What is the Difference Between a Forwarder Cargo Receipt and a Bill of Lading?

Freight Forwarders in China are usually asked to issue Forwarder’s Cargo Receipts (FCR) after receiving goods for billing local charges. An FCR looks similar to the Bill of landing. However, they are completely different documents.

FCR cannot replace a bill of lading and does not represent a contract of carriage. Understanding both terms is essential to completing international shipping. Let’s try to understand the difference between a Forwarder Cargo receipt and a bill of landing.

What is the freight forwarder’s receipt?

What is the freight forwarder's receipt?

A freight Forwarder’s Receipt (FCR) is also known as Forwarder’s Cargo Receipt or Forwarder’s certificate. It is a receipt or a document that the freight forwarder issues to the shipper. Sellers use this receipt to confirm to the buyer and his bank that they have delivered the goods. It is also a confirmation that the freight forwarder has received the delivery. It differs from the other freight forwarder receipts, an important document for international trade.

Who issues the Forwarder’s cargo receipt?

The freight forwarder or their agent issues the freight forwarder’s cargo receipt. This receipt proves that the cargo has been delivered to the freight forwarder.

Forwarder’s cargo receipt – the benefit to consignees

The Forwarder’s cargo receipt is beneficial for the buyer of the recipient. For example, assume multiple shipping lines depart from the same location simultaneously. In that case, the freight forwarder must combine all the deliveries into one container for multiple deliveries.

The freight forwarder will issue separate FCRs for the shippers. Eventually, it will help to complete customs clearance fees and keep track of other documents.

Besides, the seller has the right to modify instructions after delivery. Especially when the carrier issues CBL or SWB (sea waybill), but when they accept the FCR, they cannot change anything in the recipient’s name. So FCR makes the deal more transparent for the buyer or the recipient. 

Forwarder’s cargo receipt- function

Now let’s try to understand the Freight Forwarders receipts function more deeply. The FCR ensures that the shipment is handed over to the freight forwarder or the agent. It doesn’t have proof of carriage contacts and other freight forwarders’ receipts.

You may find similarities among the House Bill of Lading (B/L), Sea Waybill (SWB), House Bill of Lading (HBL), or House Sea Waybill (HSWB). But the FCR form SWB, SWB (sea waybill), HBL, and HSWB. 

The authority cannot use the FCR to release the cargo. In one word Forwarder’s cargo receipt is a document that ensures the seller has delivered the goods to the freight forwarder. You can use the receipt to find the product if you face freight forwarder issues.

Forwarder’s cargo receipt -Freight forwarders’ responsibility

The freight forwarder receives goods and necessary cargo documents on behalf of the recipient. After receiving all the necessary documents and goods, the freight forwarder issue the FCR.

The buyer uses Forwarder’s Cargo Receipt to confirm that he has delivered the goods. Besides, it is also confirmation that the freight forwarder is ready to ship the cargo. There are mainly two responsibilities of the freight forwarder while issuing the FCR.  

Provide a correct description of the cargo

The recipient and the bank mostly rely on the FCR to understand the quality and condition of the goods. It can directly affect payment to the seller.

The freight forwarder must provide accurate information about the cargo. They need to note down if there is any damage to the goods. Besides, the freight forwarder must refuse to provide FCR if the condition of the goods does not match the description. 

It is important to ensure that the description on the Carrier Bill of Lading (CBL) or Sea Waybill (SWB) matches the description on the Freight Forwarder’s Receipt (FCR). A Sea Waybill, however, serves only as a receipt and is not required for cargo delivery. 

The Sea Waybill is a document or transport contract between the maritime company and the shipper. The SWB (sea waybill) is not to be confused with the Bill of Lading (BL), which is both a title of ownership of goods and is used as a receipt for cargo accepted for transportation.

Take care of the goods

It is also important for the Freight Forwarders associations to keep the goods in the right condition before transport. Before delivering the shipment to the carrier, it is their liability towards the recipient. 

What is a bill of lading?

What is a bill of lading?

A bill of landing is also abbreviated as B/L or BOL. The carrier provides the document to ensure the shipment has been received. In the past, the Bill of landing was related to sea transport. Currently, BOL is used for all types of carriage transportation. Upon receiving the freight, the carrier or its agent issues the shipper a Bill of Lading. 

The BOL verifies the carrier received the cargo in good condition. The document is also crucial for international shipment. 

What is an Ocean bill of lading?

What is an Ocean bill of lading

An Ocean BOl (Bill of landing) is a document or contract between the carrier and the recipient.

The documents prove that the goods have been loaded onto the cargo. It acts as a legal contract between the carrier and the shipper. The carrier demonstrates the quality, type, destination, condition, and other informant information of the goods in detail.

The detailed documents serve as a receipt or invoice. If the recipient encounters problems after receiving the product, he or she can file a claim.

Ocean Bill of Lading template

Now let’s try to figure out the Ocean Bill of landing template. The ocean bill of landing contains every necessary information about the cargo’s shipping line information. It illustrates the information about the exporter, place of receipt, detail about the forwarding agent, ultimate destination, shipping line details, and domestic route.

Besides, it contains weight, condition, description, B/L number, and more. The documents are declarations that the carrier has received the goods. Likewise, the recipient can take legal possession if any goods are missing.

When is the Ocean Bill of Lading authored?

When is the Ocean Bill of Lading authored?

