Are there any differences between express bills of lading vs. non-negotiable sea waybills?

We can see that international logistics sector is no shy assigning new names to the transport documents. 

ICC which is the short form of International Chamber of Commerce have noticed this reality and add phrases to its rules books such as UCP 600, ISBP in an effect that the name of the transport document is not a point of consideration. 

Let us have a look at couple of these expressions from UCP 600.
  • A transport document covering at least two different modes of transport (multimodal or combined transport document), however named,
  • A bill of lading, however named, 
  • A non-negotiable sea waybill, however named,

As indicated above ICC does not take the name of the transport document into account. They look at the function of the document.

Now we can turn to our subject. 

Our question was whether there is any differences exist between express bills of lading vs. non-negotiable sea waybills. 

Actually both non negotiable bill of lading and express bill of lading have the same transport document. They are not document of title so you cannot transfer the ownership of the goods to another party by means of endorsement or delivery. 

Buyer at the port of discharge can get the goods without surrendering at least one original bill of lading by simply proving its identity.

May be the only difference would be between express bill of lading vs. non-negotiable bill of lading is that in express bill of lading case forwarder’s do not issue full set of bill of lading. 

They may be issue one non-negotiable form in a soft copy and send it to both the shipper and their agent at the port of discharge via e-mail. 

Of course I am not talking about electronic bill of lading. They would be subject to another article.
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