A Bill of lading (B/L) is a legal document that serves as receipt of goods, contract of carriage and maybe used as a document of title. The differences between the two types of Bills of Lading—Master Bill of Lading (MBL) and House Bill of Lading (HBL)—are subtle, yet important to understand. If the B/L is issued as a “negotiable” then that indicates evidence of title. If the B/L is issued as a “non-negotiable” then that would not be evidence or title.
MBL—Once goods are received by the common carrier and the vessel has sailed, they issue an MBL to the booking party. In the case of a direct booking, the booking party is the shipper, but if a HBL is involved then the booking party will be an Ocean Transportation Intermediary (OTI).
HBL—Once goods are received by the common carrier and the vessel has sailed, they issue a Master Bill of Lading to the OTI and the OTI issues a House Bill of Lading to the shipper. For each HBL there is an MBL when cargo is booked, LCL or not. The OTI’s issue the HBL to the actual consignee.
The Break Down
Differences between MBL and HBL:
- MBL is issued by the common carrier (main carrier) to the OTI.
- HBL is issued by the OTI to their customers.
- MBL shipper is the OTI.
- HBL shipper is the exporter of goods (actual shipper.)
- MBL consignee is the counterpart or overseas agent of the OTI.
- HBL consignee is the importer of the goods (actual consignee).
- MBL—OTI usually surrenders this to the shipping line at origin.
- HBL—the receiver of goods at destination surrenders this to the overseas agent or counterpart of the OTI and receives the No Objection Certificate (NOC).
For assistance with understanding the differences between MBLs and HBLs reach out to Mohawk Global.
By Clarissa Chiclana