shipping invoice

Chapter 29

What Is A Shipping Invoice?

Author: Bhaval Patel

A Simple Yet Effective Guide on Shipping Invoice

A shipping invoice is a document used by sellers to provide the details of products and services being shipped to a buyer. It is also known as a bill of lading; it is a legal document provided by the seller to send a shipment overseas. Similar to some other invoice types, a shipping invoice can serve as a receipt for freight shipments, almost the same as a commercial invoice.

A Simple Yet Effective Guide on Shipping Invoice

This aspect of the chapter covers the following:

  1. What is a Bill of Lading?
  2. What should you include in a Bill of Lading?
  3. Example of Shipping Invoice

What is a Bill of Lading?

This is a document that lists all details of a shipment, with the inclusion of the type of goods being transported, their quantity, and cost. The destination of the goods is also included in the bill of lading. It also serves as an agreement in a contract between the freight carrier and the shipper.

A bill of lading can serve in the place of a shipping receipt when the goods get to their final destination. The invoice is also shipped along with the goods bought by the buyer, and it has to be signed by the carrier of the goods and the buyer or receiver of the shipment. Bill of lading is a frequent term used in international trade. Lading is the process of loading a ship with cargo.

What Should You Include in a Bill of Lading

What Should You Include in a Bill of Lading

Every bill of lading has to carry the necessary information to avoid delay and also prevent confusion with the buyer. This document must contain details of the goods being shipped at their right quantity and price. It must also include the value of the goods and where the goods will be landed. This is the breakdown of every information to be included in a bill of lading:

Contact Information of the Shipper

The first thing to appear in the bill of lading is the shipper’s information; it included full name and business address.

Receiver’s Contact Information

After including the shipper’s information in the invoice, also add that of the receiver. It must include every detail of the receiver with the mailing address and full name.

Reference Number Or Purchase Order Number

The purchase order number and other useful figures for referencing the bill of lading must be added to validate the document and to keep a record. The freight shipment may also require these numbers before releasing the goods.


A section on the bill of lading allows the inclusion of special notes to the carrier about the shipment taking place.

Pick-Up Date

Date of pick up should be noted on the bill of lading to affirm when the shipment was received by the carrier. This data is used for tracking a shipment and is needed during invoice reconciliation.

Description of Goods

The goods in the shipment have to be described as they are on the bill of lading. The description includes the quantity of the goods, weight, value, and measurement if applicable.

Type of Packaging

A bill of lading must list the type of materials used in packaging the shipment, maybe cartons, pallets,  crates, or drums.

Freight Class

It is important to tick what class of freight your shipment is, classes of freight are up to 18. For proper identification based on factors like value and dimension, state the class of freight on the bill of lading.

Special Designations

Sometimes, the goods that are being shipped may need extra care or have to be handled with ease. Whatever the case is, it is crucial that you state any special designation. For example, the shipment may be hazardous if brought near some substance.  State what has to be done to avoid danger.

Example of Shipping Invoice

A shipping invoice entails the full description or details of the shipment. It is often detailed than the commonly generated invoices. Shipping invoices have full information on the goods and services that the buyer is supposed to know.

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