hide the POL only option would be for them to route it to a different country, off load the container there, terminate the bill of lading and then reload it and secure another bill of lading.. Depending on the country, this could be possible with or without involvement of customs and with or without duties/taxes.. However there will be costs involved which is for sure..


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