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Shipping Packing List

April 21, 2023
Last Updated:
July 23, 2023
5 min read

Easily create a shipping packing list with our step-by-step guide and template. ✔️Ensure your shipments arrive safely without any complications.

Shipping Packing List

Table of Contents

Are you preparing to ship a package?

Then having a packing list is essential for ensuring that your shipment arrives at its destination safely and on time.

While a packing list is a supporting document, it's still a vital part of the export process.

In this blog post, we'll break down what a packing list for shipping is and provide a free, downloadable shipping packing list template to get you started.

What Is a Packing List?

A shipping packing list is a document that outlines the contents of a package.

Creating a packing list is the seller's responsibility, and it must contain all necessary information like a detailed description, weight, volume, number of packages, and any external markings. This document serves various purposes for buyers, freight forwarders, and even customs clearance making it an indispensable tool in international trade.

This list serves as a tool to help ensure that all items are accounted for during the shipping process. It's one of the most important shipping documents, as it helps shippers, receivers, warehouse personnel, and anyone involved in the shipping process verify that all items are present and in good condition when they arrive at their final destination.

Why is a Shipping Packing List an Important Document

The packing list is an essential addendum to a commercial invoice, as it contains the same descriptions of goods - but with additional information. This document reveals how exactly products are packaged for shipment, which is useful knowledge for customers, freight companies, and customs officials alike.

Here's why it's important for all the parties in a supply chain:

  • Custom authorities depend on the packing list to match it with the commercial invoice to levy the appropriate taxes and duties on the goods and to inspect them thoroughly.
  • Freight forwarders use the list to communicate with shipping and ground carriers to ensure the safe transportation of goods
  • Buyers can identify and compare if any discrepancies exist between the actual count of items received in their warehouse with what is mentioned on the packing list. Upon receiving goods, they use this resource as a guide to confirm that quantity and distinct products match accordingly. Buyers may also raise queries about these differences to sellers by referring back to the packing list.

When to Use a Shipping Packing List?

The answer is simple: always.

Whether you're shipping a small package or a large shipment, a packing list is essential for protecting your items and ensuring that they arrive at their destination in the same condition they were sent.

Packing List Format

When creating your shipping packing list, make sure to include the following information:

  • Marks — the numbers on the outside of the packages
  • ‍A detailed description of goods — the description of one product or multiple products in the same package
  • Unit quantity — the number of units of one product or multiple products in packages
  • Kind of packing — the type of packing, such as cartons and pallets
  • Number of packages — the number of cartons or pallets representing the marks
  • Net weight (kg) — the summed weight of the product without the addition of packaging
  • Gross weight (kg) — the summed weight of the product plus all packaging
  • Measurements (m3) — the volume of the packages representing the marks

Shipping Packing List Template

If you're ready to start creating your shipping packing list, the first step is to download our free shipping packing list template.

 download a shipping packing list template PDF
Shipping packing list template

This template has all of the necessary fields for creating a complete and error-free document.

Maximize Your Product Protection with Our Customizable Packing List

Creating a packing list is an essential step in the shipping process, as it guarantees that all items are accounted for when they arrive at their destination.

With our free customizable templates, you can easily create accurate documents with all relevant information included - allowing you to maximize product protection while ensuring efficient international trade.

Start using this invaluable tool today and ensure your shipments reach their destinations without any issues.

Remember — a packing list can help you avoid delays and protect your products, so never skip this important step.

Shipping Packing List FAQ

Are a bill of lading and a packing list the same thing?

No, they are not. While both documents are related to the shipment of goods, a bill of lading is a legal document that outlines the terms of transport, while a packing list includes detailed information about how items were packed for shipping.

Is a packing list the same as a receipt?

No, they are not the same. A receipt is a document that confirms payment and outlines the purchase details, while a packing list details how items were packaged for shipment.

What is a packing list called?

Packing lists come by many names - from packing slips, shipping lists, and bills of parcels to unpacking notes, delivery dockets, delivery lists, and manifest shipping lists.

Does the packing list need to be signed?

Yes, a packing list is created and signed by the sender, and is received and signed by the receiver. This signature serves as a confirmation that all items listed on the packing list have been checked and accounted for.

What does a packing list not include?

A packing list does not include the prices of the items being shipped.  It also does not include any payment terms or other legal terms related to the shipment.  That information can be found on the commercial invoice.

Is it mandatory to have a packing list?

No, but it's highly recommended. A packing list ensures the accuracy of a shipment and provides protection for both the sender and receiver in case of any discrepancies or missing items.  Not having a packing list could delay your shipment and result in costly disputes between you and the receiver.

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