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Shipper, Consignee and Notify Party - Who is who

Shipping Terms
2 min read
Ocean FCL
Ocean LCL
Air Freight


What’s the difference between a shipper, consignee, and notify party?

Whether you are moving overseas or shipping commercial merchandise with FCL or LCL shipping, there are many parties involved in the entire ocean freight process with very different responsibilities.

In order to ensure nothing goes wrong, it’s important to not only understand the process but the roles and responsibilities of each party.

The terms ‘shipper’, ‘consignee’, and ‘notify party’ are often mistaken to be one and the same or confused with one another. Here’s a breakdown of the main differences between a shipper, consignee, and notify party and their various roles in the shipping process.


The shipper, or exporter, is the party responsible for packing and preparing all the goods being sent, as well as handling all documents and paperwork needed. These include obtaining the proper licenses and checking for customs exceptions and restrictions to prevent problems during customs clearance both at origin and destination port.


The difference between a shipper and a consignee is that the consignee is the receiver of the shipment and is usually the owner of the goods. This may be an individual or a company. Unless otherwise instructed, the party listed as the ‘consignee’ on the Bill of Lading is legally required to be physically present to collect the shipment.

Notify Party

The notify party is the contact person to be notified when the shipment arrives at destination. This field is usually only required if it’s different from the party listed in the consignee field. The notify party can be the buyer himself, the shipping agent, or any other entity. The notify party is usually also responsible for arranging customs clearance at destination.

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