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Switch Bill of Lading.

What is Switch Bill of Lading?

You might have come across the terminology of Switch Bill of lading. It is called switch as it is used in place of the original bill of lading provided by the shipper at origin.

When is it mainly used?

One of the major of using a switch BL is when the original bill of lading contains information that is no longer valid for the shipment. For instance, when shipping process involves a change in port, the carrier will amend the BL to reflect actual port of destination.


Secondly, sometimes due to trade bans, or any other reasons, consignee may want to keep the original shipper unknown. Although the carrier may fully be aware of this and they list another agency as shipper on Bill Of Lading.


It may also be used when the shipper has issued multiple bill of ladings to cover various shipment. In this case the carrier( agent) may simplify the process by just creating one central bill of lading. This approach makes it easy for the recipient to go over the details of the shipment.

Some Precautions:

There are certain precautions to observe while using this approach. The shipper(originator of the shipment) must know of the preparation of the switch bill of lading and should be providing consent. Further, the originals must be surrendered ad should no longer be in circulation and the structure and terms found in Switch BL should be in full compliance of shipping regulations.


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