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Shipper's Letter of Instruction

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What is a Shipper's Letter of Instruction?

Shipper's Letter of Instruction form | Shipping SolutionsThe Shipper's Letter of Instruction (SLI), while not required by any regulatory agency, serves a very important function. Its purpose is to convey specific instructions from the exporter to his agent, usually an international freight forwarder.

An SLI also typically includes a limited Power of Attorney statement that gives the freight forwarder the authority to sign documents on behalf of the exporter.

Preparing and submitting an SLI provides your company with 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 information that was used to support the decision to export the goods.

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Shipper's Letter of Instruction FAQs

  • Is an SLI required for export?

    A Shipper's Letter of Instruction (SLI) is optional, but it is important and often advisable to use one. In fact, your freight forwarder or shipping agent may require one because it provides them with information on how to handle the export shipment. The SLI outlines important details such as the shipper and consignee information, description of the goods, packaging requirements, transportation mode, and any special instructions or documentation needed for customs compliance.

  • Why is the Shipper's Letter of Instruction important?

    The Shipper's Letter of Instruction (SLI) is important because it serves as the primary communication tool between the shipper and the freight forwarder or shipping agent. It provides clear instructions on how the shipment should be handled, including documentation requirements, packaging instructions, and any special handling or routing instructions. 

  • Who signs the Shipper's Letter of Instruction?

    The shipper or their authorized representative is responsible for signing the Shipper's Letter of Instruction (SLI). It is typically the party that initiates the export shipment and has a contractual relationship with the freight forwarder or shipping agent. The authorized signatory should have the necessary authority to provide instructions on behalf of the shipper.

  • What information is required on a Shipper's Letter of Instruction?

    The specific information required on a Shipper's Letter of Instruction (SLI) may vary depending on the freight forwarder, shipping agent, or country regulations. However, some common information typically included in an SLI are: shipper's and consignee's details; description of the goods; packaging requirements and special handling instructions; transportation mode; and any required export documentation.

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