Export Cargo Shipping Instruction Completion Guide

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Sample Completed Export Cargo Shipping Instruction


The Export Cargo Shipping Instruction (ECSI) is the instruction from the exporter to the forwarder or carrier. It contains information on the goods and the route to their destination, any transport requirements, customs information, who is to receive what documents and an allocation of the costs. It is extremely important that the information provided in the ECSI is accurate.

The introduction of the New Export System (NES), the New Computerised Transit System (NCTS) and the requirement for advanced cargo information for the enhanced security measures have changed the official documentary procedures, in many cases replacing the paper document with electronic messages. As a result of these developments, although the format of the ECSI document remains the same as when it was originally released, the way that the exporter completes the form to give instructions has changed. This guide reflects these new export preparation procedures.

How to Use the SITPRO ECSI

The ECSI is designed to be a multi purpose form fulfilling several functions and giving specific instructions about export services required and responsibility for those charges. The form can be used for one or more purposes relating to a consignment:

The use of the ECSI is good exporting practice as it can serve as a checklist at the planning stage. The ECSI provides the authoritative record of the exporter’s instructions for the way the consignment should be handled and processed along the international supply chain. In cases of disagreement over cargo handling procedures, proper export documentation or responsibility for export charges the properly completed ECSI can be the source document for the resolution of any dispute.

In summary, the ECSI can save exporters time and money and give clear instructions to those involved in the transport chain.

ECSI Availability

ECSIs are available from SITPRO approved printers. There are a number of computer software packages available that allow for the completion of aligned documents including the ECSI, usually producing the documents on laser printers.

Please visit the SITPRO website (www.sitpro.org.uk/documents) for a list of both SITPRO licensed printers and companies licensed to sell software that produces SITPRO aligned documents.

SITPRO ECSI Box by Box Completion Guidelines


The full name and address of the exporter including postcode and country is required. If the exporter is VAT registered then enter the VAT registration number in this box.

Customs reference/status

This box should be used by the exporter (shipper) to declare the Unique Consignment Reference (UCR) for the export movement. The construction of the declaration UCR (DUCR) should follow the format required by HM Revenue & Customs, including the use of alpha, numeric characters and spaces and hyphens – see HM Revenue & Customs Tariff and Public Notice No. 276.

For consignments moving by air, including courier, express and fast parcel services, the use of the Air Waybill Number (a unique consignment reference for airfreight) may be used. Before using an AWB Number check with the receiving authority, the carrier and HM Revenue & Customs that quoting the number is acceptable as a DUCR.

Exporters should NOT use this box for the purpose of quoting just the commercial reference of the consignment (see Exporter Reference below).

This box should NOT be used for declaring the Master UCR (MUCR) – see Shipping Marks; container number and type below – or consignments in FREE CIRCULATION moving solely within the EU.

Booking Number

If the cargo is already booked with a carrier enter booking reference number of carrier to be used (shipping line or airline).

Exporter’s Reference

Consignment reference designated by the exporter, optional if already quoted as part of the DUCR in Customs reference/status.

Forwarder’s Reference

Consignment reference designated by the forwarder if notified.


The full name and address of the consignee including country must be shown. If the consignee is in an EU member state then add the VAT registration number. SITPRO’s Briefing on Supplying Goods to Customers in the European Union gives examples of the format of VAT numbers in other Member States.

The consignee might not be the same company as the buyer in which case the buyers details should be put in the “other address” box.

Other Address

Address of other party e.g. buyer, place of acceptance/delivery or additional notify parties. Where relevant add the VAT number.

Freight forwarder

Name and address of the freight forwarder and their VAT number, where necessary.

Country of Origin of Goods

Show the country of origin of the goods. For goods not wholly produced in one country, the country of origin should be declared as that in which the final substantial processing took place.

Country of Final Destination

Show the country where the goods will be used i.e. the final destination in the terms of the trade transaction not the transport contract, which may only take the goods to an intermediate point.

Other UK Transport Details

This space is for additional information in free text having completed the transport boxes. Information required in this box will differ depending on the consignment, the mode(s) of transport used and the specific information needed to meet the procedural requirements of receiving authorities and carriers e.g. delivery address, ICD terminal, vehicle booking reference, receiving dates, name of receiving authority, haulier’s collection instructions.

Vessel/flight no. and date

It is essential that the date is added for air transport because the same flight number may be used every day of the week.

Port/Airport Loading

Enter the name of the port or airport of shipment from the United Kingdom (or country of export if different).

Port/Airport of Discharge

Show the name of the port or airport of destination where the goods will be unloaded.

Place of Delivery

Show the ultimate place of delivery under the transport contract if further than the port of discharge, for example a town/city/location or container depot/location or air cargo shed. Note that this is the completion of the transport contract and should not be confused with the Country of Final Destination which is where the goods are ultimately being delivered to the consignee and/or buyer.

Free Space

This space may be used for extra addresses or other information.

Insured Value

If the recipient of the ECSI is being asked to insure the goods, show the insured value and currency. Unless otherwise instructed cover will be for Institute of London Underwriter Clause A and will be charged to the exporter shown in box A of the form. Unless otherwise stated the insured value of the goods is usually the selling or duty paid price plus 10%. If the insurance is being carried out by the exporter the exporter should enter “not required” or “we will insure”.

