What is a Shipper’s Letter of Instruction?A Shipper’s Letter of Instruction (SLI) is a document is designed to detail all the requirements of your shipment from start to finish. When organising your export overseas, your freight forwarder will request you to have this document completed.
At International Cargo Express we have two SLI documents, one for seafreight exports and one for airfreight exports. Once you have downloaded your Seafreight SLI or Airfreight SLI read below for an overview of how to complete your shipper’s letter of instruction.
All export shipments require a completed SLI. The shipper’s letter of instruction is a way to formalise how and where to handle your export shipment. It also grants permission to the forwarder to act as the authorized forwarding agent for export control and customs.
1. Is A Shipper Letter Of Instruction Required?
2. Why Is It Important?SLI is multi-purpose document to assist you in communicating information to the freight forwarder SLI is designed to avoid misunderstandings that can result in financial loss to the exporter – so it is vitally important that this document be accurate. If you are exporting to the US, the main benefit of an SLI is federal regulatory compliance! Prior to your goods being exported, Foreign Trade Regulations require a freight forwarder to transmit certain information to U.S. Customs and Border Protection on your behalf. To efficiently gather the required authorizations to act on your behalf and the information needed to be transmitted, the trade community developed a SLI.
Who Is Responsible For The Shipper’s Letter Of Instruction?The SLI is completed by the exporter in advance and is sent to the freight forwarder. It is a written record of who received the shipping documents, who to contact for questions, who to contact for proof of export, and who issued the export control documentation that supports the decision to send your products to your foreign customer. Read on to find out more about the required fields.
How To Fill Out The Shipper’s Letter Of Instruction
1. Detail the Shipper and ConsigneeWhen completing your Shipper’s Letter of Instruction you need to detail the exporting company (shipper) and the receiving business overseas (consignee). It is important that this information is accurate and up to date and contact information (telephone and email address) is provided accordingly.
2. Notify PartyIf you or your consignee work with a particular forwarder in the country of destination you should include their details in the “Notify Party” section of the SLI. If you do not complete this section the shipment will pass to the freight partner of your agent in the destination country and they will approach the consignee to see if they can clear the goods upon arrival.
3. Departure and DestinationYour port or airport of departure and destination will be included on the quote from your forwarder. If you know which ports you would like to transit through ensure this information is included here.
4. Hazardous CargoHazardous substances can be defined as “a product, material or substance that has the potential to be harmful to a person’s health, both short and long term.” Shipping hazardous cargo brings its own regulations and challenges. If you tick yes and indicate that your goods are hazardous cargo you must have Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) to accompany your documentation. Without this MSDS your forwarder cannot ship your cargo.
Material Safety Data Sheets may be requested from the manufacturer, importer or supplier of a hazardous chemical and many manufacturers and importers make electronic copies of MSDS available on their websites.