What is a telex release..??

Image of a Telex Machine

This is the machine that gave the Telex Release its name.. The great TELEX Machine (similar to your BBM only much bigger and in many ways more capable)

A telex release is simply a message that is sent by the shipping line or agent at load port to their office or agent at discharge port advising that the shipper or exporter has surrendered one or all of the original bills of lading that have been issued to them, and that the cargo can be released to the consignee shown on the bill of lading without presentation of any original bills of lading..

This usually is requested only if the consignee is a direct consignee (not a bank or To Order)..

Why would the shipper or exporter request a telex release :

  1. the consignee at destination is a counterpart office of the shipper – example – if say DHL Global Forwarding is the shipper shown on the bill of lading and they are shipping some cargo to their office overseas, as there is no negotiation involved, they don’t require an original bill of lading at destination
  2. the shipper did not process his documentation in time and the ship that is carrying his cargo has already reached or reaching the destination and the original bills will not reach the consignee in time for them to clear before the expiry of free days
  3. some cases, an NVOCC operator might request for a telex release from the line so that they can issue their house bill of lading to their customer

Many of the shippers/exporters that follow the principle of No.1 above use “Express Release” instead of a Telex Release also..

PS : It is called a Telex Release because in the past, such release instruction to the discharge port was sent by Telex (see the machine in the picture).. Nowadays, it is sent by e-mail, but the name telex release stuck..

Image credit : http://www.samhallas.co.uk/museums/henlow/07b_creed_444.jpg

Now that you have read it, why don't you share your views about it..

34 comments on “What is a telex release..??

  1. Hello,
    I received 3 original copies of Bill of Lading from shipping agent, and I courier 2 of them to the consignee. Unfortunately, consignee misplace the two original Bill of Lading.
    Can I surrender the only one original Bill of Lading, in my hand, to the shipping agent at loading port and ask for the telex release?

    1. Hi Siaw, what type of bill of lading is it..?? Is it a “straight bill of lading” or a “negotiable bill of lading”..??

    2. Nirmala Dhanapal says:

      Hi Siaw, There are some procedures you need to follow with shipping agent. First inform to them that you customer were missed the OBL’s. I hope that shipping agent will require Written letter from customer to issue new Original bills or to accept Telex Release and might be penalty will involved. Shipping agency HO will involve and advise you for more info. Hope you understand.

    3. Hello Nirmala Dhanapal,
      Thank you and from what I understand, should any one of the three original Bill of Lading surrendered to the shipping agent, the balance of two is considered void.
      Therefore, the shipping agent at port of loading should able to do a telex release when receiving one original Bill of Lading from me.

  2. Ahmed says:

    hello, I`m as a consignee and there are two parties with me (shipper and the shipping line) can you tell me which way is better? telex release or release by presenting the original Bill, and which one does cost price than the other according to the consignee

    1. Hello Ahmed, sorry I am not clear what you mean by there are two parties with me.. Telex release is also a release by presenting the original bill of lading although you might be surrendering the original bill at the load port at another port.. Telex Release issuance attracts an additional cost as the shipping line will charge you for receiving the original bill of lading and doing the administrative work of sending a release to the discharge port to release the cargo..

    2. Nirmala Dhanapal says:

      Hi Ahmed, I would suggest telex Release is good option. However, check with your shipping line whether Telex charges are applicable or not. If no charge, then surrender the originals at Origin and get confirmation mail from Origin Agency.

  3. ahmed says:

    Hi, I need some information. I am being told that Telex release could not be done on Master bill of lading it is on applicable on House bill of lading. Kindly clarify is it right info. Need ur kind response

  4. Saeed Ahmad says:

    I am exporter; If I have got 100% advance payment from buyer then is their any risk to do Express release?

  5. Lucia says:

    What is the recourse if the shipping company does not send a telex release, when you have paid them in full for shipping. who is responsible for storage fees at destination if the freight company delays with telex release

  6. How long does it take to have a telex release

    1. Varun says:

      telex release usually done upon payment, once the payment done to line at load port.. they will send telex msg to their dest agent.. Yon can also ask copy of surrender msg fyr.

  7. The telex realease shld be improved

  8. olatunji says:

    Can you explain the meaning of “letter of credit,bill of collection, and how do they process it in shipping documentation

  9. jack says:

    guys i have some question to be clear.
    1.why bank are involved in this.
    2.what is freight collect on master bill of leading.
    3.what is freight prepaid on house bill of leading.
    Please clear it out i am confuse in this..

  10. Ishwar says:

    Do bank accepts documents for collection for telex release BL?

    1. Hi Ishwar, please can you elaborate on your question.. I am not clear on the question..

  11. Thanks for above information
    I have few queries regarding this

    1. For this telex service is shipping line charging some extra charges to Shipper or Consignee
    2. (not a bank or To Order)..may i know why this provision is there

    1. Manaadiar says:

      Hi Jaspreet, you are welcome.. To answer your questions above..

      1) Yes the lines charge to arrange a telex release.. They charge this as this is an extra administrative function for them as someone has to actually do this job..

      2) This provision like “To Order” is there because each contract has its own peculiarities and requirements and it is very important to show who must receive the cargo on the bill of lading.. You can also refer to my previous article on this to learn more about why this provision is there.. http://shippingandfreightresource.com/2008/11/17/duly-discharged-bills-of-lading-the-great-debate/

  12. Jackie Naidoo says:

    Dear Hariesh,
    Bills made out ‘to order’ can be telex released or the new term ‘e-mail release, provided the S/ has endorsed the full set of original Bills of Lading.

  13. Albert Mhizha says:


    Please expalin how an express bill works, its advantages and disadvantages.

    1. Harcourt says:

      Can a shipper stop the telex release after ordering the telex release for any reason ? and if yes what are the consequences.

    2. Hi Harcourt, I have added some thoughts on your question and put it together as a post for public discussion.. http://shippingandfreightresource.com/can-i-stop-a-telex-release-on-a-bill-of-lading/

    3. Varun says:

      Hi Albert,
      Advantage:- If ur shipment moves to short transit destination and you dont agree any free days from line at destination… In this case ur consignee has to take DO on or b4 the date of arrival of container box and return the box at earliest to avoid heavy demurrage and detention charges at destination. For this telex release highly useful
      Believe there is no disadvantages in express release

    4. Hi Varun, I wouldn’t say that there are no disadvantages with an Express Release.. Each bill of lading should be issued basis the requirement of the shipper, consignee and depending on the trade and the sale agreement, so we cannot say one bill is more advantageous than the other.. We could say that one type of bill of lading will be more suitable than the other for a particular shipment..

  14. Hi Muhammad, once OBL has been taken and couriered then its not possible to issue a Telex Release.. In order to secure a Telex Release you have to surrender all original bills of lading that have been issued..

  15. Varun says:

    Its possible… But usually Line will collect the original BL which they issued earlier before releasing the Telex release.

    If the customer genuine and trustworthy no problem.. else collect original before u issuing telex to be in safe side.