Shipping Marks; container number and type

This is the essential means of identifying cargo and documents, and linking them together, especially in respect of non full load container/trailer shipments. The marking information should be as simple as possible and identical on packages and documents. Broadly speaking whether you show the shipping marks or the container details depends on if you are shipping a part or full container/trailer load.

If goods are shipped as individual packages or pallets then shipping marks will apply.

If a full container/trailer load is shipped and the goods are delivered in the container/trailer then give the container/trailer no. and type, and any seal number.

In some cases both shipping marks and container details will be necessary, for example a full container is shipped from factory to overseas discharge port, then unloaded before delivery of the goods to the consignee as individual packages.

Shipping marks should follow SITPRO recommendations, for example:

AB Company Ltd – Initials or abbreviated name
1324 – Reference No.
Canberra – Destination
1/25 – Package numbers

Container detail example:

STPU28735215 SEAL: 238754

Where a consignment forms part of a consolidation or groupage movement this box can also be used to declare the Master UCR (MUCR). The consolidator or groupage operator should construct the MUCR in accordance with the format prescribed by HM Customs & Excise, including the use of alpha, numeric characters and spaces, hyphens and forward slashes – see HM Customs and Excise Tariff and Public Notice No. 276.

The consolidator or groupage operator would normally add the MUCR to an Export Cargo Shipping Instruction already completed by the Exporter (Shipper).

Number and kind of packages: description of goods.

If the forwarder or carrier receiving this shipping instruction is being asked to carry out Customs formalities on behalf of the exporter all of these boxes should be completed as appropriate. If however the exporter, is making their own Customs arrangements the information needed here is primarily for transport purposes and Customs information boxes such as Commodity Code, Customs Procedure and Summary Declarations/Previous Document will not need to be completed. For Dangerous Goods refer to IMDG, ADR, CIM, IATA and UK regulations as appropriate and specify the proper shipping name, hazard class, UN number, flashpoint degree C in the correct sequence required by the modal regulations.

Customs Details, Weights and Measurement

Identification of Warehouse

This box must be completed where a pre-shipment declaration is required for goods exported from a Customs warehouse, a Customs and Excise or Excise warehouse, or registered tobacco premises or entered match or mechanical lighter premises or for excise goods exported from any other registered or entered excise premises.

For goods exported from a customs warehouse enter the identification of the warehouse including the letters denoting the country of issue. In the UK the code will consist of ten characters prefixed “A”, “C”, “D” or “E” followed by seven digits and will end with “UK”.

For goods exported from a customs and excise or excise warehouse, or registered tobacco premises or entered match or mechanical lighter premises enter the seven digit premises identification code followed by the letters “UK”.

For excise goods exported from other registered or entered excise premises, enter the name of the premises.

In all cases the name and address where the copy 1 is to be sent after export should be entered in the box provided on the reverse of copy 1 of the C88.

Documentation Instructions

These boxes allow the exporter to show which documents he requires to be produced and who should be charged for this work. Rather than ticking the boxes the capital letters A, B, C, D or E must be entered against each document which is required to show which addressee on the top of the form should be debited for this service. If the customs formalities export box is completed this indicates that the exporter is asking the freight forwarder or carrier to cover export customs formalities. Therefore the boxes from commodity code to summary declaration would need to be completed as appropriate against each line item of cargo.

Freight Information

These boxes allow the exporter to show what freight services they require and who is to be charged for each individual service. The “freight to” box, needs to be completed in all cases where the forwarder or carrier is arranging transport. The name of the port/airport of destination needs to be added in plain text.

The space to the right of the “freight to” will indicate which of the named parties on the form will pay the freight. The other items in this freight area are all optional and depend on the terms of trade.

Trade Term

The relevant ICC Incoterm (latest version) should be entered e.g. FOB Felixstowe Incoterms 2000.

Invoice Price

Add the total invoice value for the whole consignment and currency.

Total Gross Weight

Show total gross weight of all individual items listed in the line item Value boxes.

Total Cube

Show the total cube of the consignment being the total of all line item Cube boxes.

Special Instructions

A free text area for special instructions such as “stow away from boilers”, “transhipment prohibited” etc.


If the consignment is being shipped to another EC member state under customs control then “T1” otherwise leave blank.

Indicate who post enters if SCP

DO NOT COMPLETE. Box redundant since the introduction of the New Export System (NES)

Ocean Freight Payable at

Enter either the name of the port where the freight is payable or the terms “pre paid” or “destination”, as appropriate.

Number of Bills of Lading Required

Show the number of original and copy Bills of Lading to be produced if required. If a letter of credit is involved in the shipment check that the numbers requested includes the number stated on the letter of credit.

Name of Contact and Telephone Number, Date

Must be the person who can answer questions about consignment and transport services/document requirements requested.

Further Information


For further information about documents and procedures for the international movement of goods, contact the SITPRO Helpdesk:


Whilst every effort is made to ensure that the information given herein is accurate, SITPRO Ltd. accepts no legal responsibility for any views expressed or implied or for any errors, omissions or misleading statements in that information caused by negligence or otherwise.