Types of Transport Documents Required for International Shipping

From a logistics point of view, the basis of any transport operation is documentation. Depending on the case, the types of required transport documents for export and import shipments may be different. Still, there is some paperwork required for shipping that the sender needs to know about regardless of the types of goods shipped or their destination. Continue reading to find out more about the main types of shipping documentation that may be required for export/import shipments. Further below you will also find the list of transport documents that are specifically needed when shipping with Eurosender.

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General Shipping Documents

Bill of Lading

Bill of lading is one of the most important international shipping documents used in the logistics industry, whether the goods are shipped by land, by sea, or by air. What exactly is a bill of lading? It is a contract concluded between the transportation company and the sender which serves as a confirmation and proof that the shipment was successfully picked up by the carrier and will be transported by the latter to an agreed destination. This document records the parties of the transportation deal, as well as the nature, weight, and number/volume of the goods loaded. To find out more about the bills of lading, please go to our dedicated blog.

Transport Insurance / Insurance Certificate

Regardless of the mode of transport chosen (road, rail, air, sea, or river), the goods are exposed to many risks during shipping, such as damage, loss, deterioration, etc. Given this, it is essential for the sender to have a transport insurance as part of its documentation for a freight shipment, to clearly define the scope of the risks covered and to have all the transportation insurance documents in order. A sender usually concludes a shipping insurance contract either through the transportation company, either directly with an insurance company specialised in transportation.

A document that specifies the type and the size of shipping insurance coverage is called a transport insurance certificate. The certificate also contains information about the types of products to be insured, about their destination and specifies the terms and conditions of shipping insurance.

Commercial Invoice for Shipping

A commercial invoice is a specific document that is part of the required shipping documentation for export/import activities. This document helps your items go through customs as it is a part of customs clearance documentation. A duly completed commercial invoice allows customs authorities to quickly decide which import taxes and duties apply to your products and helps to avoid delays. This document is surely a required paperwork for international shipping as it contains most of the details about the shipment of your goods and all the parties involved in this process: names and addresses of the exporter and importer, a detailed description of the items shipped, the reason for exporting them, their country of manufacture and Harmonised System codes that are used for classification of traded products.

Please visit our dedicated page to learn more about commercial invoices and when they are required.

Shipping Labels

Shipping labels (or transport labels) are probably the most widely used transport documents in the shipping industry, whether being part of the documentation for standard or freight shipments. In some countries, they are also referred to as air waybills (AWB). A transport label displays essential information about your shipment that enables the transportation company to deliver it from the pickup point to its final destination. Such key information includes the sender’s and the recipient’s addresses, date of collection, number of items shipped, their weigh, and the tracking number. Transport label contains the name of the carrier that will carry out the service and can also specify the contents, especially if it is an international shipment. The AWB also includes information about the shipping method (e. g. Express, Standard, etc.) chosen by the sender so that the courier can ensure that the service that has been paid for is duly provided. Unlike other types of transport documents, shipping labels have to be physically attached to the packages or any other type of cargo being transported.

Shipper’s Letter of Instruction

A Shipper’s letter of instruction (SLI) is usually a part of the documentation for freight shipments. It is a document that the exporter provides to the carrier with all the instructions as to how and where the shipped goods will be delivered. It empowers the transport company to act as the authorised forwarding agent for export control and customs. The SLI documents may differ from carrier to carrier, but they usually include the following details:

  • name of the expeditor and the recipient and their contact information
  • routing information (transport method and point of destination)
  • description of goods
  • weight and dimension of the shipment
  • Incoterms.

You will find out more details about the SLI by consulting our blog on this topic.


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International Shipping Documents Required When Shipping with Eurosender

We at Eurosender always aim at meeting the needs of our clients to the maximum and making all the required paperwork for shipping via our platform as simple and smooth as possible. We have digitised and automated practically all processes that were previously done on paper. All this to introduce an e-logistics model of operating and bring your client experience with us to a new level by making things work better and faster. With this in mind, discover what types of transport documents usually go along with your shipments sent with Eurosender.

Booking Confirmation for the Selected Shipping Service

Once you have placed an order for shipping in our booking engine and paid for the service, you will receive a confirmation of your order on your email address. Such confirmation letter will include the name of the service that you selected and the instructions on the next steps to take (how to prepare and pack your shipment, etc.). Also, you will be notified by email about the progression of your shipment or any change in the order (e.g. your shipment reached its delivery address, your order was canceled for some reason, etc.).

Proof of collection / Proof of delivery

Proof of collection is a shipping document that confirms the pickup of the shipment by the transportation company and is signed by the sender. A proof of delivery is signed by the recipient of the shipment and confirms that the parcel was delivered to its final destination and was accepted by the addressee. In case you need either one of these documents, Eurosender will send it to you by request on your electronic address.

Invoice for Shipping Services Provided

Among other types of transport documents, one of the most important ones that you might require, especially if you are operating as Eurosender business client, is the invoice for services rendered. When booking a shipping service with Eurosender, you will receive an invoice for the service on your email address within 24-48h upon completion of the order.

If you wish to have the invoice issued with the details of your company, you will first need to create a business account, which is free of charge. After this, simply log in to your account and place the order – since the account will contain only your company’s information, the invoices will be automatically issued with all the necessary details of your company.


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What shipping services can you use to send your items with Eurosender?

Depending on the characteristics and time-sensitivity of your shipment, you can always choose between different transport options
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Express service

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Standard shipping

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Pallet shipping

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Van service

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Eurosender Transport Insurance

At Eurosender, we understand how important it is for our clients to feel safe and secure about the transportation of their items. We have therefore provided for various insurance plans for your shipments where the amount of coverage depends on what service you choose for the transport of your shipment. In case of need, you can also purchase additional transport insurance coverage with us at a very reasonable price. For more detailed information about Eurosender transport insurance, please visit our dedicated page.

Credit note document

In case you cancel your order with Eurosender before your is shipment picked up by the courier or in case your claim with Eurosender is satisfied (e.g. damage or loss), you will receive an email with all the relevant information about your withdrawn order or satisfied claim. This email will also include a credit note (credit memo) – a document confirming that you will receive appropriate reimbursement for your expenses or your shipment. To learn more about credit notes with Eurosender, please read our blog.

Proforma invoice

A proforma invoice is usually a part of shipping documentation for export/import activities. It is though a document that does not have such financial and legal value as an ordinary invoice, but instead serves as an example of how the actual invoice is going to look like. You might ask yourself: “What a proforma invoice is used for”? Some companies require it before making a payment upfront so that they are sure what transaction they are paying for.

Besides this, when shipping with Eurosender, a proforma invoice can be used as part of customs clearance documentation. You may need it in case you send your package via our Express Service between two countries which have customs control at their mutual border. Containing all the relevant information about your shipment, a duly completed proforma invoice for customs clearance will help your shipment to pass the border control successfully. This document is not required, though for shipments among the European Union countries.

Once you place an Express service order, you will receive a link to fill out a few details that will be used for issuing a proforma invoice as part of customs clearance documentation. After this, you will receive your proforma invoice in an email. You will need to print it out and hand it over to the courier driver upon the pickup of your shipment.

Additional international shipping documents that may be needed

When shipping your items outside the European Union via our platform, some other shipping documentation for export/import may be required as part of the customs control procedures. Such additional document may be, for example, an invoice for the purchase of products sent or a certificate of authenticity of the goods shipped. However, it depends on each particular case (types of goods transported, pickup, and delivery country).