Shipping Manifest



Shipping Manifest for Parcel Delivery

Manifests for passengers and cargo have been around for hundreds of years, for the loading and unloading of ships, planes, trains and transportation services of every kind. These lists were extremely detailed specifically because multiple parties were usually involved in shipping and transportation.

Why is the Shipping Manifest Important?

Shipping has historically been both risky and expensive. Because of this, it was generally necessary that multiple parties be involved, including:

  • The owners of the goods being moved
  • Insurers
  • Shipowners or transportation companies
  • Passengers, their baggage or home goods
  • Customs services for the origin and destination countries

All had an interest in the delivery or non-delivery of goods and travelers in the charge of transportation companies.

How the Shipping Manifest Usage Has Evolved

Today the manifest is typically a billing list presented to the ground or air carrier listing a limited, but important amount of information to both bill the client who is shipping the goods. It lists:

  • Any additional requests or changes for supplemental services
  • Weight
  • Distance/zones
  • COD amount
  • Declared value
  • Insurance
  • Dimensions, and more

It can provide the necessary information to file a shipping claim for lost, stolen, or damaged goods if necessary. Shipping manifests are usually associated with parcel shipping.

The Transition from Paper to the Electronic Manifest

Today’s manifests are a far cry from the early days of shipping where handwritten lists were enough to get your parcel from New York to San Francisco.

For many years, the shipping manifest was a paper document listing the many data fields listed above, today the term manifest typically refers to an electronic document transmitted via electronic data interchange (EDI).

The electronic manifest document is transmitted in message formats such as a UPS PLD file, and FedEx EPDI file or EDI 856 (also called an advanced shipping notice or notification) along with its companion shipping label the ASN is typically provided to retail resellers to let them know what goods are in transit prior to arrival at a distribution center or retail store

With these changes to an electronic rather than paper manifest and the fact that carriers often have proprietary electronic data formats, one best practice is to implement a multi-carrier shipping system such as InfoShip®/Vx that automatically manages all carrier-specific formats and updates as data formats evolve.

Increased Shipment Tracking Implications

For example, as the general need for information by all interested parties increases, there is also a growing need to track package contents – what’s inside each box – at the product SKU level.

This package-level detail information will continue to expand the data set transmitted from the shipper to the transportation carrier.

Equally important, new technologies are continually emerging to monitor and record shipping manifest data, as well as package contents, time in transit, package handling, and claims.

Learn More

Creative Logistics Solutions multi-carrier shipping system, InfoShip®/Vx, provides an efficient platform to manage multiple small parcel, postal LTL, regional, TL and courier rates and services, automatically produce and manage electronic shipment manifests and many other shipping documents, and much more.

Please get in touch with us for a complimentary consultation. 

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