Difference between telex release and express release

Telex Release and Express Release

These are terms that still confuses many people in the industry..

The confusion occurs because these terms are very loosely used in day to day work, rather than being used in its true sense..

First and foremost it must be understood that BOTH these are NOT types of bills of lading..

This is a common misconception when customers tell the lines they want “Telex Release Bill of Lading” or “Express Bill of Lading”..

The definition of the two terminologies is as below :

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..

Based on this telex release message, the discharge port agent can release cargo to the named consignee shown on the bill of lading without presentation of any original bills of lading..

Telex release is requested only in the case of Straight Bill of Lading and never on a Negotiable Bill of Lading..

An Express Release is used in “express” situations such as :

  • when the shipper and consignee are part of the same group and there are no negotiations required between the two either directly or via bank for release of the cargo
  • the shipment doesn’t involve any bank and the shipper doesn’t really need to submit original bill of lading to secure his payment
  • when the shipper doesn’t have the time to print the original bills and courier the same to the consignee
  • the shipper on the carrier’s bill of lading is a freight forwarder and he wants to issue a house bill of lading to his customers

When the cargo covered under a Sea Waybill is released, the release maybe termed as Express Release..

The KEY DIFFERENCE between the two is that

  • Telex Release is issued for a physical set of Original Bill(s) of Lading which is printed, released and surrendered


  • Express Release is issued for a Sea Waybill of Lading for which there is NO Original Bill of Lading issued 

So, Telex Release and Express release are NOT THE SAME..

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40 comments on “Difference between telex release and express release”

  1. By Saleem Reply

    It is better to have an indemnity in your hand to cover in unforeseen or unusual circumstances

  2. By Pravin Shinde Reply

    There are no charges for telex release only if the carrier was informed prior shipment , but once OBL is issued than the charges are applicable to surrender and telex release.


    If I have received the full and final payment of my goods well in advance before the shipment , then in that case can I use Express Release method for the sake of saving time as well expensive DHL courier charges ?

  4. Pingback: What is a telex release..?? - Shipping and Freight Resource

  5. By Essam "HAmed Reply

    it depends on the Shipping Line, most of them one OMBL is enough but some of the to avoid troubles they ask for the full set OMBL.
    Essam Hamed
    Export Manager

  6. By Faisal Reply

    Just wanted to point something out… There may be additional charges depending on POL/POD and carrier. If a shipper surrenders 3OBL and requests tlx release, say from China- my agent charges USD 75.00. Technically it is an amendment. As always, this is not an all encompassing rule.

    Might be a coincidence but it seems to be chargeable when transit time is long. Shorter TT schedules are more flexible.

  7. By Bireswar Reply

    is only one original bill of lading presented at destination sufficient to get release of cargo or all of the three needed to be presented?

  8. By JOSEPH Reply

    Hi sir,

    Lets share ideas together , what i know if you have express B/L and has ready endorsed by consignee its enough to surrender without indemnity letter and i know indemnity letter are requested if you have Sea way bill onyl and if am i wrong please do not hesitate to correct my comment

  9. By Essam Hamed Reply

    Hi Faizam,

    There is no extra charges for express release or telex release .. it is an option given by the shipping Line on the responsibilty of the shipper.

    Essam Hamed
    Export manager

  10. By Faizan Raza Reply

    Would there be any charges applicable to make a shipment express release or telex release? if so then whom will the charges be paid?

  11. By R L Narasimhan Reply

    Hi Hariesh,
    The telex release can also be effected for “To Order” bills of lading which would basically mean that the cargo be delivered to the consignee in whose favour the bill is endorsed.

    please advise.

    Best regards

    • By Hariesh Manaadiar

      The reason a “Negotiable” Bill is required by the shipper is for the purpose of negotiation.. This negotiation is done with the bank after which the bill is sent to the issuing bank and after that, the bill is sent to the consignee so there is no chance for the shipper to receive it in order to do a Telex Release.. So the answer to your question is NO..

  12. By Naz Reply

    Hi Hariesh, please confirm what you are stating here; Telex release is requested only in the case of Straight Bill of Lading and never on a Negotiable Bill of Lading..

    Thanks, Naz

    • By Hariesh Manaadiar

      Hi Nazley, due to the nature of the Negotiable Bill of Lading an “Original” document will be required by the customer to produce to the bank.. So since an original will be required for the negotiation and also for release at destination (after due endorsement), it will not be surrendered in exchange for a telex release..

    • By Essam Hamed

      Hi, Naz,
      The negotiable B/L: is B/L that can be transferred by its consignee to a third party by signing (endorsing) and delivering it to another party (the new consignee). The new consignee can then transfer it to another party … and so on. To be negotiable a B/L must be written (drawn) ‘To Order’ of the consignee and must be clean. Any B/L that does not fulfill these two conditions is termed non-negotiable

      The conclusion is STRAIGHT B/L = NEGOTIABLE B/L when written (drawn) ‘To Order’ of the consignee and must be clean.

      So, it is not tied to negotiating shipping documents with the bank and we can according to the L/C terms “for example” present a copy of the telex release stamped by the shipping Line.

      Essam Hamed
      Export Manager

  13. By JAISON Reply

    i want to know,who is the responsible person(shipper/customer) for surrender the bl / telex release under term FOB COLLECT ORGIN/DESTINATION

  14. By Bob Reply

    Hi Everyone,

    Mr. Hariesh, thank you for making this blog. I have been doing international shipping for my employer for more than 7 years, and yet I still find a lot of valuable information from this blog.

    Some time ago, we used the service of a new forwarder appointed by the consignee (as it was an EXW sale transaction). Because the consignee is our own sister company, we requested to the forwarder to only issue an express BL.

