Supply Chain Management

7 Types of Transport Documents Used in Global Supply Chain Management

There are numerous documents involved in International Trade: commercial documents, financial documents, insurance documents, and more. Here let’s look at some of the common documents used for transport in global supply chain management.

Delivery Order

A Delivery Order (D/O) is a document from a consignee, an owner or an agent of a freight carrier that orders the release of the transportation of cargo to another party. This written order allows for the direct delivery of goods to a warehouseman, carrier or another person who issues warehouse receipts or Bills of Lading. This document should not be confused with delivery instructions. Delivery Instructions provide specific details to carriers regarding the arrangement made by the forwarder to deliver the merchandise to a particular destination.

Dock Receipt

A Doc Receipt confirms that cargo has been received for shipment. This document is issued by a shipping company and transfers the accountability for the safe transport of the cargo from the shipper to the carrier. It is the basis for preparing the bill of lading.

Bill of Lading (B/L)

A Bill of Lading is evidence that there is a contract between a shipper of goods and a carrier. The customer typically needs this original copy as proof and in order to take ownership of the goods. This document includes the conditions under which the transportation was conducted and acts as a receipt. This dcument may be endorsed or transferred to a third party even while goods are in transit.

Sea Waybill

A Sea Waybill is a contract that is not needed for cargo delivery and is only issued as a cargo receipt. This document of title is used on a trust basis between the shipper and importer, which means that no Bill of Lading is necessary and goods are automoatically authorized to be released once they arrive at the destination.

Air Waybill

An Air Waybill (AWB) is used when carrying goods via air transport. This document acts as a receipt of goods and reports the condition of the goods.

This is a non-negotiable document that must name a recipient (may be the buyer). The AWB indicates acceptance of goods for carriage. It is prepared by IATA agents or arlines.

Shipping Guarantee

A Shipping Guarantee is a written document issued by the bank which will take on joint liability. It is handed from the importer to the carrier or its agent for picking up the goods. This document is used in case of arrival before shipping documents.

Packing Note or List

A Packing List provides the information needed for transportation purposes. It includes the details of the invoice, the buyer, the consginee, country of origin, transport date, delivery destination, shipping and container marks, weight and volume. It is a more detailed version of a commercial invoice and excludes pricing information. It is typically attached to the shipment and a copy is sent t the consignee so that he or she can check the shipment once received. It is not required by all countries, but by some.