The shipping documents are official documents which have been created under international standards in order to be understood globally. They contain information that is valuable while the order is in transit and are checked during cargo inspections both in the borders but also on the road(if the products travel by truck).

The shipping document always needs to escort a truck shipment and while it is not necessary to escort a shipment made by air cargo or sea or rail cargo the buyer needs to have it in order to import the shipment to his country or to present it in case of a legal audit. Thus, when an exporter is preparing a set of export documents the addition of the shipping document is important and compulsory.

The best practice whenever an exporter deals with a client in a country that he has never sold before is to request from the client to send him information about the documents that he will need. This way when the export will be made everything will work according to the plan and no surprises will happen. Most of the time the surprises in international trade can result is compensation agreements due to lack of time in fixing the issues.

Bellow though we will give you a list of documents that the seller has to prepare in most of the cases but without adding in the list any custom clearance documents that might be necessary or any product certificates. These will be listed and explained in another section of the website.

Compulsory Documents that an Exporting Company needs to prepare:

Delivery Note or Dispatch Note (it is the same document but sometimes is named differently)

Commercial Invoice or Invoice (again it is the same document)

Shipping Document


Depending on the export occasion:

Packing List


Depending on the method of transport (sea, air, road, railway) the shipping document that the seller needs to fill in is different. This happens because there are some differences in the standards that the shipment method is having due to the difference in the way the transport is handled. Below you will see a table that presents the transport method and the corresponding shipping document that is related with it.

Table: Procedures and Documents by Transaction Party
Method of Transport Shipping Document
Road CMR
Sea Bill of Landing
Air Air WayBill
Rail Rail WayBill

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