Straight Bill of Lading

To understand the term straight bill of lading, let us first understand the meaning of the bill of lading.

Bill of Lading

A bill of lading is a legal document between the shipper of goods and the carrier detailing the type, quantity, and destination of the goods being carried. It also serves as a receipt of shipment when the goods are delivered to the predetermined destination.

To know more, read Bill of Lading and its types. In this article, we will understand a particular type of bill of lading, i.e., the Straight Bill of Lading.

What is Straight Bill of Lading?

Straight Bill of Lading is a non-negotiable bill of lading. It is used when the goods that are being delivered are already paid for, or are donations or gifts and don’t require payment. Using this, the consignee is delivered the goods by the shipping company upon presentation of identification.

Straight Bill of Lading

How Does Straight Bill of Lading Work?

A straight bill of lading is a document in which a seller agrees to use a specific transport option to ship goods to a certain location, and the bill is then assigned to a specific party (known as the ‘named consignee). Due to its non-negotiable nature, it cannot be assigned to anyone but that party. This helps in the correct delivery of the goods. The straight bill of lading details the type, quality and quantity of the goods as well for clarity.

Once the party presents proper identification, which is usually agreed upon in advance, the shipping company hands over the goods.

A straight bill of Lading is also known as a Consignment Bill of Lading or a Sea Waybill.

What are the Risks of Using a Straight Bill of Lading?

  • The original bill of lading is not required to be presented by the buyer or the carrier to get the goods. This may run risks for the payment under the letter of credit and cash against documents payment methods.
  • Issuing banks may be left vulnerable to various fraud risks especially under a letter of credit payments as they can lose the control of the goods by using the Straight Bill of Lading.

What are the Benefits of Using a Straight Bill of Lading?

  • As the original bill of lading need not be presented by the buyer or the importer, they can get the goods from the carrier directly, which may eliminate demurrage and detention charges. This may be very beneficial to exporters and importers where the payment is not an issue among the parties and the transit time is very short between the port of loading and port of discharge. 

When to Use a Straight Bill of Landing?

A straight bill of lading is commonly used to ship to customers for goods that have already been paid for.  Similarly, in case of gifts or donations or any items that do not require payment, like exchanges or returns, a straight bill of lading is easier to use.


There are various documents needed for the export of goods across country borders, such as Letter of Credit, transport documents, Bill of Exchange, etc. which facilitate fair trade. Bill of Lading is one of them and it acts as a proof of ownership. It is very important to have all the documents of trade ready in order to be successful in an international venture.1–3

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Sanjay Borad

Sanjay Bulaki Borad

Sanjay Borad is the founder & CEO of eFinanceManagement. He is passionate about keeping and making things simple and easy. Running this blog since 2009 and trying to explain "Financial Management Concepts in Layman's Terms".

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