Packing List Optimize your Export Operations

In the complex world of international trade, every detail counts. From the preparation of the goods to their delivery at destination, each step must be carefully planned and executed to ensure the success of the operation. In this sense, a fundamental tool that plays a crucial role in the export process is the packing list. In this blog post, we will explore in detail what a packing list is, why it is important and how you can optimize your export operations by using this tool effectively.

What is a Packing List?

The packing list, also known as packing list or packing list, is a detailed document that lists and describes the products included in a shipment of goods. This document accompanies the shipment throughout its journey, from the time of preparation to its arrival at the final destination. The packing list provides a clear and concise overview of the contents of the shipment, facilitating the management and control of the goods at each stage of the logistics process.

packing list

Why is the Packing List Important in Exporting?

The importance of the packing list in the export process cannot be underestimated. This document performs multiple vital functions that contribute to the success of the operation:


  • Crucial role in the process of shipping and receiving goods: The packing list serves as a point of reference for both the shipper and the consignee, providing detailed information on products shipped and received.
  • Ensures efficient inventory management: By listing all products included in the shipment along with their quantities and characteristics, the packing list facilitates inventory tracking and control at each stage of the logistics process.
  • Facilitates customs clearance: The detailed information provided in the packing list is crucial to comply with customs requirements and facilitate the clearance of goods at the country’s entry and exit points



Key Components

A well-drafted packing list should contain the following key elements:


  • Date on which the shipment is made.
  • Details of the company or person sending the goods (name, address and identification document).
  • Details of the receiver of the goods (name, address and identification document).
  • Number of the commercial invoice to which the packing list refers.
  • Weight and dimensions of each of the packages or parcels sent.
  • Weight and dimensions of each of the products shipped.
  • Detailed description of each package or bundle.
  • Total number of packages or bundles making up the entire shipment.
  • Sender and receiver details: including names, addresses and contact details.


Additional data can be optionally included in a packing list. This extra information can be very useful for the different actors involved in the international shipping and receiving process.


This optional data includes:

  • Codes for the different systems used for the shipment, such as Taric or HS.
  • Distribution of the goods or packages in the different containers, especially if the shipment occupies more than one container.
  • Number of seals on the container(s) in which the goods are being shipped.
  • Economic value of each package and of the total shipment.
  • Adding this additional information not only facilitates the work of customs and logistics agents, but also improves the transparency and traceability of the goods throughout the entire transport process.



A well-prepared packing list offers a number of benefits that contribute to the efficiency and effectiveness of export operations:

  • Reduced order preparation errors: By providing a detailed and accurate description of the products included in the shipment, the packing list helps minimise order preparation errors, ensuring that the right products are shipped to the right recipients.
  • It facilitates the resolution of disputes and claims: In the event of discrepancies or complaints from the recipient, the packing list serves as a reference document that can help resolve any issues quickly and efficiently.
  • Improves operational efficiency and customer satisfaction: By ensuring efficient inventory management and accurate and timely delivery of goods, a well-prepared packing list contributes to improved operational efficiency and customer satisfaction.


Creating an effective packing list requires attention to detail and care in its preparation. Here are some useful tips:


  • Use specialised software or pre-designed templates: Using specialised software or pre-designed templates can help simplify the process of creating packing lists and ensure consistency and accuracy of information.
  • Verify the accuracy of information: Before finalising the packing list, it is important to check the accuracy of the information included, ensuring that all details are correct and complete.
  • Maintain a clear and easy-to-understand format: Maintaining a clear and easy-to-understand format makes the packing list easier to read and understand for both the sender and the recipient.


Differences between an export packing list and a domestic shipping packing list

Although both documents are similar, there are key differences between a packing list for domestic shipments or international moves and one for exports.

An export packing list must include contact information for both the shipper and the consignee, along with specific details related to the international sale and purchase, such as lots or batches. It should also contain precise descriptions of the types of packaging and materials used. For example, you might specify ‘1000 screws in 100 boxes on 10 pallets’ or ‘1000 large polypropylene bags of approximately 50 kg each’.

In an international move, the specifics of the shipment determine the differences from an export packing list. In an ocean move, the shipper and the consignee are the same person, so this information is not included.

In addition, the packing list for a domestic shipment also acts as an affidavit of value. Since a commercial invoice is not issued, it is necessary to assign a value to the goods shipped in order to comply with customs requirements. The value of the goods in the shipment must be assigned both as a whole and individually for each package or type of package. For example, ‘5 boxes of books with a total value of EUR 500’. This ensures an accurate assessment and facilitates the customs process.

In short, the packing list plays a key role in the export process, ensuring efficient inventory management, facilitating customs clearance and improving customer satisfaction. By implementing best practices in the creation of packing lists, companies can optimise their export operations and achieve a higher level of efficiency and effectiveness.