What are the Differences Between MBL (Master Bill of Lading) and HBL (House Bill of Lading)?

A master bill of lading is a transport document which is issued by a sea carrier or its agent. A house bill of lading is a transport document which is issued by a freight forwarder.

0
4886

Understanding the differences between a master bill of lading and a house bill of lading in export and import transactions.

What Does a Master Bill of Lading Mean in Export and Import Businesses?

A master bill of lading (MBL) is a transport document, which is used in sea shipments, issued and signed by a sea cargo carrier or its agent, generally on a pre-printed carrier’s bill of lading format, evidences the terms and conditions of the carriage of goods between port of loading to port of discharge.

What Are the Main Features of a Master Bill of Lading (MBL)?

  • A master bill of lading generally issued on a pre-printed bill of lading form of an issuer carrier.
  • A master bill of lading issued and signed by a carrier or an agent on behalf of the carrier.
  • A master bill of lading (MBL) is issued subject to Hague Rules, The Hague-Visby Rules and US COGSA (US Carriage of Goods by Sea Act 1936. ) etc.
  • A master bill of lading is signed by the actual carrier and states the terms and conditions of the carriage, as a result consignee may have a better protection in case the goods are damaged or lost in transit.

Figure 1: Master Bill of Lading Sample (Carrier: Maersk Line) Figure 1 : Master Bill of Lading Sample (Carrier : Maersk Line)

What Does a House Bill of Lading Mean in Export and Import Businesses?

A house bill of lading (HBL) is a transport document, which is used in sea shipments, issued and signed by a freight forwarder, generally on a freight forwarder’s bill of lading format, evidences the terms and conditions of the carriage of goods as specified by the freight forwarder.

What Are the Main Features of a House Bill of Lading (HBL)?

  • A house bill of lading generally issued on a freight forwarder’s bill of lading format.
  • A house bill of lading issued and signed by a forwarder without indicating any signing authority either carrier or as agent of the carrier. In some occasions forwarder companies sign HBLs “as carrier”, especially when their clients require a bill of lading compliant to the letter of credit conditions.
  • A house bill of lading (HBL) may or may not be subject to Hague Rules, The Hague-Visby Rules and US COGSA (US Carriage of Goods by Sea Act 1936. ) etc.
  • House bill of lading is signed by the forwarder, and it states the terms and conditions of carriage for the forwarder company’s perspective. A house bill of lading does not contain actual carrier’s carriage contract, as a result the shipper stated on the house bill of lading is not identified in the actual carrier’s contract.

Figure 2: House Bill of Lading Sample

Figure 2 : House Bill of Lading Sample

What are the Differences Between MBL (Master Bill of Lading) and HBL (House Bill of Lading)?

Master Bill of LadingHouse Bill of Lading
Master Bill of Lading:
Issued by the actual carrier, such as MSC, Maersk, Yang Ming Lines, etc.
House Bill of Lading:
Issued by the forwarder company, such as XYZ Forwarding Ltd, etc.
Master Bill of Lading:
Signed either by the carrier or an agent of the carrier.
House Bill of Lading:
Signed by the forwarding company without any agency indication of the carrier.
Master Bill of Lading:
Issued on a pre-printed form of an actual carrier's bill of lading.
House Bill of Lading:
Issued on a pre-printed form of a forwarder company's bill of lading.
Master Bill of Lading:
Always subject to Hague Rules, The Hague-Visby Rules and US COGSA (US Carriage of Goods by Sea Act 1936. ) etc.
House Bill of Lading:
May or may not be subject to Hague Rules, The Hague-Visby Rules and US COGSA (US Carriage of Goods by Sea Act 1936. ) etc.
Master Bill of Lading:
States the terms and conditions of the carriage, as a result consignee may have protection in case the goods are damaged or lost in transit.
House Bill of Lading:
States the terms and conditions of the forwarding company, as a result consignee will not be having a legal protection in case the goods are damaged or lost in transit.
Master Bill of Lading:
States actual carrier's bill of lading number.
House Bill of Lading:
States forwarder company's bill of lading number.