Standard Shipping Note Completion Guide

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Sample Completed Standard Shipping Note

The Standard Shipping Note (SSN) enables the shipper to complete one standard document for all consignments irrespective of port or inland depot. By doing so, it provides the receiving authority with complete, accurate and timely data as well as providing all those with an interest in the consignment with adequate information at each movement stage, until final loading on board the vessel or aircraft. The greatest benefit of using the SSN is that receiving authorities receive clear and precise information on how the goods should be handled.

The SSN has been widely and successfully used throughout the UK and has now been updated to take account of changing transport techniques and cargo handling practices, and the introduction of the New Export System (NES).

The SSN should accompany deliveries (general cargo, unit load, containerised) from factories or warehouses to inland clearance depots, groupage depots, ports, airports and other cargo terminals.

However, the SSN must not be used if the delivery includes items classified as hazardous by reference to the relevant national and international regulations applicable to the intended modes of transport. If goods are classified as dangerous in these regulations, the SITPRO Dangerous Goods Note (DGN) 1999 version should be used instead. This incorporates the dangerous goods declaration, shipping and stowage instructions, and container/vehicle packing certificate and is for use by all transport modes except air.

Remember: Any inaccuracies and omissions in the data you provide may add to confusion, add extra costs and delay consignments.

How to Use the SITPRO SSN

It is most important to follow the booking and receiving procedures specified by shipping lines and receiving authorities. Further points to consider in completing the SSN are given below:

SSN Availability

SSNs in gummed sets for typewriter or impact printer completion are available from SITPRO approved printers, or from a wide range of retailers. SSN’s printed on special, heavier weight, selfcopy paper for use with photocopier or laser printer systems are also available from these printers. These printers are authorised to overprint notes with exporters’/forwarders’ logos and standard details, and to supply them in specialised make-up such as continuous stationery.

There are a number of computer software packages available that allow for the completion of aligned documents including the SSN, usually producing the documents on laser printers. Please visit the SITPRO website ( for a list of both SITPRO licensed printers and companies licensed to sell software that produces SITPRO aligned documents.

SITPRO SSN Completion Instructions

Box by Box Guidelines

Box Instructions
1 Exporter Name and address of exporter including postcode.
2 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 hypens – 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 Box 4 below).

This box should NOT be used for declaring the Master UCR (MUCR) – see Box 12 below – or consignments in FREE CIRCULATION moving solely within the EU.

3 Booking number. Booking reference number of carrier (shipping line, airline).
4 Exporter’s reference. Consignment reference designated by the exporter – optional if already quoted as part of the DUCR in Box 2.
5 Forwarder’s reference. Consignment reference designated by the forwarder (if any).
6 Consignee. May be used for name and address of importer/consignee. However, completion of this box is not mandatory.
7 Freight Forwarder. Name, address of freight forwarder (if any), including postcode.
8 International Carrier. Name of shipping line, air transport operator or combined transport operator.
9 Other UK transport details. Information required in this box will differ depending on the consignment in question and the specific information and procedural requirements of receiving authorities and shipping lines e.g. delivery address, ICD terminal, vehicle booking reference, receiving dates, name of receiving authority, haulier’s collection instructions.
10 Vessel/flight no and date and port/airport of loading. Vessel name or flight number and date (if known) and the port or airport of loading e.g. MV Canadian Explorer, Liverpool.
11 Port/airport of discharge and destination. Name of the port/airport of discharge and the ultimate destination (if inland carriage is included) e.g. Casablanca, Marrakech.
  1. Shipping marks in full, initials or abbreviated name of consignee or buyer, reference number, destination, package number. Alternatively for full container loads the container/seal number may be inserted.
  2. Number and type of packages – e.g. 25 cartons
  3. Description of the goods – it is essential that a full, clear, plain language description of the goods is given to assist HM Customs in export processing and examination (if any)
  4. Package dimensions of abnormal loads
  5. Non-hazardous special stowage requirements (e.g. acceptable temperature requirements).

Where a consignment forms part of a consolidation or groupage movement this box should 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 Revenue & Customs, including the use of alpha, numeric characters and spaces, hypens and forward slashes – see HM Revenue & Customs Tariff and Public Notice No. 276.

The consolidator or groupage operator should normally add the MUCR to a Standard Shipping Note already completed by the Exporter (Shipper).

  1. Gross Weight The weight of the merchandise in its export packing in kilograms for each separate goods description
  2. Total gross weight of goods The total gross weight in kilograms of the goods should be entered. For containerised goods, this excludes the weight of the container.
  1. Cube (m3) of goods Measurement of goods in cubic metres for each separate goods description indicating whether pallet measurements are included
  2. Total cube of goods The total cubic measurement of the goods.
NOTE: Boxes 16-16D will normally need to be completed by the haulier or carrier
16 Container identification number/vehicle registration number e.g. ACLU 269687/4.
16A Seal Number(s) The number as shown on exporter’s and/or Customs’ seals used to secure the container/trailer.
16B Container/vehicle size and type e.g. 40ft open top. The ISO code for container size/type may also be used (although this is not mandatory).
16C Tare (kg) The tare weight as marked on the container safety convention (CSC) plate.
16D Total gross weight (including tare) (kg) Total weight of boxes 13A and 16C.
  1. Name and telephone number of shipper preparing this note
  2. Place and date
  3. Name of contact


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.

This Guide may not be republished, in full or in part, without SITPRO’s prior permission.