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Freight And Shipping Document Management: What It Is And Why You Need It

Managing freight documents doesn’t have to be hard. Read on to learn about document management and how it can help your business.

Dylan Sommer

If you’re an importer or exporter, the paperwork can pile up quickly.

But managing your documents can be simple.

In this post, we’ll discuss freight document management and explain why it’s an essential tool for streamlining your operations. Whether you’re a small business owner, a shipping manager, or somewhere in between, this post is for you.

Search, book, and manage freight in one place

What is freight document management?

From bills of lading to invoices, customs forms, and export licenses, each of your shipments needs a lot of documentation to serve as receipts, ensure compliance, facilitate communication, and enable timely payments.

If that weren’t enough, documents often come from – and must reach – a variety of different parties, including freight forwarders, suppliers, carriers, customs authorities, and regulatory bodies.

A well-designed document management system provides a single place to store all your freight-related documents digitally, eliminating the need for physical paperwork and reducing the risk of misplacement. This ensures that you can retrieve the information you need whenever you need it, saving you time and improving operational efficiency.

Benefits of a freight document management system

A freight document management system offers many advantages for your logistics operations, including:

  • Better data security. Freight documents contain sensitive information, such as customer details, financial data, and confidential contracts. A document management system with strong security features, including user permissions, encryption, and data backups, protects your information.
  • Easier editing. A document management system allows you to edit or upload new documents directly instead of dealing with physical papers or exchanging multiple versions of a document over email.
  • Faster booking. When your power of attorney, HS code information, and consignee details are easily accessible, booking your next shipment is much faster.
  • Seamless sharing.Keeping all your documents in a single location accessible to your team and providers saves the hassle of forwarding and email chains.
  • Painless insurance claims. If your goods are lost or stolen, the last thing you want is to search through piles to find your insurance and any other necessary documents. With a document management system, you can focus on recouping your losses instead of locating papers.
document management solutions

What freight and logistic documents should I manage?

Let’s take a look at some common freight and logistic documents that most importers and exporters will need:

  • Commercial invoice: provides details about the goods, including a description, quantity, unit price, total value, payment terms, and any applicable taxes or duties. Required to assess and verify the value of the goods for customs clearance purposes.
  • MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet):provides comprehensive information about a hazardous substance or chemical, including physical and chemical properties, potential hazards, safe handling and storage procedures, emergency response measures, and disposal guidelines.
  • Export license: issued by the government or relevant authorities that grants permission to export specific goods from one country to another. Export licenses are typically required for goods that are sensitive, controlled, or subject to specific restrictions or embargoes.
  • Packing list: also known as a shipping list or packing slip, this document provides a detailed inventory of the goods, including quantity, description, and packaging of each item.
  • Customs documentation: depending on your origin and destination, customs documents can include import/export declarations, certificates of origin, permits, licenses, and anything else mandated by customs authorities to ensure compliance with trade regulations and facilitate customs clearance.
  • Bill of lading (B/L): serves as evidence of the contract between the importer and the carrier and includes details about the goods, such as quantity, description, packaging, and destination.
  • Freight insurance documents: protecting goods against loss, damage, or theft during transit, these documents may include insurance policies, certificates of insurance, or any other insurance documentation.
  • Delivery receipts: generated when the goods are delivered to the consignee, these documents serve as proof that the shipment was received in good condition and provide the recipient’s acknowledgment of receipt.

The specific documents your shipment requires vary depending on your goods, the mode of transportation, and your origin and destination. Check with your freight forwarder to make sure you have everything you need.

How can help with your freight document management

Without a proper management system, storing, accessing, and sharing shipping documents can be a hassle. This is especially true when you’re managing multiple shipments, each with their own (virtual) stack of paperwork. allows you to store all of your documents within the platform so you can access whatever you need from any shipment.

The best part? Since you can also search, book, and manage your shipment on, you’ll have a one-stop shop for all your shipping needs, no matter how large your business grows.

Freight document management can be easy


Get a demo of’s Enterprise Shipper capabilities helps you spend less time and money on each shipment, reducing spend with better:

  • Improved selection across price, mode, vendor, performance metrics on each shipment
  • Reduced management time with on-demand documentat management and tracking
  • Real-time service through automated services, real-time chat, and integrated messaging options
  • Powerful payment options, including credit, batch processing, reconcilations and more.

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