HomeBill of LadingCan an insurance company assist a freight forwarder in case of lost...

Can an insurance company assist a freight forwarder in case of lost bill of lading..??

I received below question from a reader (Vishal) regarding assistance from insurance company to a freight forwarder..

How insurance company can assist a freight forwarder, if they are insured under Freight services Liability and If MBL is lost or Misplaced,
HBL is issued in original
MBL is issued to the overseas agent is lost.
Freight forwarder is not been able to get the bank guarantee

Abbreviations used : FF = Freight Forwarder, HBL =House Bill of Lading, MBL = Master Bill of Lading

Image of Bill of Lading

When there is a HBL and MBL involved, things can get quite complicated (like it has happened here) and it is upto the freight forwarder involved to really understand the risks and responsibilities of issuing a HBL and getting an MBL..

The FF must make up his mind about how he wants the MBL to be issued.. As an Original or as a Sea Waybill..

In this case the ORIGINAL MBL issued has been lost.. Assuming the MBL is consigned to the destination agent of the freight forwarder it makes the MBL a Straight Bill of Lading.. For a Straight Bill of Lading where an ORIGINAL has been issued, it has to be surrendered at the destination in order to secure release from the shipping line..

And by definition, a straight bill of lading is non-negotiable/transferable and therefore cargo may be released only to the consignee on the MBL which in this case is the FF’s agent..

Issues such as loss of bills of lading and release against bank guarantees falls under Liability Insurance and as per Alexander Robertson of Robertson’s Cargo Consultancy (Pty.) Limited:-

Image for Insurance Policy

“There is no way that an insurer can assist the freight forwarder.  Liability insurance for freight forwarders is normally obtained from what is known as Protection and Indemnity Clubs (P & I Clubs).  The most used club by freight forwarders is the TT Club.”

The FF’s agent has to provide a bank guarantee to the shipping line for the release in lieu of the original bill of lading that has been lost (provided all issued originals have been lost).. If 3 were issued and only 1 has been lost, release can still be obtained by surrendering 1 of the available originals..

I will write about the pros and cons of a MBL in an upcoming post..

Feel free to comment on this issue..

Hariesh Manaadiar
Hariesh Manaadiarhttps://www.shippingandfreightresource.com
I am Hariesh Manaadiar, the Founder of Shipping and Freight Resource.. I have been in the dynamic shipping and freight industry for over three decades and have worked in several sectors.. I share my experiences and knowledge of the industry through this blog for those looking for help in the industry.. Stay subscribed for more free useful content about shipping, freight, maritime, logistics, supply chain and trade..


  1. What if the SSLine failed at sending the originals to the FF at origin ?
    Can’t the SSLine issue new originals ?

    At any rate, as a FF, I always keep 1 original in my file.
    on the other hand, issueing originals at destination is an option (if accepted both by the country of destination & the SSLine).


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