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What is a Shipping Manifest?

Ecommerce manifest

What is a Shipping Manifest?

As an eCommerce seller, you don’t need us to tell you that during the process of expansion you will come across a multitude of terms or phrases that don’t immediately make sense.

From defining VAT and EORI to understanding the requirements of overseas customs, getting to grips with the localisation of different markets, and deciding how to combat the challenges around warehousing and logistics, there’s a lot to think about when it comes to expanding overseas.

One of those things is the shipping manifest – a document which is part of the international trade requirements for sellers, and which basically outlines exactly how many goods are being transported, what is in each box, and where the starting and end destination is for that delivery or shipment.

Consider it a passport for your delivery – something which lets the carrier know exactly what you are sending and where it is going. With that said, let’s take a closer look at what you need to do to prepare a shipping manifest.

How is the shipping manifest used?

The shipping manifest is a document which will be requested by your delivery partner or carrier company, letting them know what they are transporting, how much of it they are transporting, and where they are taking it to.

In terms of logistics, this information is crucial as it allows the carrier to assign the right vehicle to your delivery, and acts as a proof for them of what they received and what they carried to your destination. Finally, they will use it to create the invoice for the job as it is the single document which outlines everything from the size of the load to the distance it has been or is set to be carried.

What does the shipping manifest include?

It follows that your shipping manifest will contain detail on what is being transported and to where.

But what else needs to go in your shipping and cargo manifest for it to be considered legit by a carrier company?


  • Information about the sender. This includes your business address, the type of business you are running, your name and contact details, and the relevant VAT registration number to prove that your business and seller identification is legit and approved in the destination market.
  • The shipment itself – what is being sent and how much of it is there?
  • Information about the recipient.
  • The route for transport if required.
  • Transport type – air, ship or road?
  • Document number to match the merchandise or shipment – so that the carrier can ensure that the documentation matches the shipment at both ends.

Why you need eCommerce shipping solutions

Finding the right carrier and shipping partner can be difficult, especially if you are based in the USA or another market and are looking to expand into the EU and the UK. The fact is that the UK and different European countries each have their own ports and their own legislations around international delivery, VAT, customs, and more – so having an expert partner on the ground who can ensure your business meets the logistical needs of the local market is key.

Here at GEE, we offer a comprehensive service which starts with market research and continues as your business expands into new regions and marketplaces. From offering the warehousing facilities you need to establish the best platforms on which to sell your products to the right audience, our team of experts is well versed in both the logistical demands and finer details of selling overseas – so that you need only ship your products over and focus on selling them online.

The shipping manifest is just one stage of the process that we can help you with, sharing our advice on how to find a reputable and reliable shipping partner and building an efficient system through which you can create the shipping manifest for each delivery with ease.

Quick Takeaways

The best way to remember what is required for the shipping manifest is to remember which stage of the process it is used for.

Used by carriers, the shipping manifest needs to detail everything a delivery partner might need to know about the shipment – including what’s in it, how much there is or how big the shipment is, and where it needs to go. They need to be able to establish and prove the sender and recipient and be able to contact the relevant party if required.

For more information and tailored advice, visit our website or get in touch directly.  

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