When asking a freight forwarder or your logistics partner for a quote for your shipment, they would ask you to provide them with a packing list. In this article, we will highlight the importance of providing a packing list to your freight forwarder.
What is a Packing List?
A packing list, also known as packing slip, manifest, delivery docket, delivery list, shipping list, etc. is a document that aids in making international trade easy and seamless. It provides entire information about your shipment to the exporter, freight forwarder, shipping line, and the consignee. This information includes the details of your shipment, how it has been packed, dimension and weight details, destination details, etc.
Basically, a packing list lets the customers and others involved in the transaction visualize the contents of your shipment; and hence is an important document.
When preparing a packing list, ensure the following details are included:
- Origin and destination of goods
- Total number of packages in the shipment
- Specific details of each package
- Weight and volume of each package as well as the shipment as a whole
- Commercial invoice number for the shipment
- Shipper contact information
- Consignee contact information
A few weeks in advance, all the related parties of your shipment like your freight forwarder, customs agent and the customers will specify how many copies they will require and where each of these need to be placed. It is wise to create multiple copies of the packing list to be prepared in advance and to avoid any delays whatsoever.
Why is Packing List Necessary?
A packing list safeguards against shipping incorrect cargo across international borders and specifies all the details of your freight making it clear for all the related parties involved in your shipment. For international trade, there is export packing list and for domestic trade, there is domestic packing list. Export packing list is very important as compared to the domestic one, and needs to meet all the requirements of the related parties in the supply chain.
The freight forwarder or your transporter will use this packing list to prepare a BOL, Bill of Lading. A BOL is a document that acknowledges the receipt of export or import shipment and is considered important in case anything happens to your freight while in transit.
It is necessary that your Packing list matches your commercial invoice as it will be used by your freight forwarder / customs agent for clearance and entry into a different country.
What is the Importance of a Packing List?
Having no packing list at all or having an incorrect one can land you into many problems like not causing delays in customs process, not getting your cargo delivered on time or not getting properly paid. An export packing list needs to be attached to the exterior of the shipping container in a tamper proof or waterproof casing so that it can be easily accessed by the concerned parties.
Here are some of the reasons why a packing list is important for your international shipments:
- It specifies the count of the product shipped in your freight and serves as a guide for the receiver or the buyer.
- It is helpful in creating a booking with international shipping lines and carrier and in obtaining a BOL
- It is a proof of inland BOL
- It provides all the details required by the Electronic Export Information section in the Automated Export System
- It indicates information required for the Certificate of Origin
- In case of dangerous goods, it acts as a proof of Material Safety Sheet
- It aids the customs broker in entering cargo in their country’s import data files
- It acts as a supporting document for reimbursement under the Loc (Letter of Credit)
In case you have any questions or require assistance, contact us today!