Difference between MBL and HBL. How does MBL work and How does HBL?

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Difference between House Bill of Lading and Master Bill of Lading – HBL Vs. MBL  

This is one of the common questions among readers about house bill of lading and master bill of lading. 

What is House Bill of Lading? What is Master Bill of Lading?

How to differentiate Master Bill of Lading and House bill of lading?

What is HBL?

A bill of lading issued by a freight forwarder or NVOCC (Non vessel operating companies) is called HBL House Bill of Lading. Once after receiving cargo from shipper after necessary customs formalities, the freight forwarder releases House Bill of Lading HBL to the shipper. House Bill of Lading also is a negotiable document and accepted similar to any Bill of Lading. Normally HBL House Bill of Lading is issued as per the terms and conditions of Multi model Transport Document Act. The shipper in House Bill of Lading is the exporter or shipper who delivers goods to freight forwarder and the importer or consignee, the party to whom the cargo has to be delivered by the said freight forwarder.

Difference between MBL and HBL. How MBL works and How HBL works

What is MBL? How does MBL work?

 The freight forwarder after receiving goods from shipper, re-book the same cargo to main carriers who are vessel owners. The main carriers, once cargo received, issues Bill of Lading to whom the cargo booked with him. This is called MBL Master Bill of Lading. In a master bill of lading, the shipper will be the freight forwarder who delivers the cargo to main carrier and the consignee, the overseas counterpart party of the freight forwarder who receives the goods from final shipper. 

Once after arriving the goods at destination, the importer approaches overseas counterpart of freight forwarder for cargo and the freight forwarder issues’ delivery order’ to the importer after receiving necessary destination charges. The said freight forwarder approaches the main carrier to release the cargo after paying necessary charges to main carrier if any.

MBL is Master Bill of Lading issued by main carrier of goods on receipt of goods from a freight forwarder to deliver at destination as per agreed terms. HBL means House Bill of Lading issued by a freight forwarder on receipt of goods from shipper agreeing to deliver goods at destination.

Let us go deeply in to the above statements with a simple example. A, a freight forwarder acts as a carrier legally accepts cargo from an exporter X agreeing to deliver cargo to Y at New York. A issues bill of lading to X on receipt of goods after necessary export customs formalities. A after receiving goods from X transfers goods to C who is a main carrier of goods. While transferring goods to C, A obtains a bill of lading from main carrier C agreeing to deliver cargo at New York. Here, the bill of lading issued by A to X is called house bill of lading and the bill of lading issued by C to A is called Master Bill of Lading.

How the goods are delivered in HBL and MBL transactions. Let us know the procedures under HBL and MBL.

A has their office counterpart at New York called B. C also has their counterpart in New York called D.  Once after arrival of goods at New York, D who represents on behalf of C delivers cargo to B who represents on behalf of A. B delivers goods to Y who is the consignee of X.   

What is documentation procedures in HBL and MBL.

How HBL and MBL works. How shipper and consignee are mentioned in HBL and MBL. Let us take the same example. When receiving goods from exporter X, A as freight forwarder release House Bill of Lading to X in his specified format. Here, the shipper is X and consignee is Y in the said House bill of Lading. The HBL number and other related reference number is given by the freight forwarder on the House Bill of Lading. All other information in Bill of lading are mentioned based on the legal export shipping documents completed by exporter for customs clearance procedures. Once the cargo transferred to C as main carrier of goods, A obtains Master Bill of Lading from C. Here, in Master bill of lading, Shipper becomes A and consignee becomes B who is the overseas counterpart of A who situates at port of destination at New York.

How goods are transferred to final consignee at destination in MBL and HBL transactions. What is the procedures at destination port under HBL and MBL procedures.

Once after arrival of goods at destination, B approaches D with the original bill of lading received from A issued by C to take delivery of cargo. D issues delivery order after collecting necessary destination delivery charges if any. If Original Bill of Lading was surrendered at origin port, D confirms on such OBL surrender message and issues D.O to B. B in turn, issues delivery order to Y after receiving original bill of lading issued by A with necessary destination delivery order charges if any. If original House bill of lading was surrendered at load port, he confirms on such surrender of OBL and issues D.O.  Also read - What happens if Date difference in HBL & MBL?    Difference between MAWB and HAWB.   How to surrender ‘HBL’ House Bill of Lading

I hope, you have satisfied with the above article about Master Bill of Lading and House bill of lading – The difference between HBL and MBL.

Have you satisfied with this article on HBL Vs MBL?

Would you like to share your experience in handling HBL and MBL?


