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General Shipping Documents

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Use the following information and links to websites that have examples of different shipping document types used for shipping domestic and international freight.

Bill of Lading

A bill of lading (B/L or BOL) is a legal document issued by a shipper to a carrier that details the type, quantity, and destination of the goods being transported.

The bill of lading is a document of title, a receipt for shipped goods, and a contract between a carrier and shipper.

This document must accompany the shipped goods and must be signed by an authorized representative from the carrier, shipper, and receiver.

The TForce Worldwide Connect transportation management software will create a bill of lading for our registered customers whenever it is used to schedule a shipment with one of our freight carrier partners. Learn more

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Commercial Invoice

A properly prepared commercial invoice includes information such as the buyer and the seller, a description of the goods, the quantity, the value for all the shipped items, and the location of the purchase. This shipping document is required before goods can pass through customs in the United States.

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NAFTA Certificate of Origin

Up to July 1, 2020 the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) stipulated that sellers shipping to Canada, the U.S. or Mexico must include a NAFTA form when the value of the goods totaled $2,500 or more.

The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) trade agreement replaces NAFTA on this date. For merchandise sold on or before June 30, 2020, NAFTA rules will continue to apply.


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USMCA Overview

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Shipper’s Letter of Instruction

When working with a licensed customs broker for any international shipment is important that you provide them with a Shipper’s Letter of Instruction (SLI) containing all the information needed to successfully move your goods.

The SLI is essentially a cover letter for your other export paperwork. Depending on whether the forwarder works for you, the SLI may include a limited Power of Attorney giving them the authority to act on your behalf for this shipment.

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If you are looking for any documents not found on this website, please contact the TForce Worldwide DTW office at 888-757-6909 or by e-mail at

Please contact us today at 888-757-6909 if you have any domestic or international freight shipping questions. Get a Quote