The packing list is a complementary document to the commercial invoice which provides relevant information to the buyer, shipping line, banks and foreign customs authorities. In most cases, It is specified in the letter of credit as an essential document for presentation. A packing list shows the size, type, number of packages, and the net and gross weight in pounds and kilograms of all the packages, loaded into the shipping container. Packing lists come in various formats, aiming to confirm the contents of a shipment with particular reference to the weights, measures, number of packages included in that shipment and also to indicate how it is packed i.e., box, cartons, crate, drump etc.
To prepare a good packing list, the following precautions/measures need to be undertaken.
- The buyer and the seller has to take into consideration factors like the physical properties of the commodity to be shipped, its value, and the hazards of sea voyage the commodity has to undergo, before setting up the packing list. In packing the commodities for export shipment, the shipper/exporter should be aware of using standard packing materials to meet statutory requirements international trade.
- Before setting up the packing list, it is important for the buyer and seller to clearly understand. In packing the commodities for export, the shipper should be aware of the exigencies that exporting puts on a package and must comply with statutory requirements to ensure proper reception of all the merchandise. Four important issues must be kept in mind before designing package for export viz risk of breakage, pilferage, moisture and weight of commodities. Sometimes if buyer recommends specific packing materials, then the shipper has to comply the requirements. Since the transportation costs are determined on the basis of volume and weight, it is wise to use specially reinforced and lightweight packing materials for exporting.
- The packing list should state the invoice reference and the date of the invoice. otherwise it may be difficult to match the documents.
- Additional charges may be incurred if the total gross weight of the consignment is not clearly separated from the net weight of the consignment.
- An important element of the packing list is that it should clearly mention the “marks and numbers”. This is the standard practice of international shipping to identify consignment. The term “fully addressed” is used when each package is labeled with the full name and address of the consignee.
- The packing list should be provided in duplicate as per language of the importing country.
- A sealed envelope should be used to send the packing list document in a secured manner along with the cargo so that it is not affected in any way during journey. An accurate packing list can help identify what has been damaged or missing from a shipment during passage & can facilitate settlement of insurance claims.