Release of cargo without House Bill of Lading – live case study


I received the below question about release of cargo without house bill of lading from a reader as a comment on one of my previous articles which discussed the difference between house bill of lading and master bill of lading..

release of cargo without house bill of lading

hi, I am a forwarder, we had done shipment to USA using FMC registered House Bill of Lading (HBL). Now issue is our agent has released cargo to the Consignee without presentation of original HBL. 

The HBL is lying with shipper as consignee hasn’t paid the shipper. When we checked with our USA agent they informed that in USA, if Master Bill of Lading (MBL) is telex released and payment done, then consignee can take the delivery directly from carrier. So what is the use of releasing FMC HBL to shipper?

We need to know whether we can take legal action against consignee and our agent in USA.

I am sure there are several others who have faced this similar predicament or if you are involved in insurance or cargo claims you may have come across such cases..

For this article, I am leaving the floor open to all of you to comment 

  1. whether the agent is correct in his/her statement “if Master Bill of Lading (MBL) is telex released and payment done, then consignee can take the delivery directly from carrier
  2. whether the destination agent fulfilled his/her obligation in acting as the agent for the issuer of the HBL
  3. whether the shipper/forwarder at origin has any recourse

Share your views below and let us compare notes on this live case study..



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