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How to fill out a shipping packing list

Shipping Documents
3 min read
Ocean FCL
Ocean LCL
Air Freight


The shipping packing list is one of the most important documents when sending or receiving any ocean freight shipment. The packing list is a detailed summary of what you are shipping, how much of it is being sent, and where it is going.

Upon booking a shipment, you will receive a number of documents to fill out correctly. Along with the shipping packing list, it also includes the Bill of Lading. Your shipping packing list will accompany your shipment and help the freight forwarder, customs, and receivers. It allows them to visualize the exact contents of your shipment. Any mistake on the shipping packing list can cause delays in clearance at the port of destination.

What’s a shipping packing list?

Here are the uses and benefits of a shipping packing list:

  • Used for the Electronic Export Information (EEI) to verify goods
  • Used to issue the Bill of Lading
  • Prevents incorrect items being shipped

How to fill out a shipping packing list

The packing list should be filled out with as much details as possible. Information you must include on the packing list:

  • Date
  • Shipper/exporter contact information
  • Consignee contact information
  • Address at origin country of the cargo
  • Address at destination country of the cargo
  • Total amount of packages
  • Detailed description of each package
  • Volume and weight of each package
  • Volume and weight of total shipment
  • Commercial invoice number related to the shipment

The following information is not essential but useful to indicate on the packing list:

  • Value of each box/package
  • Value of total shipment
  • Seal number of all containers (you may be required to submit the packing list after loading the container)
  • HS code
  • For FCL shipping, it’s recommended to detail the contents of each container on the packing list. This helps with proper identification of the cargo and proper customs clearance.

For a more in-depth look at the packing list, you may watch our video guide.

Things to look out for on a shipping packing list

When shipping B2B, it is required to include the monetary amount for all items being sent. This allows customs to assess the value and ensure that the correct number of items are accounted for.

Once the shipment arrives at the origin port and the destination, it will be weighed and measured. Making sure this information is correct on the shipping packing list is vital. This it can cause major delays, especially because the shipment cannot be moved until this information is verified to be correct.

The shipping packing list should always be filled out with care and detail. It can be the difference between a speedy release at the port and weeks of delays and thousands of dollars in delay fees.

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