- The Straight BOL - assigned by means of a document instrument in writing, evidencing the assignment, which the assignee must present to the master of the vessel together with the original BOL when he collects the goods. On a straight BOL, the term "to the order of" printed on standard BOL must be crossed out, and the deletion initialled by both the shipper and the Master.
- A Clean BOL - contains nothing in contradiction to qualify the receipt on board of the ship, the goods in "apparent good order and condition". Goods may sometimes be ‘received alongside’, which can result in a delay prior to the physical loading of the goods onto the vessel.
- An Unclean BOL – contains a notation that goods received by carrier were defective.
- The Through BOL - issued when a shipper wishes the carrier or shipping line to arrange for transport to a destination beyond the port of discharge. The through BOL, in addition to the agreement to carry goods from port to port, includes a further journey (by sea or land) from the port of ship's destination to a distant place (for instance, a destination inland instead of a port).
- House BOL (HBL) – An internal document generated by a forwarder or broker to provide relevant information to a client. HBLs may not always be presented as official documentation used during the customs process, .
- Master BOL (MBL) – the official BOL generated by the shipping line or vessel operator. MBLs will generally bear the most accurate information, and many customs authorities will only use MBLs for customs clearance purposes.