What Is a House Waybill?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 09 January 2020
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A house waybill is a term used to describe the billing documentation that is prepared by the shipping firm that serves as the consolidator for a shipment. The detail found in the waybill includes the information that is included in the invoice prepared by the consignor, or the entity that is ordering the shipment of the goods. Additional detail is added to allow the shipment to be tracked while in transit. It is not unusual for the consignee, or the entity scheduled to receive the shipment, to also receive a copy of the house waybill.

With orders that involved transporting goods from one country to another, the house waybill is only one of several shipment documents that are prepared and transported along with the goods. Typically, this particular waybill will be sealed and attached to what is known as a master waybill. In addition, the documents prepared by the consignor are also enclosed, along with any other relevant documents necessary to allow the goods to pass through customs on the way to the destination.


The detail included on a house waybill will vary somewhat, depending on any trade regulations that may apply at the country of origin or the country of destination, as well as any ports that may be used as stops during the course of the shipment. Basic details include descriptions of the goods involved in the shipment, information regarding the weight of the individual pieces as well as the total weight for the shipment, and information regarding the various modes of transport that are planned for use in the shipment process, such as the names of the cargo ships used, any air freight companies involved, and sometimes even any land trucking services that are used. Identification numbers that can be used to track the forward movement of the shipment are also included, making it relatively easy to determine where the shipment is in transit at any given time.

As with any documents involved with an international shipment, the detail on a house waybill must be accurate in order to pass through the customs office at the point of destination. If the information included on the waybill does not match the physical inspection of the goods or even the other documents included with the shipment, this can cause delays in the delivery process. For this reason, shippers tend to make sure all details included on the waybill are accurate and in full compliance with all relevant shipping regulations.


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