A packing list is a vital element of the documentation needed in international trade as it supports the commercial invoice. It accompanies your consignment and includes key information such as the exact nature of the products contained, weights and measurements of each carton, shipping marks carrying the destination port, country and name and address of consignee.
If a consignment has no packing list, it cannot be cleared for entry into a new market, or entered onto a manifest for shipping, CMR for road haulage or waybill for aircraft.
The packing list documents the exact nature of each consignment and informs the border crossing or customs officer about what is contained in each carton. It also forms part of the audit trail which can be necessary for compliance and your own records.
Obviously, as stated above, the packing list tells customs staff exactly what is included in each carton of the consignment that is being brought into their country. This helps them identify quickly any contents that are under licence if a mixed cargo or which carton to inspect and check.
This is important for several reasons:
Many goods are subject to taxes and duties when exported to other countries. An accurate packing list supports the commercial invoice thus enabling the correct duties or taxes to be collected.
There are several reasons that unscrupulous traders may have for concealing the true nature of goods crossing borders. This includes avoiding paying taxes and duties, and transporting illegal or restricted items.
Discrepancies between contents and packing lists can easily be identified through inspections and this helps to minimise fraud.
Because packing lists detail the weight and size of the consignment, it helps to ensure that lorries, ships, and aircrafts do not become overloaded. This makes the process safer for everyone involved.
For obvious reasons, there are restrictions on the nature of products that can be moved around. Items that could be dangerous, ranging from chemicals and components to weapons (as well as those that may not be dangerous in themselves but could have a dual purpose or application that is dangerous and shipped under licence normally) must be closely monitored to protect the immediate safety of the transportation as well as national security.
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