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Can the shipper’s address on the bill of lading be in another country..??

Image for question boyReceived a question “Can the shipper’s address on the bill of lading be in another country..??

In one of my previous articles, I wrote about the difference between an exporter and a shipper..

Just to recap below :

Exporter = is a person or company or entity that is authorised by Customs and Govt authorities to export cargoes to various countries..

This is also the party responsible for filing the export declaration with the customs authorities..

Exporter need not necessarily be the actual seller of the cargo or the entity actually concluding the deal..

Shipper = is a person or company or entity that is shown in all the shipping documents (bill of lading, commercial invoice, packing list) as the party responsible for procuring and/or placing the order for shipment and maybe also for arranging the freight payment etc..

Shipper shown on the bill of lading need not necessarily be a registered exporter.. A Freight Forwarder can also be shown as the shipper on a lines bill of lading..

There are a lot of international traders based all over the world (say London) shipping cargo from one country (say South Africa) to another country (say India) and on the bills of lading that are released for such shipments, the shipper could be the trader in London..

So the short answer to the above question is YES OF COURSE IT CAN..

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Hariesh Manaadiar
Hariesh Manaadiar
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. We are a legal corporation in Lima, Peru. We have cliients in uruguay and also peru, buying from us new and used Caterpillar parts. If we buy a part or parts from companies in USA, can we put our Peruvian company as shipper on the Commercial Invoice. We would be using DHL,FedEx, or UPS as delivery medium.
    Thank you,
    Oscar Rivera

  2. Good day,

    our client in Madagascar wants us to issue a HBL from our company in South Africa for a shipment that was shipped directly by the shipper in Mauritius to the consignee in Madagascar.

    the shipper booked the shipment directly with the shipping line so there was no forwarding agent involved hence why they want us to issue a hbl from our company in South Africa is this possible and correct can this be done?

    • Hi Le-Anne, usually to a shipper it shouldn’t matter which bill of lading is issued – whether HBL or MBL and they would usually prefer an MBL as they can avoid double BL charges which may be applicable sometimes.. But in this case, you would rather ask the shipper the reason for this request.. Something doesn’t sound right, especially if a shipper is asking for a HBL..

  3. Hi Hariesh,

    My client is in India. The shipment is coming from china from XYZ company(equipment is manufactured). The XYZ company head office is in Hong Kong with another name ABC. My client is registering the vendor with ABC name and ABC bank account and ABC address. Now my client is saying that it cannot accept the shipment from china and invoice raised to hong kong company . Is there any provision where bill of lading address is different and invoice address is different?

  4. I would like to seek your advice please.
    If trade term is FOB, please advise if the name of seller shall be stated as shipper in the BL as only evidence to prove cargos delivery ? Particular for those sellers who did not obtain export licence and therefore have to rely on trading companies and export agents to export the cargos on their behalf ?

    • Hi Hung, there is currently no known regulation which describes who should be the shipper on the bill of lading.. But certain countries could have specific rules relating to this and this would be governed by customs generally..

  5. Hello Mr.Hariesh,

    I have and export shipment. For which the consignee is mentioned in Packing List in at Venezuela and the customer wants the port of discharge to be MIAMI. However forwarders said that keeping port of discharge as MIami we can oly get documentation done till MIAMI only. further to that shipment wont be their responsibility.

    Client want it to be at Venezuela under the heading of BONDED CARGO TO VENEZUELA.

    We have no clue how to operate on this part.

    Please guide me further .


    Shalaka Jadhav

    • Hi Shalaka, unfortunately I have no direct knowledge of how the cargo would move under bond from Miami to Venezuela.. Bond is normally when cargo moves overland.. I would recommend you employ a good forwarder in USA or Venezuela to assist with this query..

  6. Hi,

    I am trying to do an international trade. This I am thinking of doing a switch BL to hide the actual Dubai supplier and actual US buyer from knowing each other. However, I still need to give the actual US buyer CO, Phytosanitary certificate and the Fumigation certificate. Dubai side gave me all these documents but with the Dubai supplier information on them. How do I hide the Dubai and US parties information, so that they never know each other? Can advise how do you all guys overcome this documentations problems? Thank you

  7. Dear All,
    Can it possible shipment from Bangladesh ( garments & footwear) to EU, USA
    Shipper on HBL as LC applicant i/o manufacturer? appreciate to advise ( if possible with black and white regulation link pls) Asap. I badly need the accurate info.

    Thanks/ Arup

  8. I want to Import goods from Japan and sell to somebody in India, My customer (In India) wants to do the customs clearance itself but I do not want to disclose shippers details to my end customer. Is there any option to import it and sell it my customer without showing details of Japan shipper ? switch bill of lading can help in this case ??? please help

  9. yes can be. I’m working for a freight forwarder in Egypt and we are handling shipments of Pirelli which has many factories in many countries but the shipper always be as follows : Alexandria Tire Co. on behalf of Pirelli Tyre Basel Switzerland

  10. The destination import regulations need to be taken into consideration in such cases.

    I work in Qatar and for almost a year now, Third party chamberised documents are not accepted for inbound shipments here. Which essentially means that if you have a shipment originating from Port A and your agents are in Country B, the chamberized original docs must be issued from load port….ie, Port A. Shipping docs from Country B will not be accepted by customs here. And all the documents….Comm Inv, PL, COO & BL/AWB must show the same Shipper & Consignee details.

  11. Hi,
    we have a problem for the bill of lading, we don’t want to disclose the supplier details to my final customer, as my supplier will delivered goods from their factory to destination directly. How can we do not disclose supplier details to my customer!

    & my forwarder can not accept changed to House bill of lading instead of Master bill of lading? for what reasons they can not do that? & they said we must get supplier approved then can change?

    would like you help to solve my problem

  12. Hi Hariesh, I hope you can help me!

    My scenario: I am a South African based in Singapore where I have a company that represents some South African food brands exclusively in Singapore. For a specific product range, I have struck a deal with one of the retailers to buy a FCL from me, but it has to be FOB Cape Town. So the thing that seems to complicate the situation is the fact that my Singapore company does not control the freight (the retailer does) from Cape Town to Singapore. As a side note, I have also registered a company in SA and applied for an export permit / customs number with customs.

    My problem is that no one can confirm the documentation (or what is allowed and what not) for this shipment (I also do not want the financial transaction to, technically, take place in SA because my main company is based in SG). Is it possible that my supplier in SA can act as the EXPORTER, my SG company acts as the SHIPPER and the retailer will ultimately be the CONSIGNEE on documentation as you describe in your post? …even on an FOB, Cape Town sale? At the moment the shipment will be for a single branded range, which makes it simpler, but in future the shipment will consist of products from various suppliers, and I assume in that case I will use my SA company as the EXPORTER for the consolidated shipment.

    Looking forward to your reply!
    Thanks, May.

  13. the subject relates well with those that are involved in cross-trading. conversely relates to notify party and consignee.

  14. yes, this blog is very much informative and useful for me as I am the person doing the logistics in our team. Thanks for this very useful blog site!


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