HOUSE BILL OF LADING? What really is a bill of Lading? Rather than the definition, content should be the focus. Hence, it is better to ask for what makes the bill of lading acceptable in a place. This is well expressed in my article for ‘what is a bill of lading in Nigerian context?.
For example, the Nigerian Customs authority requires that Form M numbers be added to the shipping document. No international definition is able to cover this point, till the time of making this post. Consequently, the article sighted above focused on the compulsory content of the bill of lading. This article will look into what form of bill of lading is acceptable to secure cargo release in Nigeria. The purpose is to enable the consignee or importer know what to ask for from the forwarder agent or shipping company.
THE HOUSE BILL OF LADING –HBL
This document contains the information as to the real shipper and consignee. It also contains the shipment detail and the information of the freight forwarder or his agent plus shipping terms. Hence, House Bill of Lading is issued by the Forwarder after cargo is loaded on the ship. The document serves the following purposes
- Serves as a proof of contract of contract of carriage between the forwarder and his ‘customer’
- As a proof for goods shipped
- Stand as a title document. With it, the consignee or importer in Nigeria to do import cargo clearance and release. To take cargo delivery from the local office of the freight Forwarder the importer hands over the original House Bill of Lading.
Ensure the House Bill of Lading has the following:
- Container size
- Container number and seal
- Form M numbers (MF/BA)
- Shipped on Board date and the wording shipped-on-board” itself. As little as this may sound, it could delay your clearance beyond expectation. Note that the banks are not even ready to process PAAR without the wording ‘shipped-on-board’ indicated on the HBL. It is as serious as that, am really afraid.
Note that draft bill of lading is enough to initiate import cargo clearance with the Nigerian Customs. So, request and collect the draft bill to begin your import clearance. In this way you can avoid accumulating storage charges.
HOUSE BILL OF LADING OR TELEX RELEASES?
The Telex Releases were primarily messages sent via telexes, from shipping lines to their local offices. Yes, that was in that era of telex network, but now it’s usually emailed. The emails are from the freight forwarders/agent or shipping line to their local office at the cargo destination. The telex contains instruction to deliver cargo to the importer or consignee. As a result, the consignee will not present any original House Bill of Lading at the destination. He can do import cargo clearance and cargo release with the telex. Telex releases save the cost of sending the HBL to destination.
HOUSE BILL OF LADING OR SEA WAYBILL:
The Sea Waybill is recommended for use in clearance if payments are settled before cargo exit origin to destination. The sea waybill is not negotiable document, and not a title document. So, the importer or consignee need not tender any original before securing cargo release and delivery at the destination. To release and take cargo delivery, the consignee will make proof of his identity. Like the HBL, ensure the sea waybill to Nigeria has the Form M detail.
To deliver cargo to consignee in Nigeria House bill of lading, sea waybill and telex releases can be used . Ensure the bill of lading always have Form M numbers, if shipment is to Nigeria. Furthermore, ensure the HBL has the expression ”Shipped-On-Board.”