Master Bill of Lading

Master Bill of Lading

Master Bill of Lading


A Master Bill of Lading (MBL) document is classified as a Bill of Lading issued by a shipowner or operator, known as a carrier. This type of Bill of Lading (BOL) is the best type for the financier because it represents the contract of carriage between the shipper and the carrier.

International maritime transport is carried out mostly as container transport. There are large-scale carriers that carry container shipping worldwide. If an exporter wishes to transport with one of the specified carriers, it communicates with the carrier company and organizes transportation.

After the loading organization, the carrier shows a signed bill of the consignment to the exporter when the loaded container leaves the loading port. The carrier takes responsibility for the Master Bill of Lading, as it is signed by the carrier and printed by the carrier. Therefore, a Master Bill of Lading document is one of the most reliable documents in maritime transportation. A Master Bill Of Lading is basically printed in 2 ways:

  1. A Direct Master Bill of Lading document, organized directly by the agency/carriers to the exporter.
  2. Master Bill of Lading, organized by carriers for freight forwarders.


Similarities and Differences Between House Bill of Lading and Master Bill of Lading


A House Bill Of Lading (HBL) and Master Bill Of Lading (MBL) are similar in the information they state and their purpose or function. In other words, both are a type of Bill Of Lading (BOL) that is responsible for serving as a receipt, contract of carriage, and title for the goods being shipped. The difference between the two has to do with the parties the Bill is intended for.

All information on a House Bill Of Lading such as voyage, cargo descriptions, number of containers, seal numbers, weight, and measurements should reflect the information on the Master Bill Of Lading verbatim. While the House Bill Of Lading exists to work between the actual shipper and receiver of the goods and the MBL is meant for the local and foreign freight forwarders assisting the transaction, the role of the Bill Of Lading remains the same and thus, the information on both Bills must be completely reflective of each other.


When Are a Master and House Bill Of Lading Issued?


Due to the relevancy of the topic, we wrote an article on When a House Bill Of Lading is Issued that covers most questions regarding the time of its creation in an international shipping transaction. However, it’s important to understand that the Master Bill Of Lading and House Bill Of Lading are issued consecutively. The Master Bill Of Lading is issued first from the Shipping Line or Carrier to the NVOCC or Freight Forwarder, and the NVOCC or Freight Forwarder then produces their own House Bill Of Lading for their clients. As mentioned before, the details then between the Master Bill Of Lading and House Bill Of Lading remain the same.



Share post