House Bill of Lading: All you need to know about its format and benefits

A House Bill of Lading is issued by a freight forwarder or NVOCC (Non-Vessel Operating Common Carrier) to acknowledge the receipt of export goods for shipment. In this blog, learn about format and examples of House BOL.
house bill of lading
There are various stages in the shipment of cargo (export goods) – from loading to delivering it to the end customer or importer. Among the types of Bill of Lading, a House Bill of Lading acts as a legal document to prove the ownership of goods that is being shipped. It is a key document in the ocean freight process.

What is a House Bill of Lading?

A House Bill of Lading is a type of Bill of Lading, created by an Ocean Transport Intermediary (OTI) such as a Non-Vessel Operating Common Carrier (NVOCC) or a freight forwarder and given to the supplier post receiving the cargo. An HBL states the contract between supplier and carrier company. It is the duty of the supplier and the carrier company to solve any sort of issues that might occur during shipment. The supplier then delivers the shipment to the freight forwarder, who, after inspecting the cargo, delivers it to the consignee at the mentioned destination1.

What is the purpose of a House Bill of Lading?

A House Bill of Lading is legal proof of a contract between the consignee and the carrier company. It acts as a legal slip or acknowledgment that the carrier has received the consignment for shipment. It is also an assurance that the consignment is damage-free and ready to be shipped to the consignee. If any damage of any kind is caused to the consignment during shipping, then the carrier company is held responsible for this damage.

What is included in a House Bill of Lading?

Some of the information mentioned in a House Bill of Lading are:
• Exporter’s name and address
• Importer’s name and address
• Total value of goods that has been shipped in monetary terms
• Details about mode of transportation that are being used for shipment
• A detailed study of shipment terms and conditions

What is the format of a House Bill of Lading?

Following is the format of the House Bill of Lading:
A House Bill of Lading format is almost the same as the freight forwards’ Bill of Lading format.
• There is no legal signing authority as to who should sign an HBL, but in most cases, an HBL is issued as well as signed by a freight forwarder. It can be signed by any member of the carrier company.
• The freight forwarder signs a House Bill of Lading, representing the terms and conditions as per their perspective, so that no dispute from any parties takes place during the shipping of goods.

How does a House Bill of Lading work?

Step 1:

As soon as the supplier provides NVOCC with the shipment, the next step is to ensure that all the required documents and customs paperwork are completed and up to date.

Step 2:

After proper inspection and verification, an HBL is given to the shipper.

Step 3:

The shipper provides the HBL to the consignee. The consignee then uses the House Bill of Lading to claim the shipper’s shipment among various consignments.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the main difference between a Bill of Lading and a House Bill of Lading?
A Bill of Lading is a legal document that works as proof of shipment when the cargo is shipped overseas. It acts as a contract of carriage, which outlines the shipping details. On the other hand, a House Bill of Lading is issued by the freight forwarder or NVOCC, which contains details of the cargo, carrier and so on.
Who issues the House Bill of Lading?
Although anybody can issue an HBL, it is usually issued by the carrier companies. The terms and conditions of the contract of carriage must be suitable and accepted by all the parties involved. Also, those who issue their own HBL must take all necessary precautions including a suitable insurance that covers fraud or risk of any kind.
Can anyone issue a house Bill of Lading?
As of now, there are no restrictions relating to the issuance of HBL. But in countries like USA or India, it requires a Bill of Lading (normal or house) that must be registered with the relevant official authorities, before it can be used further during the shipment process. During the shipment, the carrier has the legal authority of the consignment through HBL. When the consignment reached its destination, the recipient must provide the correct required documentation that will help him to pick up the consignment.
Published on September 10, 2022.

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*Map not to scale. The map has been used for design and representational purpose only, it does not depict the geographical boundaries of the country. These do not conform to the external boundaries of India recognized by the Survey of India.

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