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Master Bill of Lading (MBL)

What is a Master Bill of Lading?

A Master Bill of Lading (MBL) is a transportation document issued by the ocean carrier or its agent to acknowledge receipt of goods for shipment. It serves as a contract of carriage between the shipper and the ocean carrier, detailing the terms and conditions of transportation, including the type, quantity, and destination of the goods being shipped. The MBL also acts as a receipt for the cargo and serves as a title document, allowing the consignee to claim ownership of the goods upon arrival at the destination port.

Who issues a Master Bill of Lading?

A Master Bill of Lading is issued by the ocean carrier. The carrier assumes responsibility for transporting the cargo from the port of origin to the port of destination, and the MBL serves as a legal document outlining the terms of this transportation agreement.

What’s the difference between a Master and House Bill of Lading?

The main difference between a Master Bill of Lading and a House Bill of Lading lies in who issues them and their roles in the shipment process. While the MBL is issued by the ocean carrier and covers the entire shipment, the House Bill of Lading (HBL) is issued by a freight forwarder or NVOCC and covers only a portion of the shipment, typically for consolidated or smaller cargo. The MBL acts as the primary contract of carriage, while the HBL serves as a supplementary document for individual shipments within a consolidated container.

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