BILL LADING PARAMETERS, Indicating Trade Parties And Roles


Bill lading parameters

Our analysis regarding the bill lading parameters underscores the significance of components of a bill of lading document that individuals aiming, or already in the trade ecosystem should have a firm knowledge of. For this article, the term ‘bill lading’ in this post points to the ‘bill of lading’ which will be used occasionally for obvious reasons.

These parameters, which in some cases are abbreviated, are very vital in this sphere of global trade and its logistics. Note it’s important these components are analyzed in detail until we are done with the bill of lading document. In this post, our analysis would include the master bill of lading (MBL), house bill of lading (HBL), and lastly, the draft copy bill of lading, while the latter is used solely for logistics purposes.

I think the image of the bill of lading document used above will serve the purpose of our analysis, though, we thought to add maybe one or two more, but will no longer apply in this post. So, let’s skip that while we proceed.


This is practically a firm or an individual that sends freight. The freight originates from this person or firm, while on the bill of lading top left corner lies or bears the firm’s details, such as the name, address, and other contact information.


This is the actual owner of the goods, while in some cases this section or column may be enclosed with a bank detail as the sponsor through which the goods were purchased. However, this is a section that requires the name of the consignee, home or company’s address, email, and phone contact. This section falls below the shipper’s column on the left-hand side. The consignee’s name in this section (excluding shipment sponsored by a bank) is often contacted by the agent (liner or shipping company) at the port of unloading (destination) before the arrival of the vessel for cargo delivery purposes.

Meanwhile, it’s also expected of the consignee to have the original bill of lading or its telex copy which I will explain. For Telex Copy (copy non-negotiable) meant non-submission of the original bill of lading, this often occurs when the goods are transshipped, which in turn, will require ‘TELEX PAYMENT’ payable to the liner or shipping company at the destination (port of unloading).

NOTE: Contact details of a shipping company at the port of destination may equally appear here, and this is only applicable for less than container load (LCL) shipments. The aim is to enable the shipping company with their logistics operation (documentation and retrieval process) of the container to their container freight station (CFS) or warehouse, carried out with the aid of their license known as ‘bond’ coupled with transshipment form, used only for foreign goods transfer.


This lies below the consignee section, and if the goods purchased were sponsored by a bank or any other financial institution, then the consignee’s details will be enclosed in this column. Otherwise, this section only contains detailed information about a notified party (either a person or a firm) to be contacted before the arrival of the goods at the port of destination.

At this juncture, one could practically differentiate a master bill of lading from a house bill of lading based on notable factors.

The master bill of lading bears the name of the shipping line in its original form (the Liner’s default). However, goods shipped with this type of bill of lading include; Full container load (FCL), General or breakbulk, and roll-on roll-out shipments.

The house bill of lading document is also a vital one that one should be conversant with, this comes with a shipper or shipping company’s format that could be the principal to the agent at the destination. Shipments here fall under less than container load (LCL), roll-on roll-out, and general cargoes.

This will be it, for now, we will continue with the analysis of Draft Copy or Verify Copy (master bill of lading for LCL) and other bill lading parameters in our next post.

  • I hope you found this article on bill lading parameters, helpful?