Types of Shipping Documentation: Domestic & International

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Shipping is one of the most crucial and complex aspects of running an e-commerce business. With overall cost and logistics in mind, you’ll also need to make sure that customer orders are accompanied by the correct paperwork. Without the right documentation, you could end up with severe delays or even blocked shipments. This is why it’s important to make sure that your packages are sent out with all the necessary documents.

Shipping documents are essential to include when transporting an item from one location to another – especially for international shipping. These forms contain information about the item being shipped, with additional details about its manufacturing origin and customer destination. Additionally, each document may include import regulations of the countries through which it is routed. This information will make the customs clearance process easy and allow for fast international deliveries.

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Domestic Shipping Documents

Packing list: This list (or slip) contains a list of all the goods included in a shipment. This helps to identify everything included in the shipment and to confirm that all the items were received. This includes details such as; order date, shipping address, contact information, list of shipped items, list of out-of-stock items, quantity, SKU or UPC numbers, and PO number (or slip number).

Commercial Invoice: This serves as the ‘proof of purchase’ and includes details of the sales transaction between the seller and the customer. This includes; customer name and address, seller name and address, invoice number, item description, quantity, item cost, weight, dimensions, and shipping regulations.

4 Leading Types of International Shipping Documents

International Commercial Invoice: This acts as the proof of sale that must accompany all international shipments. This includes; detailed information on the buyer and seller, freight forwarder information, banking and payment information, shipping route, item description, quantity, country of item origin, HS code, item description, item value, item weight, and shipment terms.

Proforma Invoice: This is an estimated invoice or bill that is sent to international prospects (a quote that you send before the purchase is finalized). This enables an arrangement of the finances and import documentation. The details included in this invoice are; information about the buyer and seller, description of the item, item value, HS codes for the items, delivery details, used currency, and date of purchase.

Export Packing List: This contains an itemized list of all the goods in a single shipment, along with important details about each individual item. Additionally, this document can be used for a ‘bill of landing’ and a ‘letter of credit’. For international shipments, an export packing list is essential to clear customs and settle any disputes. This includes; the order date, shipping address, contact information, an itemized list of shipped items, the quantity of each item, SKU or UPC numbers, PO number, dimensions, weight, and packaging type.

Certificates of Origin: Almost all international shipments require this certificate to declare where the items originated from. They must be in accordance with the regulations of the importing country and the regulations of the originating country of export. This includes; name and address of the shipper, name and address of the buyer, exporting carrier, country of manufacture, number of packages, date of export, item description, quantity, weight, and signature from the authorized personnel.

Land, Air, and Ocean Shipping Documents

The in-land ‘bill of landing’ is a contract that is sent to the shipping carrier for the transportation of goods via road, railway, or in-land body of water (lake, river, etc.). It certifies where the goods are being transported and serves as evidence that the goods have been collected.

The ‘air waybill’ is a contract for goods shipped by plane, showcasing an agreement between the seller and the carrier. This serves as a receipt of goods for the airline carrier once the goods arrive at the destination airport.

An ‘Ocean bill of landing’ is required for shipments made across international waters. This serves as a contract between the exporter or seller and the shipping carrier. This ensures that the buyer receives the product and the seller/exporter gets paid.

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Reduce the Hassle of Tedious Documentation

When you choose Simple Global’s 3PL services, our experienced team handles the entire order fulfillment and shipping process for you. This means all your items will be shipped out with the correct documentation every single time (both domestic and international shipping).

You’ll be able to store your inventory in one of our global warehouses, and as soon as an order comes in, our team will pick and pack the orders, and prepare them for shipping. You can relax knowing that your items are in capable hands and will be delivered to your customers in the fastest possible time frame.

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