Pubblicato il 14/08/2023

Shipping Manifests: complete 2023 guide for ecommerce


Shipping manifests are an essential part of international shipping. Knowing precisely how they work is important to avoid delays and let everything flow smoothly.

In this article we will dive deep into understanding what they are and why they are important for your ecommerce.


What are Shipping Manifests?


In short, a shipping manifest is a legal document required for products transported by ship with important information regarding the content of the shipment, the destination and the sender.

Mishandling a shipping manifest can cause huge problems, such as delays, financial penalties, or even loss of merchandise.

Let’s find out why a Shipping Manifest is essential for international shipping.


Key Purposes of a Shipping Manifest

  • Inventory transparency: it gives a clear understanding of the content of a shipment
  • Customs clearance: it’s crucial in assisting customs authorities in calculating import duties, taxes and make sure that illegal goods are not being imported
  • Carrier instructions: it assists carriers in billing importers and exporters and provides them with pickup and delivery instructions.

  • Risk management: in case of lost or damaged goods, it contains information regarding insurance and risk management policies.
  • Operational efficiency: it enhances the traceability of shipments, thus facilitating operational efficiency


The different types of Shipping Manifests


Cargo Manifest

This shipping manifest lists everything loaded on a cargo ship, namely the type and quantity of products, their size and weight, as well as information on both the sender and recipient.


Freight Manifest

Similar to cargo, but contains details regarding individual freight charges. In fact, in cases of multiple consignments, each one may have different freight charges which vary according to the destination of delivery, the weight and volume of the goods, or specific contractual terms.


Hazardous Materials

Also known as HAZMAT, contains information regarding the transport of potentially dangerous goods, such as the nature of the goods, quantity and type of packaging, sender and receiver details, and emergency response instructions.



Also known as OOG Manifest. It is used for goods exceeding standard dimensions, such as heavy machinery or industrial equipment. 


Reefer Manifest

It is used for products that need refrigeration, such as certain types of foods or pharmaceuticals and biological materials.


Details, Details, Details!

Accuracy is the most important aspect when dealing with a shipping manifest. Some fundamental information to always include is the following:

  • Description of the products: type, quantity, and if necessary, value
  • Shipment’s Weight & Size
  • Sender and Receiver Information
  • Origin and destination
  • Freight Charges
  • Carrier details
  • Unique Document/BOL Number ( identifier used to track the shipment and identify its contents)

Specialized manifests like those for hazardous materials, reefer manifests and out-of-gauge goods may require additional information.


Manifests vs. other documents


Bill of Lading (BOL)

While the manifest is a complete and detailed list, the BOL is a legal contract between shipper and carrier, outlining type, quantity and destination of shipped goods.


Commercial Invoice

It is the bill for the buyer, which contains details regarding the product and the payment.


Packing List

Details the contents of individual shipments or packages. It is used to make sure all goods are correct in quantity and type. Customs authorities can check contents of a shipment more easily in this way.


Certificate of Origin

Certifies the product’s country of origin and is used in international shipping.


Tackling Shipping Manifest challenges with eLogy

Partnering with a third-party logistics provider like eLogy helps you overcome the challenges of shipping manifests seamlessly. Utilizing the right manifests for your shipments and filling the information correctly is essential to guarantee your products reach their destination and you don’t incur in financial loss.

A 3PL will deal with your shipments’ bureaucracy, ensuring you are always on track. 

An ecommerce business cannot afford setbacks and delays. A reliable partner like eLogy can set the foundation of your business’ international success.

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