10 Details You Must Include in Your Export Packing List 2021

What to put on your export packing list Men in hard hats in shipping lot

There’s a lot to do when it comes to exporting your goods. Once you’ve chosen between air freight, land freight or sea freight you’ve got to find a packing company. Once you’ve done that you need to think about your export documents and applying for packing credit. When it all becomes too much you’re left wondering whether it was even worth it.

Let’s squash that worry right away! John Pipe International have over 60 years of experience in this industry and we have seen it all. Really. Whether you’re sending 200 small items to the middle of Qatar or you’ve got a large machine you need to get to Antarctica, we can help. We’ve got some stories we can tell you…

packing list sign-off

But when it comes to your export packing list, you shouldn’t panic. Many of our customers worry about this document. Yes, it is very important. Everyone involved in the shipment of your export is going to need to use it at some point in the transportation. However, once you know what you need to include in your export packing list it couldn’t be easier.

In this article, we’ve explained exactly what details you need to include in your export packing list. Now, when it comes to exporting goods overseas you have nothing to worry about. But don’t forget, our team are only a phone call away if you have any questions!

What is a Packing List for Export?

A packing list for export is an important document used by yourself, your packers, freight forwarding company and everyone else involved in the process. It is used to keep track of the cargo as it makes its way from one destination to another.

An export packing document provides an itemised list of everything in your shipment. Relevant parties will use it along the way to check weights, dimensions and other details are correct. 

Every exporter is required to provide a detailed export packing list when they are sending goods overseas. Your export packing partner will be able to assist with this process, or get in touch with our team with any questions.

Explore our export packing and freight forwarding services and find out why we’ve earnt a solid reputation for delivering high-quality service.


Export Packing List Requirements

An export packing list is an itemised list of all of the items within a shipment. You must include key details about each item such as it’s volume and weight as well as necessary information such as the consignee’s contact details.

Much like the Incoterms created by the Department of Trade to allow properly written contracts, the purpose of this document is to streamline your shipment. Without an export packing list, nobody would know what was in any given shipment – particularly once it had been foil-wrapped and packed into an external wooden case for safer transport. 

That’s why freight forwarding companies and everyone else involved in the chain expect to see as much detail as possible on your export packing list. Here are 10 pieces of information that you must include on your export packing list:

1. Date

Fairly straightforward, your export packing list should include the date. This is beneficial to everyone involved as it gives you and the consignee evidence of when shipment took place. 

2. Shipper and exporter contact information

When putting together your packing list for export you should include contact details for the shipper and the exporter. This will help third parties later down the road if something goes wrong. It will also help you and your exporter mitigate risks and deal with any insurance claims.

3. Consignee contact information

A consignee is the term used to describe the recipient of the goods you are exporting. You must include their contact details on your export packing list in case anything gets lost or goes missing along the way. Including consignee contact information on your export documents is  

4. The origin address of cargo

One of the most important things to include on your export packing list is the origin address of cargo. If anything goes wrong on the journey or their is a problem with your goods the person responsible will need to know where to send your items to. It could also come in handy if the destination address can’t be located or their is a problem with delivery.

5. The destination address of cargo

Arguably the most important detail to include on your export packing list is the destination address of the cargo. Everyone involved in the process will look for this information. It is particularly important to include the destination address if you are using multi-modal freight forwarding, however, you always need to ensure this information is present on your packing list.

sign-off export packing list

6. Total number of packages within this shipment

We’ve seen it all when it comes to export packing and freight forwarding. Sometimes, a shipment will only contain one package. That’s when we’ll come in – our team will measure and weigh your item before building a custom wooden case to act as it’s external safety barrier. We’ve worked in the defence and aerospace industry and helped to pack large, heavy machinery for hundreds of businesses over the years.

Sometimes businesses are sending more than one package within a shipment. We’ve also helped individuals wrap and pack smaller items that are to be sent as part of a larger shipment. Once all the items have been packaged, they’ll be loaded into a case or container ready for transport. It is crucial to include how many packages are in your shipment as everyone involved in the transporting process and the receiver of your export can refer to this. It also covers you against loss or damage of the goods.

7. Detailed description of each package

As well as the number of individual packages in your shipment, you have to provide a detailed description of what each package contains on your export packing list. This will help everyone on your shipments journey and is needed for insurance purposes.

8. Volume and weight of each package

Just like a description is important, the individual volume and weight of each package needs to be on your export packing list. If there is any discrepancies with the weight of your cargo during it’s trip, your shipper will consult the packing document to find out whether something has gone missing or been removed.

9. Volume and weight of entire shipment

Without the volume and weight of the entire shipment, your shipper won’t know if there are any discrepancies from one destination to the next.

10. Commercial invoice number and shipment

Nowadays, most of the technical information you’ll need will be done online. That’s why it’s important to put your commercial invoice number and shipment on your list. People can quickly and easily get hold of all the information they need about your shipment but searching for it online.

Export Packing List Format

As long as you have all the necessary information that we have listed above on your export packing list then the format doesn’t matter as much. With that being said, it is important that you make sure the information is clear and concise so that any relevant parties can find the information they need quickly.

There are loads of free export packing list templates available as PDF or excel spreadsheets available online to download for free. While you may find these aren’t exactly what you’re looking for, they will give you a great example of what format is typically used when it comes to shipping goods internationally and getting your packing list sorted.

Don’t forget, your export packing company will be able to assist you with your list and answer any questions you might have. Our team love to help and we’re only a phone call away.

Export Packing List Example

John Pipe International have over 60 years of experience working with people like you to deliver trusted export packing, freight forwarding and logistics services. We have our own team of account managers who are more than happy to guide you through the process of your first export. Furthermore, they can manage all the details leaving you to get on with your busy schedule.

If you’d like to see an example of an export packing list, simply get in touch with our team and they can send you all the information that you need.

If you have any other questions related to your export packing list, or want to speak to one of our account managers about your upcoming project, simply click here to get in touch.


What is involved in export packing?
Export packing involves using specialised materials and techniques to ensure goods are protected during international shipment. It includes the use of durable wrapping, cushioning, and strong containers to withstand long transit times and handling across different modes of transport.

What should be included on an export packing list?
An export packing list should include detailed information about the contents of a shipment, including the type, quantity, and weight of each item, as well as the total number of boxes or crates.

What are export packing crates and their importance?
Export packing crates are sturdy containers designed specifically for international shipping. They protect goods from damage due to handling and environmental conditions. Properly designed crates ensure that items reach their destination securely and intact.

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