Why the Packing List is Important

Most of the time, it’s considered a type of appendix to the Commercial Invoice. Even though it is very often reluctantly issued, this document contains valuable details about the cargo, becoming an important document for the exporter, importer and customs broker.

But What is a Packing List?

In short, the packing list is a commercial document used in international trade which includes details about the contents of a package.
It is designed to let transport agencies, customs authorities, and customers know the contents of the package. Such details help each of these parties handle the package accordingly. It is also known as bill of parcel, unpacking note, packing slip, delivery docket, delivery list, manifest, shipping list, and customer receipt.

It is Not Legally Required

In many countries the packing list is not mandatory by the customs. Notwithstanding that fact, because it has some important details, it is highly recommended including the packing list in your shipment, once it makes the import/export process much easier for the shipper and customs.

So Why is It Important?

As we have seen, the packing list might not be mandatory in your shipment. Even though, it can be the go-to document for importing or exporting. Check out some of the reasons:

  • It contains all the cargo details (weight, quantity, etc.), therefore, it is a count for the product that is being released;
  • It serves as a lead for the receiver/buyer when checking the received product;
  • It is used to create a booking with the international freight forwarder (or directly with the carrier), as well as an evidence of the international Bill of Lading.
  • It can be used as an evidence for the inland bill of lading;
  • It contains the required information for issuing the Certificate of Origin;
  • It backs issuance of the MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) if the goods are declared hazardous.
  • It serves as proof of a Material Safety Data Sheet, in the case that goods are deemed hazardous or dangerous.
  • It supports the customs broker’s checklist procedure, when comparing all the documents information;
  • It can be used as an auxiliary document for reimbursement under a LC (Letter of Credit).

Filling Out Your Packing List

Because this document is all about the cargo itself, it is important to include as much details about the shipment as possible. Check out some important details:

  1. Packing list number (normally the same as the Commercial Invoice);
  2. Commercial invoice reference;
  3. Issuance date;
  4. Order number;
  5. Exporter/seller information (name, address, phone number, etc.);
  6. Importer/buyer information (name, address, phone number, etc.);
  7. Notify party’s information;
  8. Cargo’s origin address;
  9. Cargo’s destination address;
  10. Total number of packages (boxes, cartoons etc.);
  11. A detailed description of each package;
  12. Unit weight (per box, case, cartoon, etc.);
  13. Unit volume (per box, case, cartoon, etc.);
  14. Total volume of the shipment (CBM, dimensions, etc.);
  15. Total gross and net weight.

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