House Bill of Lading

House Bill of Lading

House Bill of Lading


The House Bill of Lading is a document created by an Ocean Transport Intermediary such as a freight forwarder or non-vessel operating company. The document is an acknowledgment of the receipt of the vehicle/goods that are to be shipped. The House Bill of Lading is issued to the supplier once the cargo has been received and may be used in lieu Letter of Credit in lieu of a Master Bill of Lading (MBL). House Bill of Lading includes the name and address of the supplier, who delivers the shipment to the freight forwarder, and the consignee, whom the freight forwarder delivers the
shipment to. The House Bill of Lading document also includes specific information about the items shipped and the value of the shipping contract.


According to Freight Comparator, the House Bill of Lading has the following requirements:

  • The consignee should be the actual receiver of the cargo

  • The shipper should be the exporter of the cargo

  • The notify can be either the importer or any other party mentioned in the bill of lading


Difference between Master Bill of Lading and House Bill of Lading


When moving vehicle/goods from their starting location to their final destination, a bill of lading makes the rules, and using the correct one is critical. Here is a quick and simple guide on the differences between a House Bill of Lading and a Master Bill of Lading and when they should be used in ocean freight.

The main difference between the HBL and MBL is that an HBL is issued by an NVOCC (or freight forwarder) and usually lists the actual shipper and consignee, whereas, the MBL is issued by the carrier. Both the House and Master Bill of Lading  contain the same accurate, precise, and detailed information about cargo (the number of containers, seal numbers, weight, measurements, etc.). It’s also worth noting that the shipper, consignee, and notify party are the only details that will be different in the HBL and MBL.

A bill of lading, regardless of the vessel, guides the actions of the proper parties along the entire route of the shipment and tells the cargo handlers where the shipment is going, how the vehicle/goods should be handled, what the piece/part count should be, and how it will be billed.

Of course, in order  to  avoid revenue disruptions, it’s crucial to make sure all fields on all of your shipping documents are complete and accurate. International shipping experts recommend that you recognize and enforce the accuracy of data capture as a priority, starting at the shipment's point of origin and through Customs. For help, here are five best practices to prevent stalls in fulfilling your promises to cross-border customers.


  Master Bill of Lading House Bill of Lading
Issued by Shipping carrier to NVOCC NVOCC to customers
Issued on Pre-printed form of shipping carrier’s Bill of Lading Pre-printed form of NVOCC’s Bill of Lading
Shipper NVOCC or its agent Actual shipper/exporter
Consignee Destination agent or NVOCC Actual receiver/importer
Notify party Same as consignee or any other party Same as consignee



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