Documents used in warehousing and transportation


Warehousing and Transportation are key intermediary services required by every business organization to maintain a steady supply of goods and services in economy. Businesses cannot function solely on their own but they are part of society. They need support from other element of society, in order to perform their activities properly. Transportation and warehousing system are two such aspects of economy that greatly influence the functionality of business operations. Transportation services help business in moving their product and resources from one point to another conveniently. The warehousing services, at same time, allows in stocking the inventory. It serves as backbone for storing purposes in bad times such as during disaster or natural calamities times when there is no availability of goods. 

Companies in order to avail warehousing and transportation services need to provide various documents and bills. Most of the key documents and bill needed at the time of pickup and delivery of goods is as discussed in points given below: – 

Purchase Order

A purchase order is an official document declaring that order has been received. It contains complete details regarding the transaction, type of product involved, transaction date and parties taking part in it. 

The importance of this document is that it defines what will be delivered by vendor and how much it costs. It should be treated as first understanding in between buyer and seller regarding the order and its delivery.

Commercial Invoice

Commercial invoice is one containing all details related to sales transaction among buyer and vendor, including the terms of shipping. It is termed as official proof of sales. This differs from purchase order as the previous one is placement of order, whereas commercial invoice is the purchase. Commercial invoice contains all details regarding the transactions that are needed for custom clearance in freight shipping. 

Bill of lading

A bill of lading (BOL) is an official agreement in between the owner of goods or shipper and the freight carrier. This is a document used to confirm receipt of goods for shipment, and is signed only by authorised representative of carrier upon receiving order for shipment to be released. A Bill of lading comprises of detailed information regarding destination of shipping, goods included, and how they should be handled. A non-negotiable BOL need to be signed by parties listed, whereas negotiable BOL can be transferred to a specified third party.

It is most important document for shipping used in international shipping and must be included no matter the form of transportation.

Air waybill

An air waybill (AWB) is a type of Bill of lading served as official contract between shipper and airline carrier, containing all detailed information regarding the goods shipped. AWB is a non-negotiable shipping document that acts as receipt of goods for airlines upon arrival at destination airport. This shipping document is issued by airline carrier and contains all information in accurate and detailed manner. 

Export packing list

This is a shipping document containing detailed information of cargo on item basis, including the weight, safety measures, dimensions and packaging type. Courier company utilize this document for creating the bill of lading, and also banks need it to be included in documents for payment under the letter of credit. Export packing list is of utmost importance in handling the disputes among shipper and carrier.

Letter of credit

Letter of credit is issued by creditworthy bank providing guarantee on payment of goods sold from seller to buyer. Banks take the guarantee for payment on part of buyer, and in case if buyer become default, then bank pays the remaining amount to close the transaction. Considering the complex nature of international trade due to the presence of varying rules and regulations by distinct countries, a letter of credit has become one of safest form of economic transaction with its monetary guarantee.

Dock/Warehouse receipt

It is a shipping document certifying that shipment of goods has been received by international carrier. Warehouse/Dock receipt comprise of all critical information regarding the shipment such as characteristics, dimensions, size and weight. Receipt of this document confirms that shipment has been received in good condition.

Export license

Export license is a legal and official document issued by government. A license is required by exporters for shipping the certain items in specific quantities. Few countries may need this document only under specific conditions, while it can be requirement for others. 

Insurance certificate

Insurance certificate is a certificate issued by insurance company, certifying that insurance policy has been purchased by exporter for shipment of goods. This provides coverage against all liabilities arising in the event of loss of the goods shipped. Insurance policy is very critical to avoid monetary losses as international shipping carries certain risks for exporters.

Certificate of origin

A certificate of origin is a document denoting the country of origin for manufactured products, that is usually certified by the chamber of commerce. It is needed by various treaty agreements for international trade in order to ensure that goods are eligible for export. The exporter is responsible for providing the certificate of origin as per the laws and regulations of destined country. 

Warehouse keeper’s Receipt

A warehouse keeper’s receipt is simply an acknowledgement of goods that are issued by warehouse keeper to goods owner. This is not a document of tittle to goods and, therefore cannot be transferred at all.

Delivery order

Delivery order is an order issued by goods owner to warehouse authorities when delivery in small lots is needed from warehouse. This type of order should also include warehouse warrant under which authorities will enter the details of goods party delivered. The delivery order is document of tittle to goods, and hence can be transferred.