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Shipping Manifest: why you should always produce it

The shipping manifest is a key transport document for any international e-commerce that makes or receives shipments.

In addition to containing detailed information that the carrier uses to generate an invoice, the manifest is used to track shipments and know the delivery method.

Today we will explain the difference between the shipping manifest and other documents used in international trade and you can learn to make your own manifest. Take note!

What is a Shipping Manifest?

The shipping manifest includes data of the products to be transported and shipping information.


Let’s start with the definition of shipping manifest.

The shipping manifest is a vital document in international trade and is part of the set of documents used in international transport. 

It lists the goods to be transported so that the total number of boxes carried by the carrier can be verified. It includes information on the number of items, the type of package being transported, the recipient and sender details.

It also serves to identify the merchandise that has to be delivered to each consignee.

How do courier companies use it?

When you hire a courier company to transport your merchandise they will ask you for a manifest for each shipment they have to make. 

This document will be used to know the products they have to transport, verify the total packages and their destination. They will also use the manifest to invoice the shipment.

We recommend that you print a manifest so that it can be signed and used as proof of the number of boxes that the carrier has collected.

Difference between shipping manifest and other documents

As we have mentioned, the shipping manifest is part of the documents used in the transport of goods within international trade.

Usually, it is delivered directly to the carrier to know the details of the shipment and check the number of packages to be transported. The manifest must include the reference number of each shipment that can be tracked.

But do you know what is the difference between the manifest and the other transport documents? Here we explain it to you.

Delivery note

The delivery note is the document that proves that the buyer has received the merchandise and, to be valid, the recipient has to sign it.

Although it is not a legal document, the delivery note is used to justify the exit of some products from the warehouse and the delivery of these.

We recommend that you request the signed copy from the carrier so that you have proof of the delivery of the products. But if you are the buyer, be sure to sign the delivery note to prove that you received the merchandise.

Bill of lading

Bill of Lading (B / L) is a document that is used as proof of receipt and shipment of merchandise by the carrier.

This document should detail the amount of the freight and if it has already been paid or has to be paid upon delivery.

Packing list

The packing list is a list of the contents that are being transported. It is similar to the commercial invoice but, unlike this, does not include prices.

This document contains information about the weight of the merchandise, the invoice number, the number of boxes and the description of the products.

It is usually generated in duplicate to directly send a document to the recipient so that he can check the shipment.

Picking List

The picking list is a document that is delivered directly to the warehouse so that they can prepare an order. It serves to speed up the preparation process and to manage products more efficiently.

In this list you must include information about the products such as their location within the warehouse and the shipping details.

Every time you have to make a shipment, you will have to create a picking list with the products you want the store to send. You can include different orders in the same list to save time.

How to make a shipping manifest

To prepare a shipping manifest you must take into account certain guidelines. Before creating one, we recommend you look for an example of a shipping manifest so that you know the details you have to include.

You can also download a shipping manifest template and fill it with your merchandise data.

The following information must be included in a manifest:

  • Quantity and type of package sent
  • Document number
  • Merchandise description
  • Number of items to be transported
  • Information about the recipient
  • Means of transport
  • Shipping route
  • Information about the sender

All this information is used so that the carrier can generate an invoice for the shipment and to verify that the merchandise matches the document.

ShippyPro helps you out with your shipping manifest

If you don’t know how to create a shipping manifest for your e-commerce, don’t worry. ShippyPro can help you.

With ShippyPro you can create a shipping manifest for your e-commerce without difficulties.

After preparing the shipping labels, on the same page, you can generate a shipping manifest. How? Following these steps:

1. Click on the ‘Carriers’ button at the top of the screen.

2. Select the carrier with which you will make the shipment. The tool allows you to select more than one shipment you make with the same courier company.

3. Click on ‘Create manifest’.

4. The loading manifest will be generated automatically and you will be ready to print it from the My Manifests page.

The manifest you make with our tool will include the recipient’s information, the shipping reference, the tracking number, the weight and the total packages.

Do not waste more time creating manifests for different shipments. Automate the process and save time with ShippyPro!

Sign up for ShippyPro   →

ShippyPro Team

ShippyPro is the complete shipping software for online and offline retail. With Label Creator, Track & Trace, Easy Return and Analytics features, our software simplifies your shipping operations. ShippyPro integrates with over 160 couriers and 80 sales channels, making it compatible with a wide range of products and use cases.