Shipping Terms Glossary

Shipping Terms Glossary
Shipper's Letter of Instruction

Shipper's Letter of Instruction

Also known as SLI, it's a note detailing how the shipment will be sent, handled and where it is going. Most sea freight services will require an SLI.

What is the Shipper’s Letter of Instruction?

Also known as SLI, it's a note from the exporter or the shipper to the freight forwarder detailing how the shipment will be sent, handled and where it is going.

Shipper’s Letter Of Instruction (SLI) example


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Shipper's Letter of Instruction


Is there a standard format for the Shipper’s Letter of Instruction?

Not exactly. Each exporter has their own format, but they all include the following details:


1. Designation of shipper, receiver, and their contact information

2. Shipment route

4. Cargo dimensions and weight

5. Cargo description, UN number (when applicable)

Who completes the Shipper’s Letter of Instruction?

It must be filled in advance by the exporter or shipper and sent to the freight forwarder with the rest of the export paperwork.


Which type of shipments need an SLI?


• Most sea freight services will require an SLI. Because the cargo ship will stop in multiple ports during transit, an SLI will ensure that the cargo stays safe and is properly handled throughout the process.

• Exports from the US always require the shipper to issue this document.

Does it cost to prepare an SLI?

Not explicitly. Your exporter may just include it as part of the export clearance costs.

Rajitha Reniguntla

Rajitha Reniguntla is a supply chain enthusiast from Hong Kong. With a curious mind, she's an avid learner carrying a knack for exploring and breaking down complex ideas. She loves to learn about new things and always aims to enhance the customer experience. Outside of work, she enjoys cycling, doodling and listening to podcasts!

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