Ship’s Delivery Order (SDO)


A Delivery Order is a release document issued by the carrier releasing the cargo to the consignee mentioned in the bill of lading.


The carrier issues the delivery order upon receiving:

  • One or all duly endorsed Original Bill(s) of Lading, or;
  • A duly authorised Bank Guarantee (in the absence of an original bill of lading), or;
  • A Telex Release confirmation from the loading port or principal confirming surrender of one or all Original Bills of Lading issued for the shipment, or;
  • A copy of a Sea Waybill issued.

In many countries, the delivery order is necessary for customs clearance and cargo retrieval from storage locations such as ports, terminals, or depots.

Legal framework

There is no specific governing regulation for the usage of a delivery order, whether private or public.


It can be estimated that around 45 million delivery orders are issued annually.

Key standards

Many delivery orders are still issued via email in PDF format, but a widely adopted standard for this document is the UN/EDIFACT COREOR.

The Container Release Order (COREOR) message is an Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) message used to request the release of full containers to a specified party.


In the case of this document, there are no issues with the digital adoption as by and large, it is already digitally transmitted, and if the standards set are made easy, there will be large scale and quick adoption.