What is a straight bill of lading?

You have to be very carefull when completing the consignee field of a bill of lading, because it does not only define to whom the goods should be delivered, but also explains delivery procedures of the consignment.

If the bill of lading issued in a negotiable form, to order (shipper) or to the order of a named party, at least one original bill of lading must be surrendered to the carrier's agent at the port of discharge in order to get the consignment.

But what happens if a bill of lading not issued in negotiable form by simply completing the consignee field writing direct consignee's name and address. 

On this article I will be explaining the straight bill of lading, which is a type of bill of lading that is issued in a non-negotiable form.

What is a straight bill of lading? What are the differences between straight bills of lading and bills of lading?

Bill of lading is a traditional transport document. 

It has been in use since the old days when vessels were really slow comparing to modern container carriers.

Even in 19th centuary, especially shipments from South America to Europe or Africa to Europe took quite significant time. 

Long transportation periods create financial problems for both exporters and importers as finance has always been a key issue for international trade.

International traders and banks managed to find a brilliant solution for this problem. 

They started to implement a payment method which is called letter of credit.

Under a letter of credit payment method, an issuing bank notifies its conditional payment undertaking to the seller in a written format which means that issuing bank sends a letter to the exporter which contains the conditions and requirements of the payment.

Seller could get its money only if he can present required documents in an acceptable way to the issuing bank. 

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,