Telex Release Bill of Lading and Express Release Bill of Lading are terms that confuse many importers and exporters. Many use these terms loosely and interchangeably to mean that no Original Ocean Bill of Lading is needed at the destination to obtain the cargo release.

However, Telex Release and Express Release do have different meanings, and it is important to understand the difference.



A Telex Release is a message that is sent by the agent or shipping line from origin to their agent or office at destination to acknowledge that the shipper has surrendered the Original Bill of Lading that has been issued to them. This allows the cargo to be released to the consignee without having to physically present the Original Bill of Lading prior to release. A Telex Release is done in the event that the Original Bill of Lading cannot be mailed to the destination in time for cargo release without the goods incurring storage charges, or it can be done to save on mailing costs after payment is secured from the buyer. The Telex Release received its name because in the past the release would have been sent via Telex instead of via email, which is common now.



An Express Release Bill of Lading means that no Original Bills of Lading were issued, or requested to be issued, when the shipper’s instructions were sent to the shipping line. Express Release is typically requested when the shipper does not need to hold onto the Original Bill of Lading to secure payment for the cargo. The shipper and consignee may be related companies, or have a strong business relationship in these scenarios. Since no Original Bills of Lading were created, nothing has to be mailed to destination for cargo release.


The major difference between a Telex Release and an Express Release is as follows:

  • With a Telex Release, a physical Original Bill of Lading was issued, printed, and then surrendered.
  • With an Express Release, no Original Bill of Lading was ever issued or printed.
  •  If you should have any questions related to Ocean Bills of Lading or other documentation please, contact our International Operations Manager assistant, Ms Ava at

    Categories Ocean Freight, Shipping Rules & Regulations | Tags: bill of lading, Express Release, Ocean Bill of Lading, Telex Release