packing listThe Packing List is a shipping document that shows unabridged description of goods. Thus, the packing list shows dimensions, weights etc., in a parcel or package. Its purpose is to help transporters of goods, government agencies, and importers know the contents of what is shipped. Therefore, even without opening the package the list speaks. The content of a packing list is essentially the same, with little or no variation among countries.


Content of the Packing List in Nigeria:

This article will present the contents of acceptable packing list in Nigeria.

  • The Address of the consignor: state who is responsible for sales or export as agreed. Remember to include contact person’s email and phone number or fax.
  • Address of the consignee: state who is responsible for goods import as agreed. Remember to include contact person’s email and phone number or fax
  • Commercial Goods description: did you notice I used the word ‘unabridged in the definition above? Yes the packing list allows you the space to say as much as you want to tell about the goods. So describe the goods in much more detail than the commercial invoice if at all possible.


  • Number and the kind of packages; say 3×2 boxes or 5 cartons, etc.
  • Harmonised Systems Code (HS Codes); same as in all other documents relating to the same item.
  • Quantity
  • Net weight
  • Gross weight; ensure this agrees with other documents such as the Commercial Invoice and the Bill of Lading or Air Waybill.
  • Origin Country; same as in Form M
  • The Country of Supply; same as in Form M
  • Country of Final Destination; same as in Form M
  • Form M Numbers (MF/BA)
  • Terms & Delivery of Payment; may be C&F or Ex-Works or CIF or any other, otherwise say as agreed if that be the agreement with the exporter.
  • Mode of Carriage; state whether sea or air
  • Origin Port; same as in Form M
  • Final Destination Port; must be same as Form M
  • Container detail (if containerised)
  • Product Number and Batch Number
  • Total Number of Packages
  • Weights summary; this kind of recaps all weights like the gross weight, the net weight, etc.
  • Signature and date; not compulsory but gives a proof of originality.

Importance of the Packing List

The following are the core reasons why the packing list is of high importance:

  • The packing list allows for proper handling of individual package in a group-age container
  • It serves as a quick checklist for the importer, and Customs and other governmental agencies
  • Allows room for selective examination in a group-age container
  • It is a catalog for what is shipped.
  • Used to prepare booking with the international carrier and international bill of lading.
  • It is used as a support document for reimbursement for Letter of Credit (LC) shipment.
  • Can be used for insurance claim in cases of loss during transport
  • Used as one of the documents to prepare material safety data sheet (MSDS)
  • Can contain information about the nature of goods, whether dangerous or hazardous.
  • Provides information needed to prepare certificate of origin.
  • Ultimately, in Nigeria, without the Packing List there cannot be cargo clearance, since it must be used to obtain Pre-Arrival Assessment Report – PAAR.
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