House Bill of Lading VS Original Bill of Lading

Bill of Lading Documents

In the business of shipping, paperwork is an essential and unavoidable part of the process. This can be a challenge, especially for small businesses. There are many different types of documents that may be required for shipping, depending on the type of goods being shipped and the country of destination. Commercial invoices, packing lists, bills…

In the business of shipping, paperwork is an essential and unavoidable part of the process. This can be a challenge, especially for small businesses. There are many different types of documents that may be required for shipping, depending on the type of goods being shipped and the country of destination. Commercial invoices, packing lists, bills of lading, and certificates of origin are some of the most frequently encountered shipping documents; maintaining them requires a lot of paperwork. This article will review the Bill of Lading and explain its types, definition, and preparation.

Bill of Lading

A bill of lading is a document used to transfer ownership of goods from one party to another. This document must be signed by an authorized representative of the party that is moving the goods and must be presented to the party receiving the goods. This document must include a description of the goods being transferred, the name of the party that is moving the goods, the name of the party that is receiving the goods, and the date of the transfer.

Shall mean a document issued by a carrier; it is a carriage contract between an exporter and a carrier specifying the port of loading, port of arrival, means of carriage, freight and how to pay the same. The bill of lading shall be deemed a confirmation by a carrier that cargo is delivered to the holds. It is also an ownership contract for the exporting entity as the bill of lading describes the cargo and the consignee.


The bill of lading is essential because it establishes the legal relationship between the parties involved in the transaction. This document typically contains the following information:

  • Shipper’s name and address
  • Consignee’s name and address
  • Description of the goods being shipped (like HS Code)
  • Quantity of goods being shipped
  • Date of shipment
  • Method of shipment
  • Port of departure
  • Port of destination
  • Terms of shipment (like Incoterms)

Types of Bill of Lading

These documents are divided into two categories in the general classification: negotiable and non-negotiable. A negotiable one can be transferred to another party to finance the purchase of goods, whereas a non-negotiable one cannot. A negotiable document also gives the holder the right to take possession of the goods, while a non-negotiable one does not.

Based on the application of the documents and the items mentioned in them, there are different types of this document, of which six common types are:

  1. Original Bill of Lading (OBL)
  2. House Bill of Lading (HBL)
  3. Telex Release
  4. Switch BL
  5. Express BL
  6. Master BL

In this context, we examine the two types of this document, including the House Bill of Lading and the Original Bill of Lading.

HBL (House Bill of Lading)

A House Bill of Lading (HBL) is a bill of lading issued by a freight forwarder or a carrier to a shipper. It is also known as a Forwarder’s Bill of Lading or a Carrier’s House Bill of Lading. The selected forwarder issues the HBL in the country of origin on that company’s letterhead. If the seller or the buyer has shipped the goods through the forwarder, the selected forwarder at the origin of the shipment is obliged to issue a bill of lading called a House B/L. The information contained in HBL is similar to the Master Bill of Lading, and only the seller and buyer information is different and is as follows:

  • Seller: The actual profile of the seller of the goods.
  • Buyer: The exact details of the buyer of the goods.

In fact, after the issuance of the HBL, the forwarder is obliged to submit it to the seller, and the seller will send it to the buyer of the goods after making sure of receiving the invoice. It should be noted that forwarders are required to see the original HBL at the time of delivery of documents to the buyer mentioned in the bill of lading to ensure that the seller has received all their rights from the owner of the goods unless the seller has telexed the HBL.

The HBL is an essential document because it is a contract between the shipper and the carrier. The document protects the rights of both parties and ensures that the goods are delivered safely.

OBL (Original Bill of Lading)

A shipment document offered by the carrier is called an OBL. Two more copies of the OBL are made when the transporter gets possession of the items. The three bills of lading are intended for the parties involved: the shipper, the consignee, and a third party, which could be a broker, a bank, or someone else. The OBL is a negotiable document, which means that it can be used as a form of payment, so it is noteworthy that the bank only accepts the original bill of lading.

One of the disadvantages of this document is that transferring the required documentation may occasionally cause a delay in the receiver receiving the freight due to timing issues and the requirement to wait for the properly endorsed original to arrive.


The critical difference between HBL and OBL is that the HBL is issued by the freight forwarder, whereas the carrier gives the OBL. An HBL is a document that a freight forwarder issues to a shipper, proving that the freight forwarder has accepted the goods for shipment. The freight forwarder will give the shipper an HBL after the shipper has given the forwarder the necessary shipping documents, including the commercial invoice and packing list. An OBL is a document that a carrier issues to a shipper. The OBL proves that the carrier has accepted the goods for shipment. The carrier will give the shipper an OBL after the shipper has given the carrier the necessary shipping documents.

Which One Should You Use?

According to the explanations given, your company’s priorities, when you have time to prepare the cargo, choose the type of your bill of lading. However, in general, if you are utilizing a freight forwarder, you should use an HBL, and if you are transporting goods, an OBL.


It is important to remember that shipping documents are not only a requirement when sending out shipments but also a valuable tool to help ensure that your products arrive safely and on time. You can avoid potential problems and ensure a smooth shipping process by reviewing your shipping documents, like a bill of lading. Learn about the different varieties of this document and select the appropriate one to convey your cargo, or hire specialists in this field.

If you want a freight forwarder, who will relieve you of the burden of paperwork and documents. In that case, DFreight is a reliable and experienced company that can help you ship your goods safely and efficiently. Contact us today to learn more about our services.


Are there any risks associated with using a bill of lading?

If the terms of the contract are not met, the shipper or the carrier may be held liable. In addition, if the shipped goods are lost or damaged, the shipper may be responsible for the cost of the replacement goods.

What are the benefits of using a bill of lading?

A bill of lading can help protect both the shipper and the carrier in a dispute. This document can also be used to track the shipment of goods and ensure that the contract terms are met.

How is a bill of lading used?

A bill of lading is used to transport goods from one location to another. This document outlines the responsibilities of each party involved in the shipment and can be used as a legal document in case of a dispute.

What information is typically included in a bill of lading?

A bill of lading typically includes information about the shipper, the consignee, the goods being shipped, the date of shipment, the transportation method, and the contract’s terms.

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