A container goes through various types of movements between multiple locations throughout its journey. Carriers and cargo owners rely on relevant documentation as a cue to arrange these types of cargo movements. This is where an Equipment Interchange Receipt comes into play. 

An Equipment Interchange Receipt (EIR) is a document that is issued by a carrier or its respective agent to the cargo owner, when a container is moved from one location to another. These locations are often referred to as interchange points and can be between vessels, depots, yards or terminals. 

In essence, an EIR is a certificate confirming the transfer of equipment (containers) between two locations. Everytime an Equipment Interchange Receipt is issued, the container’s condition is checked and all its respective shipment details are indicated. 

In this article, we will explore the importance of EIRs, how shipping lines, cargo owners and truckers use EIRs, and what type of information this documentation holds.

Why are Equipment Interchange Receipts Important?

An EIR is an important document, as it not only documents the condition of the container and indicates its shipment information, but it also indicates where it’s being moved to. 

equipment interchange receipt sample
Equipment Interchange Receipt © Solomon203

This allows the trucker to understand what container it is picking up and where it is going to be delivered. Equipment Interchange Receipts are typically generated for container movements between: 

  • Vessels
  • Terminals
  • Yards
  • Depots

As carriers must ensure that containers are seaworthy, each container is checked for its condition, before an EIR is generated. When a container is moved to or from an external location, the trucking company may act on behalf of the cargo owner. 

In all cases, all relevant parties must sign off the EIR, which acts as a formal acceptance of the container movement and confirms all of the indicated container and shipping information.  

What Information Is on an Equipment Interchange Receipt?

There are no standard formats that carriers use. Each carrier or agent will use their own, depending on the type of move and the location. Most importantly, all Equipment Interchange Receipts should contain relevant container and shipping information.

  • Shipping Line – Name of the carrier who owns the shipping container. It may also be issued from the agent of the carrier.
  • Vessel & Voyage Number – The name of the vessel, as well as the vessel’s voyage number. 
  • Container Number – The number that is assigned to a container. This is a unique number that is marked on the container. 
  • Container Seal – The seal number of the container. Each container has a seal, which has a unique number.
  • Container Type & Size – The container size and type are also mentioned in the EIR. The most common container types are 20 and 40 foot general purpose containers. However, it may also be reefer, flat rack, open top, or other container types. 
  • Container Load – An indication whether the container is laden (has cargo in it) or empty.
  • Container Gross Weight – The gross weight of the container.
  • Port of Loading – The origin port, where the container was loaded onto the vessel. 
  • Port of Discharge – The destination port, where the container was unloaded from the vessel. 
  • Terminal – The terminal at which the container moves to or from. Ports can have several terminals.  
  • Container Condition – Physical inspection of containers are carried out before they are moved. The Equipment Interchange Receipt will indicate the condition and mention if it has any noticeable damages or defects such as dents, holes, odors or broken flooring.
  • Container Receiving Location – The location where the container is intended to be sent to. This can be a port, terminal, container yard, depot or any external interchange point.
  • Container Receiving Date – The date the container was received at the receiving location.
  • Container Delivery Location – The designated delivery location of the container. This can also be a port, terminal, container yard, depot or any external interchange point.
  • Container Delivery Date – The date on which the container is intended to be delivered to the next interchange point. 
  • Additional Remarks – Other notes made after inspection of the containers are also present on EIRs. Some include container washing, or types of repairs that have been arranged. Often, special handling requests are also indicated in this field. 
  • Issuer Details & Signature – The carrier or its authorized representative/agents signature and date. 
  • Haulier Details & Signature – The name of the appointed trucker and signed confirmation of the information presented in the Equipment Interchange Receipt, as form on an acknowledgement. 
  • Requestor Details & Signature – The details, date and signature of the requestor. The requestor can be the cargo owner (shipper or consignee) or any other party requesting the respective container move. 

Depending on the type of container move and carrier, certain details which are not required or provide no valuable information may be left out. Carriers have their own Equipment Interchange Receipt template and can vary based on location and movement type. 

Does a Freight Forwarder Issue Equipment Interchange Receipts?

Freight forwarders do not typically issue Equipment Interchange Receipts. This is because EIRs are issued by shipping lines, who own the containers and are physically coordinating its movements between the interchange points. 

While freight forwarders can act as carriers, they typically don’t own any shipping containers. Instead, freight forwarders will take the EIR issued by their shipping line and share the relevant information with their customers.  

How Are Equipment Interchange Receipts Generated and Issued?

As carriers have their own template, the ground-level operators will usually fill in a templated form and pass a copy of it to the trucker and requestor (traditionally done through a carbon form). 

While more advanced systems generate an EIR electronically, certain locations are still practicing the issuance of equipment interchange receipts in written form. 

Equipment Interchange Receipt (EIR) vs Container Interchange Receipt (CIR)

While a Container Interchange Receipt (EIR) shares a different name compared to a Container Interchange Receipt (CIR), they’re purpose and function is identical. 

In shipping terms, equipment generally refers to containers. Therefore an equipment interchange refers to an interchange between two locations of a shipping container. However, while both terms are widely accepted in the shipping industry, the term Equipment Interchange Receipt is more commonly used. 

Equipment Interchange Receipt (EIR) vs Equipment Interchange Report

Occasionally, the suffix ‘report’ is used in lieu of ‘receipt’ when an equipment interchange document is issued. This is because certain types of EIRs place more focus on the container condition, as the document tends to resemble a report more than a traditional receipt. 

However, take note that both terms are also used interchangeably in the shipping and logistics industry, and both terms refer to the same type of document. 

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Gerrit Poel

Co-Founder & Writer
at freightcourse

About the Author

Gerrit is a certified international supply chain management professional with 16 years of industry experience, having worked for one of the largest global freight forwarders.

As the co-founder of freightcourse, he’s committed to his passion for serving as a source of education and information on various supply chain topics.