When the goods are loaded onto a vessel for international transit, a Bill of Lading is issued. Bills of Lading are issued when a shipment is loaded onto an ocean vessel during seagoing transit. There is an exception for multimodal transport. You have to remember that the freight forwarder does not issue the Bill of landing.

Suppose an embroidery company is shipping goods internationally. The Bill of landing is issued when the delivery is loaded onto the ship. Besides, 

The company may also arrange intermodal rail transport through an NVOCC. A multimodal Bill of lading is issued upon loading a cargo train at the Minneapolis rail port.

Types of Bill of lading

Types of Bill of lading

Have a look at the types of bills of lading.

  • Clean Bill of Lading

  • Received for Shipment Bill of Lading

  • Through Bill of Lading

  • Claused Bill of Lading

  • Short-term/ Blank Back Bill of Lading

  • Straight Bill of Lading

  • Container Bill of Lading

  • House Bill of Lading

  • Master Bill of Lading

  • Charter Party Bill of Lading

  • Multimodal Transport Document/ Combined Transport Document

  • Forwarders Bill of Lading

  • Stale Bill of Lading

  • Order Bill of Lading

  • Bearer Bill of Lading

  • Surrender Bill of Lading

Comparison: House Bill of Lading vs. Master Bill of Lading

Ocean Transport Intermediaries, such as freight forwarders or non-vessel operating companies, generate House Bills of Lading. As the formal acknowledgment of the receipt of goods, the HBL is an important document in shipping. Master bill of lading is the document shipping companies use as a transfer receipt.

HBL is issued by NVOCCs or freight forwarders and usually lists the actual shipper and consignor. Shippers and carriers agree upon the terms of carriage in a Master Bill of Lading (MBL).

Master Bills of Lading will only be issued to cargo shippers working directly with mainline carriers or freight forwarders.

Bills of Lading, whether House or Master, contain the same accurate, precise, and detailed information about cargo (such as container numbers, seal numbers, weights, and measurements).

What is a Telex release, and how it works?

A Telex Release transmits information from the origin of the shipment to the destination of the shipment. An agent can also send it to let the shipper know that it has already been surrendered.

Telex releases are email messages containing Bill of lading information that allows carriers to release goods to a designated recipient without having the physical, original Bill of lading in hand. They are also called release bills of lading, telex bills of lading, and telegraphic transfers.

What is an Express Release/Express Bill of Lading?

An express release bill of lading, also called a house seaway bill, is used when the shipper wishes to release their hold on cargo immediately. Shippers will receive a copy of the Bill of lading when freight is laden on board.

Neither the shipper nor the importer has to surrender anything back to the shipping company, so freight is released as soon as it is available. Moreover, electronic copying eliminates courier fees since electronic copies can be sent via email or fax.

Main advantages of an Express Release

The express release is beneficial for both the shipper and the recipient.

A consignee does not need to wait for or surrender an original bill of lading for cargo release as an Express bill manifests as such – cargo is released immediately. Shippers can send the express copy using mail or fax quickly.

The express release is useful for group companies with offices at the pol and pod and among trusting business partners. It also helps to save on Bill of lading stationery.

Original Bill of Lading (OBL) VS. Switch Bill of Landing 

An original bill of lading (OBL) confirms the carrier’s receipt of the cargo and serves as a title to the cargo. In addition to the original Bill of lading, there are two other identical original bills of lading, and all three are issued as one contract of carriage.

Two methods are available for releasing cargo issued with an original bill of lading: the original endorsed Bill of lading and telex releases.

Choosing a bill of lading and a release method for your shipment should be discussed with your supplier. The carrier or agent issues the Switch Bill of Lading. This document replaces the original Bill of Lading issued at the time of shipment. It is commonly used to replace the Shipper and Consignee details on the Original Bill of Lading.

How a switch Bill of Lading works?

As we mentioned, the carrier or a carrier representative issued the Switch Bill of 

Lading. It replaces the original Bill of Lading that was issued during shipment. It is commonly used to replace the Shipper and Consignee details on an Original Bill of Lading.

How do I fill out a bill of lading?

How do I fill out a bill of lading?

The B/L contains several details that are essential when shipping goods. All parties involved in the shipment are listed along with the shipper and consignee on the Bill of Lading.

Furthermore, the B/L contains details of the destination and country of origin and the release agent who handles the shipment upon arrival.

Whatever type of Bill of lading you’re filling out, make sure you have all the correct information:

  • You must double-check to make sure the information on the B/L is correctly filled in

  • Fill in all required fields

  • Identify hazardous materials

  • Fill in the details as much as you can

Freight Forwarder Receipt vs. Bill of Landing 

Freight Forwarder Receipt vs. Bill of Landing

In an FCR, the freight forwarder confirms to the consignor that the goods are in apparently good condition and that they have control over them. The freight forwarder’s receipt document is non-negotiable. Since it is non-negotiable, the consignee does not need to present an original copy when collecting the goods from the transport company. With FCR freight forwarder certifies they have received the goods.

 There are three main purposes of a bill of lading. A bill of lading is a document describing the good’s quality, quantity, and other details. The second purpose of the receipt is to serve as proof of delivery. Furthermore, it specifies the conditions under which the goods will be transported.

Final words

Many people have trouble identifying the difference between a Forwarder Cargo Receipt and a Bill of Lading. I hope the forwarder cargo receipt vs. bill of lading comparison will help you understand the documents’ significance. This will simplify the shipping process and help you understand the shipping documents.

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