B/L: What is the difference between HBL and MBL?


B/L: What is the difference between HBL and MBL? The risks and countermeasures of the replacement of the bill of lading?

B/L: What is the difference between HBL and MBL?

What is the meaning of MBL and HBL that freight forwarders often say? What is the difference between MBL and HBL bill of lading?


1. The full names of MBL and HBL and their property certificate attributes

The full name of MBL is Master Bill of Lading, commonly known as the ship owner’s bill of lading and owner’s bill. If there is a separate bill, MBL is usually also called the master bill.

The full  name of HBL is House Bill of Lading, commonly known as forwarder bill of lading, forwarder bill, if you want to issue a sub-bill, then the sub-bill must be issued by the forwarder, since it is a forwarder, so all sub-bills are HBL-but not Not all HBLs are split orders, because many are not split orders. There are also a few people who call the forwarder bill of lading Forwarder Bill of Loading.

It should be noted that the bill of lading (regardless of MBL or HBL) is only for shipping. Air and railway transportation documents, strictly speaking, should be called waybills-air waybill is Airway Bill (abbreviated as AWB); railway waybill is Railway Bill, which is essentially different from Bill of lading (MBL&HBL). Therefore, air waybills and railway waybills should not be called bills of lading.

The bill of lading (B/L or BL for short), its most important feature is the “property certificate”-unique to shipping.

The so-called “property right certificate” refers to the certificate, bill, certificate and other written certificates that prove that the real right holder owns the real right. MBL, HBL, etc. are a kind of property right certificate because they can be endorsed and transferred; multimodal bill of lading, railway waybill, air waybill, parcel or express receipt are not property right certificates. The above-mentioned documents are all receipts issued by the carrier for the goods carried.

To put it simply, the waybill is just a receipt for the goods; and the ocean bill of lading (MBL, HBL, etc.) has the attribute that represents the ownership of the goods.


2. The characteristics of MBL bill of lading and its difference from HBL

  • The issuer of MBL is the shipping company and shipowner.
  • The HBL issuer is the freight forwarder (freight forwarder).
  • The head of MBL is the shipping company, the shipowner.
  • The head of HBL is a freight forwarder.

MBL can directly pick up the cargo from the shipping company and shipowner at the port of destination, while HBL must first exchange the owner’s bill of lading (MBL) with the agent at the destination port, and then go to the shipping company or its agency to pick up the cargo with the exchanged MBL.

In container liner transportation, MBL is only applicable to FCL FCL transportation, and shipping companies will not issue LCL bills of lading (partial bills). HBL can be used for both FCL and LCL LCL, and HBL must be used for LCL transportation, because LCL must issue separate orders, which are issued by LCL forwarders.


Why do you still need HBL?

From the issuer of the bill of lading, one is the shipping company and the other is the freight forwarder, you can know which one is more flexible. MBL is often not easy to change, and it is not easy to issue bills of lading based on customer requirements (especially when L/C letter of credit terms).

In addition, when the customer is not designated by the freight forwarder, it is more convenient to sign the shipping bill of lading to control the cargo rights. Because after all, it is the freight forwarder you find yourself, and you are the customer, so it is easier to communicate. In short, freight forwarders are easier to talk about, especially those you find yourself. However, shipping companies are not so easy to talk about.

There is another possible reason. When there is an intermediary, the intermediary may not want to let the final customer know the source of the goods and other key information. They often issue HBL and only give the HBL to the final customer, so as to achieve the purpose of keeping trade secrets.