Today, I’ll talk about the difference between House B/L and Master B/L.
First of all, what are House B/L and Master B/L?
They are surely B/L of securities in international transportation, but what “House” and “Master” mean?
In short, House B/L is issued by a forwarder, and Master B/L is issued by a shipping line.
You might be confused because you have never seen two B/L for one shipment.But actually, a customer sees just only one type of B/L.
I will explain this in detail today. Let’s learn the difference between House B/L and Master B/L by using an actual B/L example.
First up is House B/L. This is the actual B/L format that we use in our company.
In House B/L, we write the name and address of an actual exporter in the Shipper column, and the name and address of an actual importer in the Consignee column. And the format is the forwarder’s B/L format.
House B/L also includes company name and address of local agents and subsidiaries, in other countries of the forwarder. This local company will issue Arrival Notice and D/O at the import side.
If you don’t receive Arrival Notice as an importer, you can make an inquiry here.
At the same time that the forwarder issues House B/L, the shipping line issues Master B/L. As of the above, if you are using House B/L, Master B/L describes it in this way.
Shipper column contains the name and address of the exporting forwarder, and Consignee column contains the name and address of the importing forwarder.
This is a direct contract with the shipping line. It means that it is a forwarder, who is an agency of shipping line.
Master B/L format will be the shipping line’s format.The company information of the import side will be the local branch of the shipping line, or its local agent.
Customers can also book forwarders, while it is also possible to use the Master B/L issued by the shipping line.
When a forwarder does not have a local agent in the destination country,or when a customer requests to use Master B/L, it will be issued.
When you book with Master B/L, it will be described like this.
In Shipper column, the name and address of the actual exporter.
In Consignee column, the name and address of the actual importer.
B/L format is from the shipping line. The information of the importing line is the same as the information I explained earlier. It is a local branch of the shipping line or a local agent.
Let’s do a little organizing.
In the case of Booking with House B/L, Both House B/L and Master B/L are issued. But a customer receives House B/L only, which is issued by a forwarder.
In this case, Master B/L is processed by the forwarder side, so the customer will never see the Master. And in the case of booking using Master B/L, a shipping line will issue the B/L for the customer.
Forwarders are not involved in creation of B/L, or D/O at the destination side. And, these two types of B/L have their own advantages and disadvantages.
Here are the advantages and disadvantages of using House B/L.
As the advantages, Fast issuance. Quick to revise.
This speed also affects to issue the certificate of origin.
A forwarder will issue B/L, so basically it is flexible. The speed of B/L issuance and amendment is a major advantage in international transportation.
However, there are also disadvantages.There will be D/O fee at the destination side.
Forwarders also supports the operations between two countries,so there will be a handling cost for the forwarder at the import side.
And here are the advantages and disadvantages of using the Master B/L.
It will be the opposite of using House B/L.
As the advantages, there is no D/O fee at the destination side.
As the disadvantages, It takes a long time to issue. It also takes time to revise.
This taking time will affect to issue the certificate of origin.
A shipping line issues Master B/L. The shipping line has to issue B/L for all the containers on boarding the vessel.So, they have much more B/L to be issued.
Since some shipping lines prepare B/L in other countries, compared to a forwarder who is actually communicating with the customer, inevitably, it takes a lot of time.
The same thing will happen to revise B/L.If it’s a forwarder, the person in charge will revise B/L quickly,but Shipping lines take times for revising, because the number of B/L issued is so large.
If it takes this long to issue or revise a B/L, it takes time to issue a certificate of origin after B/L has been issued. And also vessels may arrive in port while it takes time to amend B/L.
Since we explain B/L from a forwarder’s point of view, so I tend to explain in terms of forwarders.In logistics operations, speed and flexibility in case of trouble are essential. I think it’s very important.
House B/L will certainly incur costs on the import side,but it’s also true that there are plenty of benefits beyond that. Balancing both cost and service, please choose the best B/L for your shipment.