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saleeth: what is DO (deliver order)

ajay: HBL / MBL does not have any implication for manifestation?

Noro: Dear, I want thank you for your good article. by the way, I need your help for one problem: I'm business man, I do business with Chinese suppliers for a long time, recently, I have a big problem with my local forwarder. this last one have recently a big financial problem in our local market, so when my containers arrive to our port, he said me that he have a problem with his agent in china, who used to do the MBL, this last one still now keep in his side the MBL (in goal to push him to send him some deals between them 8000$). up to now, our local agent didn't solve this problem, (27days our goods still in port). when we checked with the company that our local and chinese agent use for transport (Safmarine) they said us they cannot release cargo to a party other than the consignee mentioned in our MBL unless confirmed/instructed from origin. the MBL cosignee are the chinese agent and our local agent. I want really help me to unlock this situation, please not that we have HBL with our name as consign and freight collected, so our local agent use the chinese agent just to do the MBL. Waiting your fast reply Noro

Surendran Kollerath: Hi Noro, The issue you have mentioned has been regularly being continued at various import locations all over world. The local freight forwarder does not issue their Delivery Order to consignee to take delivery of goods from Main carrier. In your case, Safmarine can not deliver goods to you unless otherwise they receive an NOC/DO from the consignee mentioned in MBL. If HBL has been mentioned as FREIGHT PREPAID and you consignee has original HBL with you, the local freight forwarder can not hold your shipment. If an express Bill of Lading is issued, you can approach your forwarder to release goods. However, if your Chinese supplier surrendered released MBL at Chinese load port, your local main carrier has to receive confirmation on such surrender of OBL (MBL) to release goods to you although main carrier at destination receives NOC/DO from destination forwarder. In your case, the forwarder at load port may be purposely delaying to surrender MBL with main carrier for settling any dispute between your local forwarder with his counter part office at load port. However, freight forwarder is held responsible for delaying delivery of goods unless otherwise the consignee has dues to pay to carrier against the said import shipment.

Surendran Kollerath: Hi Ajay, If HBL/MBL involved in an export import shipment, manifestation of freight forwarder also required.

Surendran Kollerath: Hi Saleeth, Please go through article about DO in same web site.

kyiphyu: MBL mentioned HS CODE HBL didn't mentioned HS CODE Is there any problem at destination ??

Surendran Kollerath: Hi kyiphyu, As per my knowledge, if HS code has not been mentioned in HBL, there may not have major difficulties in clearing import goods.

Ameel Titto: Hello I have kind of technical question I hope you can help me with: I have in hands a B/L from China with the manufacturer name as shipper , The goods I have sold to a customer in Italy, what can I do in order not to disclose the name of the shipper , i.e how to get a new B/L with my name as shipper in stead of the original manufacturer ? awaiting your advise . Thanks Ameel

sandra: Hello.i would love to thank you so much for those valuable clarifications. Im in my first month of internship in an import export company could you plz recommende me a good subjectfrom ur expérience

Admin: Hi Sandra, There are many many interesting subjects in Export Import business. If you are asking for a specialized study under international business for Project, I suggest you to pick up the subject, TRADE FACILITATION AGREEMENT of WTO, forthcoming world trade reforms expected by 2017, after GATT of 1994.

Rishabh Singhal : I have 2 potato cold storages at agra (capacity of 260000 bags)...... I want to start exports to malasia, singapore, russia and sri lanka....Kindly give guidance on export procedures, logistics, people i should meet for getting knowledge on various procedures like export agents, JNPT officials etc...

PAWAN KUMAR : Hello, i have query, There is a shipment which moved from origin on MBL and forwarder is also involve. House BL issued from origin is thru bank. While forwarder approach to shipping line for delivery order, can shipping line or carrier ask forwarder to provide a copy of original which is endorsed by bank?

MD_it: Hi! I have a question that I can't solve myself: Is it risky for a freight forwarder to issue both MBL and HBL? Is he obliged to do so? I mean: if cnee (HBL, the importer)states that he doesn't want the goods any more while goods have already been shipped.. freight forwarder, being the shipper in the OBL/MBL, would be asked to pay demurrage and freight from the carrier, is it right or I miss something? could freight forwarder only issue the HBL (acting as agent of the carrier)? would it be less risky? Tks, MD

shyam sundar sharma: Sir, If an overseas customer has taken delivery of goods in one FCL without getting origional HBL from us, what should we do now as they had paid us 20% of consignment value only, in advance and balance 80% still not received by us.Order was booked on FoB basis. We are big frustration and feel cheated by the party as well as HBL issuing company. Regards Shyam S Sharma

mahmoud.z: thanx

Anders Skakkebæk : Came across your website howtoexportimport.com, and especially regarding the covering the differences between HBL/MBL which made me wonder. Is it possible for your to describe (in a few words) the differences between issuing (as a NVOCC) a HBL from just a direct MBL.

