Shipper’s letter of instructions(SLI), which is a summary of detailed export shipment instructions for the freight forwarder to follow. It’s sort of like a cover memo for your other files. The SLI is not actually a legally required document. However, it is probably the most important global shipping document you will prepare.
During shipment, you should list all relevant details such as commodity, weight, value and special handling requirements. SLI provides written proof of who needs to do what in a transaction.
Why is the shipper’s letter of instructions important?
A. You sign a contract with a freight forwarder to skillfully handle many details in the shipping process. However, no freight forwarder can step in directly and make the decision on your behalf due to cargo ownership and legality.
B. The shipper’s letter of instruction provides your freight forwarder with limited authority to act as your agent in litigation involving the carrier, port, cargo insurance, customs and other matters.
D.SLI will document your request in detail so that in the event of non-compliance with instructions, there is clear evidence. Details matter in SLI.
For example, if you want to ship from China to Chicago via LA, but don’t specify the exact route, then the shipment can be shipped via the East Coast, costing more time and money. SLI spells out the details to minimize the possibility of errors.
Shipper’s letter of instructions – Format/Template
Details required for shipper’s letter of instructions
● The Shipper Instruction Letter form should include the contact details of the following parties:
◊ exporter or seller of goods
◊ intermediate consignee
◊ final consignee
◊ Freight Forwarder Details
◊ Carrier details
● Intermediate consignee
● Final consignee
● Shipping agent
● Inland carrier
◊ Products Shipped – Quantity, Weight and Value of Goods
◊ Packaging Details and Handling Requirements
◊ export restrictions (if any)
◊ Documents required for exporting goods, such as letter of credit, commercial invoice, packing list, export license, proforma invoice, etc.
● Verified License Number/Universal License Symbol
● Export Control Classification Number (ECCN)