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Jun 28, 2022Introduction to Trade

What is a Telex release?

A telex release is an electronic message delivered by an agent or a shipping line at the loading (POL) to an agent at the discharge (POD). This notification from the carrier to authorities at the POD indicates that the non-negotiable Original Bill of Lading (OBL) has been surrendered to them by the seller/consignor. As a result, delivery of the consignment mentioned in the bill can be completed without an OBL.

Use of Telex release

There are many advantages to using a telex release over an OBL. First, the transmission of the message takes place electronically, which eliminates the possibility of losing important documents. Second, as opposed to receiving a physical copy of the OBL, the authorities at the POD get the message quickly and securely. Finally, sending a hard copy of the OBL may add to the transaction costs due to detention or demurrage charges applied. Telex release is especially useful during short voyages when concerned parties have limited time for sending documents.

Issuing Telex

When it comes to shipping, a telex release is issued by the freight carrier after receiving the OBL (Ocean Bill of Lading) and verifying all documents. This first step in the goods clearance process is important for authorities at an unloading port to know. In some cases, the carrier will require that the entire fees are paid before releasing the telex.

How to get Telex release

If you need to get a telex release for your bill of lading, there are a few steps you’ll need to follow. First, you’ll need to contact the carrier that issued the OBL. In some cases, the carrier may ask for a letter of indemnity or demand a fee before issuing the telex release. However, if you have all of the necessary documentation, obtaining a telex release shouldn’t be too difficult.

How Telex release works

The telex release system is a simple way for agents to confirm that all the relevant OBLs have been surrendered at the point of origin and that cargo can be released. All necessary charges must have been paid and complete details of the cargo, including container number, BOL number, and time and place of issuance, must be submitted. The full name and contact details of the consignee are also required.

Advantages & Disadvantages of Telex Release


When using a telex release, the cargo is released to the consignee immediately after the OBL and other relevant documents are surrendered. This saves time and money since there is no need to send physical copies of the documents to authorities. In addition, print and stationery costs are eliminated. Telex releases are advantageous to all parties involved in the shipping process.


A telex release is a contract of carriage that gives all the concerned parties – the carrier, consignor, consignee, beneficiary, and clearing agent – a certain degree of control. While it’s a useful tool, there are some disadvantages to using a telex release that everyone should be aware of.

One such disadvantage is that if the instructions in the telex release are ambiguous or not conveyed accurately, it can cause confusion for all parties involved. This is often due to communication gaps caused by language barriers. In some cases, these misunderstandings can have serious consequences like releasing the cargo to the wrong party or not collecting the right fees.

Another issue with telex releases is fraud. Since they’re often sent

Telex release vs Express release vs Sea Waybill

There are three main ways that goods can be released when shipping: telex release, express release, and sea waybill. In a telex release, the agent at the point of origin sends a message to the destination port to release the cargo without the OBL (Original Bill of Lading). The shipper surrenders the OBL to the origin agent before the telex is sent. Express release is similar in that no OBL is issued, so the destination agent can release the goods to the consignee as soon as it arrives. The key difference between telex and express release is that in telex release, an OBL is still issued, printed, and submitted to the shipper even though they won’t be carrying it with them. Lastly, a sea waybill is simply a bill of lading that is used for maritime transport only. It doesn’t need to be surrendered at the destination port and can be used as a receipt for the goods.

A telex release can be requested in the following cases:

  • When the OBL cannot be mailed to the destination in time without incurring storage fees
  • When cargo payment has already been secured and the OBL is no longer necessary to hold the title to the cargo
  • To cut down the mailing or courier cost

The agents at the origin charge a surrender fee to hand over the OBL and send a telex release.

An express release BOL, or sea waybill, can be requested when the OBL is not needed for reasons such as:

  • The payment for the cargo is already secured, and no banks are involved in the transaction.
  • The transaction is between trusted parties such as group companies and branch offices.
  • The buyer and the supplier enjoy a long-standing business relationship.
  • When the supplier does not have enough time to release the OBL and send it to the destination without incurring storage or other charges.

Since there is no OBL to surrender, the supplier does not have to pay surrender fees at the origin for an express release.

A sea waybill of lading is a document that serves two purposes: evidence of a contract of carriage and acknowledgment of receipt of cargo.

A sea waybill of lading cannot be negotiated. When it is released, it is called an express release.

Cargo delivery under a sea waybill of lading can only be made to the consignee or its authorized agent.

Difference between Telex release and Bill of lading

When importing or exporting merchandise, you may come across the terms “telex release” and “bill of lading” (BOL). But what’s the difference between the two? A telex release is a virtual copy of the BOL, and is often used in lieu of the original document. presenting a copy of the telex release is usually enough to secure the release of your goods. OBL, on the other hand, is a physical document that must be presented in order to receive your merchandise at destination – meaning it entails the additional cost of sending the document by courier.


How to check Telex release?

There are a few ways to check if a telex release has been authorized. The shipping line generally includes procedures in their agency manual that both the receiving and releasing agent must follow. These procedures usually include obtaining written authority from the principal, which is necessary to confirm the telex release. By strictly following these procedures, agents can avoid any potential complications.

Is Telex release the same as surrender?

While telex release and surrender may sound similar, they are actually two different things. Telex release is an electronic communication from the receiving agent to the releasing agent confirming that the shipper has provided the OBL and the goods can be released. On the other hand, surrender means collecting the BOL at the point of export. So, if you’re ever unsure about which one to use, just remember that telex release has to do with an electronic communication while surrender involves collecting a physical document.

What is Telex release for containers?

A telex release for containers is an electronic message from the agent of authority at the POL (point of loading), indicating that the shipper has surrendered the OBL (original bill of lading). This is similar to a telex release for any other type of goods or consignment. A telex release allows shipping to proceed without the need for the original bill of lading.

Who pays for Telex release?

When it comes to telex releases, the party responsible for footing the bill is typically the shipper. Of course, there are always exceptions to this rule, so be sure to clarify payment terms with your shipping company beforehand. Telex releases are a necessary part of the shipping process, so understanding all the related costs is crucial in ensuring a seamless experience.

Is Telex release negotiable?

A telex release is used to clear goods without the non-negotiable OBL being presented at the destination. In most cases, a BOL is a negotiable instrument. However, there are some exceptions where this isn’t the case. Keep reading to learn more about telex releases and whether or not they’re negotiable.


In conclusion, it’s important to understand the difference between a telex release and bill of lading, as well as the associated costs. Keep in mind that a telex release is an electronic copy of the BOL, and is often used in lieu of the original document. presenting a copy of the telex release is usually enough to secure the release of your goods. OBL, on the other hand, is a physical document that must be presented in order to receive your merchandise at destination – meaning it entails the additional cost of sending the document by courier. When it comes to payment, typically the shipper is responsible for footing the bill for a telex release. However, be sure to clarify payment terms with your shipping company beforehand. Understanding all the related costs is crucial in ensuring a seamless shipping experience.


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