ramakrishnan: very interesting clarification i like this

Thomas S: Hi, I have a query. I have a shipment for which I have received 30% as advance payment and balance 70% payment by TT just before the vessel reaches the consignee port. The shipment is handled by the nominated shipping forwarder by the consignee. The forwarder is ready to give 3 originals of HBL to me ( shipper ). Does the credit is secured by holding the HBL with me? Which means, without surrendering the original HBL with the forwarder at export location or getting the HBL with the forwarder at destination port DO cannot be released? Or should I insist the forwarder to issue a MBL with shipper as my company and consignee as my client and hold the OBL (MBL) with me. This way can I secure my credit? . Thanks

Shaheryar Zia : Excellent concept of HBL as well as MBL.

OP Sharma : I have surfed yr site how to export import and found same extremely informative. I he some query related to freight payment for vessel chartered for import cargo full brake bulk load. Would like to take yr opinion

Hamed: The example given for difference of HBL and MBL was beneficial. Thank you for the Artcle.

Gaurav kuchya: We send 13 containers to United Kingdom on house bill of landing.we instruct to shipping agent about to not released containers at destination port without presentation of original house bill of landing.we found containers are custom cleared and released ,please explain how it possible.

JAGDEEP: Dear Sir I have sent a consignment to poland on LCL basis. The consignment has reached the destination but the consignee is demanding the MBL for the release of the consignment .On asking the same from my frieght forwarder he refuse to provide me MBL. Need your help asap

emmanuel: After realizing that destination details are incorrect we have been forced to amend the status of the BL. However there are two shippers. One in the MBL and another in the HBL which shipper is supposed to write to the shipping company to instruct correction of the destination ?

NITEESH: hi this site is very helpul for me as a beginner in Export. could anyone advise on below. My shipment - ex. Mundra to Puerto cortes, Honduras. i have 1 MBL with consignee: my forwarding agent and 1 HBL with Consignee: Actual consignee. will i able to issue MBL with Consignee: Actual Consignee and put my forwarding agent in Notify party column. is it ok and if not ok, please describe the issue occur in destination. Thanks!

NK Menon: Dear Sir, In the case of International trade,for a freight forwarder business, there is always MBL and HBL involved. Upon arrival of goods in INDIA, the shipping line generate the destination charges bill in the name of the MBL cnee name, ie. the freight forwarder name, with freight forwarder's GSTIN Number, However, for all purpose, a freight forwarder job is to just collect the OHBL from actual cnee as per HBL and then release the No object certificate to shipping line to release the Delivery to HBL cnee, after collection of the relevant destination charges from HBL cnee. In this case, the HBL cnee do not get the bill in their name, but they are paying the charges to shipping line . How, the HBL cnee can the GST input credit in this case. Being a freight forwarder, their role restrict to endorsement of the BL and release the NOC to HBL cnee , but the shipping line payments are not transacted through the freight forwarder and the HBL cnee directly pay the charges to the shipping line. Can u please guide me how the HBL cnee can take the credit of the GST in this case. As a forwarder, we do not want to increase the Turnover due to the shipping line charges, as maintaining the accountability and also the turnover shoot up drastically,

Nilesh sarella: I want to download this

Fidelis: i thank you very much the question and answers given.

Donald: Dear Sir, I have a question. I have an Export FCL shipment from Long Beach, US to Bangkok, Thailand. I don't know if a Company who located in HongKong can be the Shipper on House BOL or not ?

Dipankar Bhattacharjee: Freight forwarder can hold MBL?


sugandha: MBL is issued in the name of Forwarder instead of Consignee. that’s why IGM is filled in the name of Forwarder. So we are not able to file Bills of Entry in the name of Consignee. Kindly suggest.

Muhammad Shaharyar: Dear Sir, I appreciate your effort. I learned more understanding, and clear my no. of problem.

ashish: good article but for me the example was confusing, better to put fictional names and port. I skipped that part to avoid keeping track of who is A and what is X.

Dhanraj Deshmukh: HBL needs POD as Newark whereas MBL has POD as New York. Please confirm. Carrier Booking received : POD New York MBL : POD New York Our HBL : POD Newark

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