The carrier may release their BL in four different ways. Sometimes there is no choice as the country stipulates the release method.
Original. Here the BL acts like a bank check. The consignee or notify party must sign the back of the original document and present this to the carrier to receive their cargo. When originals are issued, they are issued in a set of three.
Original at destination. This is the same as the above, except the carrier’s destination office is given authority to print it locally. The consignee then has to appear with the correct form of ID, collect the BLs, and then return them signed to collect their cargo.
Telex (original at origin). Telex is the reverse of the original-at-destination version above. Here the original is printed at the origin and “telexed” to the carrier’s destination office. No original is required to collect your cargo.
Express Release (completely electronic). In this case, no originals are issued or required. It is completely electronic from start to finish. This is our preference because if changes need to be made, or if documents get lost, the risk is very low of causing a delay with an Express Release. Express Release is sometimes called a Seaway Bill. This is the same document.