More Glossary Terms

Shipping Manifest

A shipping manifest is used by ocean-going carriers to track goods shipped on one vessel.

The shipping manifest lists freight being shipped, supported by the bills of lading for all cargo on board. Carriers use shipping manifests to generate invoices for importers and exporters. Shipping manifests serve as customs documents at ports of entry. Shipping manifests provide pick-up and delivery instructions. They are used to track freight as it is loaded or unloaded.

What is a shipping manifest?
A manifest in transportation lists the cargo, passengers, and crew of a ship, aircraft, or vehicle for the use of customs or other government officials.

The shipping manifest definition is specific to water transit. An ocean vessel operator creates the shipping manifest to account for all cargo loaded at one port on a ship bound for a single destination. The shipping manifest includes details about the vessel voyage and identifying information about the ship.

A shipping manifest is required for international transportation. Used at departure and arrival, the shipping manifest is often submitted electronically to provide a summary view of the vessel and its contents to customs officers, government agencies, and port operators.

In addition to containing detailed information that the carrier uses to generate an invoice, the shipping manifest is used to track shipments and the delivery method.

Other manifests commonly used in transportation include cargo manifests, out-of-gauge manifests, reefer manifests, export and import general manifests, and dangerous cargo manifests.

Cargo Manifest

A cargo manifest lists goods that make up the cargo or freight being transported, providing specific information about the consignor/consignee, transportation document numbers, freight class and charges, description of goods, quantity of packages, etc.

Out-of-Gauge Manifest

Used for freight that is awkward to load/unload, an out-of-gauge manifest provides description, dimension, and weight for cargo that is not shipping in a standard container.

Reefer Manifest

The reefer manifest provides information on refrigerated containers onboard a vessel.

Export and Import General Manifests

Export General Manifest (EGM) and Import General Manifest (IGM) are legal documents filed with customs while transporting goods across international borders.

Dangerous Cargo Manifest

A dangerous cargo manifest reports hazardous materials transported on a ship. Additional information in a dangerous cargo manifest details the weight, amount, and type of materials. Customs officers and government agencies enforce dangerous cargo manifests.

When submitted at a port of entry, manifest information is verified by government and trade enforcement agencies such as U.S. Customs and Border Protection. During review and risk assessment, a manifest hold can be applied against a shipment requiring additional supporting materials.

Shipping Manifest vs Bill of Lading

Vessel operators or shipping agents create a shipping manifest for a voyage. Customs officers review shipping manifests; however, they are not legal contracts. Shipping manifests are supported by bills of lading for cargo on the vessel.

A bill of lading (BOL) is a legal document that provides detailed information about the cargo, the shipper, and the consignee. The bill of lading is a contract of carriage between the cargo owner and the transportation service provider. As a result, a BOL can transfer ownership from one party to another, and it is a receipt for goods transported and services rendered.

Shipping Manifest Template Information
Shipping manifest template information gives customs officers and government agencies a high-level view of the ship and its cargo.

Data included in a shipping manifest template includes:

  • Vessel name.
  • Vessel status.
  • VOY Doc Number.
  • Date.
  • Loading port.
  • Heavy Lifts.
  • Outsize dimension.
  • Description and location of heavy lifts.
  • Total cargo loaded.

Shipping manifests provide information specific to the cargo, such as:

  • Destination port.
  • Description.
  • Commodity category.
  • Length-width-height.
  • Stow location.

The shipping manifest template provides a summary cover sheet of information supported by aggregated bills of lading for consigned shipments.

See how multimodal shipping helps you control costs.

How MercuryGate Supports Shipping Manifests and Uses Ocean Transportation Data

MercuryGate streamlines document management for all transportation activities.

  • Easily create and access every shipping document inside the transportation management system, eliminating paper documents and email exchanges.
  • Properly manage, file, and record legal documentation for ocean shipping activity.
  • On-demand access supports real-time shipment visibility for proactive risk mitigation and estimated time of arrival (ETA) updates.

Automated document management and integrated invoicing processes free manpower to focus on more critical needs.

MercuryGate control tower capabilities utilize shipping manifest data to create a broader supply chain view. Incorporating all transportation information into a single source of truth, users access instant visibility in the same platform where they execute corrective action.

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