    For the forwarder to issue the express BL, they have asked us to issue an indemnity letter, to indemnify them (the forwarder) from any consequence resulting from the BL being an express BL.

    My question is, is it a normal practice for a forwarder to request for an indemnity letter?

    I appreciate any comments from anyone.

    Thanks a lot.

  15. By hassan Reply

    Dear Mr Hariesh

    i think there is shipping line issues original bill of lading ans some else issuning seaway bill of lading according to request of client

    if the b/l is original can issue telex release . but if it is seaway bill , i think that the seaway bill is not negotiable document so why i should issue express release on seaway bill .

    also the customs office ask to show original b/l and consignee present b/l copy original to clear his cargo

    Thanks to confirm that am right or i misunderstanding something


  16. By Rajesh Reply


    My question is what it different in seaway bill of landing & express bill of landing

  17. By Jacky Reply


    I have one shipment FCL from China destination to Malaysia.
    The problem is I forward the Express B/L to my customer, but he request us to Surrender the B/L. He said need surrender b/l for the clearance purpose.

    May I know what is the different for the above case for Express B/L & Surrender b/L??

    Appreciate to have your prompt feedback.

    • By Hariesh Manaadiar

      Hi Jacky, you can only surrender a bill of lading if an Original has been issued.. In that case, once the Original bill of lading has been surrendered, a Telex Release will be issued.. If there is no Original bill and only an Express Bill has been issued, then there is no requirement for a surrender and client can take release of the cargo without presentation of any originals..

      It might also be possible that even though an Express bill has been issued, the shipping lines system shows the bill as Original and therefore the agent at destination is asking for the surrender.. So you can check with the shipping line as well..

      Trust this answers your question..

  18. By Mahin Reply

    In maerskline and safmarine only Express BL and Original BL is there.so according to the shipper wish we are deciding the BL.If Express BL:
    no need of the Surrender letter for this liners.
    But others liners like CMA CGM,MSC etc need surrender letter for getting the Express BL and they will charges extra surrender amount for this.Why?

    So i wants to know,Express BL means the surrendering the OBL and hence getting the BL.If so.then Why Maersk and safmarine doesnt need the surrender letter.

    Am new in this field,so It may be a foolish question,but please anybody help me to advise the answer.

  19. By Saheef Ahmad Reply

    Hi Ganesh,
    NVOCC means Non Vessel Operating Common Carrier, normally it is the freight forwarder who ships the goods on behalf of the customer, though he may not be operating a ship liner but he can issue a house bill on his own documents and he takes care of your shipment from door to cy or cy to cy according to your requirement and he will bill you, so you don’t have to deal directly with the ship liner.

  20. By Hazel Reply

    I am new to B/L. My shipper from China asked me surrender the b/l at where ? How should I reply ? Is there a difference between surrendering B/L at port of origin or port of destination. As a consignee, which one should I choose that is more advantageous for me.

    • By Hariesh Manaadiar

      Hi Hazel, if you have an original bill of lading and you are at the destination port, you should surrender it to the office of the shipping line or its agent..

  21. By Shipping and Freight Resource Reply

    Hi Raj, if you say the consignee shows TO ORDER, then it CANNOT be an Express Bill.. This makes it a negotiable document and someone will need an ORIGINAL bill of lading for the release.. Whether it is LCL or FCL, it doesnt matter.. If the consignee is shown as TO ORDER, then you/consignee will need an ORIGINAL BILL of lading..

  22. By Andrés Reply

    Hello, is it possible to do an express release or a telex release of a BL consigned to order?

  23. By ganesh Reply

    Hi Dear,

    What is NVOCC – can you make it simple for our easy understanding …. Awaiting for you reply ..

    Thanks In advance,


    • By Manaadiar

      Hi Ganesh, do a search on NVOCC in this site and you will find all info relating to it.. Look for the Search field in the right side bar..

  24. By Jackie Reply

    As far as I know, a Bill of Lading consigned ” To Order” can be surrendered at POL for telex/e-mail release, provided the Shipper has endorsed the original sets.

    • By manaadiar

      Hi Jackie, thanks for your valuable views.. Generally when the cargo is consigned to a Bank or To Order, more often than not, the OBL’s are sent to the consignee and not surrendered at POL as it involves some negotiations etc locally.. But technically yes it can be surrendered just like a named consignee bill of lading, but only after an amendment is made changing the consignee from “To Order” to some “named party” based on the endorsement by the shipper on the reverse of the bill of lading..

  25. By Alexander Robertson Reply

    In every case there has to be some form of bill of lading, even if it is an express b/l (sea way bill) or ocean b/l. Some document has to be surrendered. With an express b/l the consignee has to surrender a copy of the b/l, be it a photostat or e-mailed copy, to obtain release. The way bill will simply state that there are no originals and thus a copy will suffice. Even with the release, the releasing party must ensure thatt the name of the consignee on the way correspondends with that on the b/e (SAD500). A releasing party cannot just release to anyone without some form of proof of ownership of the cargo.

    • By Joachim Affeldt AFNI FICS

      Kindly bear in mind tht by its very nature a bill of lading is a document of title, a seaway bill is not (also a straight bill of lading may be negotiated by means of a letter of assignment). So there is no requirement to present a seaway bill (if issued) to the carier as the carrier is supposed and under obligation to deliver the cargo to the consignee as mentioned in the seaway bill. Of course the carrier is bound to ascertain by appropriate means the true identy of the party claiming delivery of cargo as being the party (consignee) as stated in the document. Exactly that is the reason why many cariers prefer a seaway bill as it exempts them for waiting for a bill of lading to be produced/presented.