Container transport with general cargo – what papers do you need?

Container transport with general cargo – what papers do you need?
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Transport industry develops very dynamically. The need for rapid delivery of cargo to various corners of the world generates thousands of new solutions. What do you need to know about the transport of containers with general cargo?

Why is sea transport so popular?

Transport concerns almost every area of modern economy. Without it, international trade would not exist. Thanks to an efficient transport network and advanced infrastructure, goods can be delivered to the farthest corners of the world in a very short time

Transport can be distinguished into several types. The division includes air transport, land transport and sea transport. Each of them has certain advantages and disadvantages, but in general they are all very efficient. One of the oldest is transportation by sea. Currently, this method of transporting cargo is very popular because of its cost-effectiveness, functionality and care for the environment

Different types of cargo ships are used in sea transport, and the cargo units are functional containers, which have been used continuously since the 1960s. The use of such a solution has greatly facilitated the transport of large and demanding cargo and reduced storage costs.

Groupage transport

One of the types of maritime transport is groupage transport. Wondering what it is? The name refers to the transport of goods with small dimensions. These may be processed products as well as finished products packed in special sets or individually.

In case of groupage transport, it is necessary to be able to weigh and count all such cargo. As part of the transport, so-called unitization is performed, i.e. combining individual batches into one collective cargo in a container.

General cargo container transport – formalities

As with any other business, shipping involves a huge number of formalities that need to be completed in order to provide reliable and legal services. Adequate documentation is necessary to efficiently control and manage the transported cargo

Proper completion of various paperwork will be essential for the transportation process to take place without any problems and associated downtime. Here are the most important documents you will need when shipping with the help of general cargo containers

Bill of lading

The bill of lading is one of the most important documents for shipping by sea. It is the equivalent of a waybill, which is very often encountered during land transportation. Bill of lading is a security paper equipped with its own serial number.

This document contains information such as ship’s name, container’s number, its content and dimensions, name of loading and unloading harbor, carrier’s, shipper’s and receiver’s identification and captain’s signature. Several types of bills of lading can be distinguished. These include, for example:

  • forwarder’s bill of lading,
  • master bill of lading.

Commercial invoice and forwarder’s invoice

Another very important documents in maritime transport are commercial invoice and forwarder’s invoice. The first one specifies the goods sold and its amount. Based on this information, customs declarations are generated. The freight forwarder’s invoice, on the other hand, refers to the transportation costs and any extra services.

Shipment list

The loading list includes a list of all items that are placed in each container. It contains a lot of important information, such as for example: date of issue and document number, quantity of transported packages, their volume and weight.

Insurance certificate

In case of shipping it often happens that it is necessary to take out additional insurance. Why is it so important? In case of loss, damage or destruction of transported cargo, shipping lines and forwarder have limited liability. The policy is issued as standard by a selected insurance company and includes such information as description and sum assured.

Other documents

LTL transport by sea is a very large undertaking, which in practice involves a much more numerous set of documents. Other papers that play an important role in maritime transport include:

  • cargo receipt,
  • skipper’s receipt,
  • booking confirmation,
  • charter,
  • bookings note,
  • consignment note.


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