standard shipping note

What Is a Standard Shipping Note?

Local customs authorities are required to track inbound and outbound shipments for safety purposes. Therefore, most import and export processes require the filing of a specific note of declaration.

A Standard Shipping Note (SSN) is a document that is required by local customs authorities for export shipments out of the United Kingdom (UK), which contains relevant shipping and cargo information. 

The purpose of a Standard Shipping Note is to provide clear and precise information on the shipment and how the goods should be handled. This is important so that local authorities and stakeholders are aware of all shipment details. 

While many countries have similar documents, a Standard Shipping Note, also SSN in short, is predominantly used for shipments originating from the United Kingdom. Oftentimes, the Standard Shipping Note is also used as a shipment advice or a Shipping Memo

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at Standard Shipping Notes, when they are required, what information they contain and which party is responsible for the submission. 

What Types of Cargo Require a Standard Shipping Note?

In order to comply with export regulations in the UK, all non-hazardous shipments that are departing from an airport or sea port that is located in the United Kingdom require an SSN. For hazardous cargo or dangerous goods, a Dangerous Goods Note (DGN) is submitted instead. 

Who Submits the Standard Shipping Note?

The shipper or its appointed agent such as a customs broker or freight forwarder may submit the standard shipping note to the carrier and local custom authorities.  

Ultimately, the shipper (often also the exporter) is responsible for ensuring that the information provided on the standard shipping note is complete and accurate. The shipper is also liable for any penalties that may incur if an SSN is not submitted timely, incorrectly or without complete information. 

Standard Shipping Note Template

While you’re able to find various Standard Shipping Note templates, we highly recommend that you use the official one that is provided by the Department of Transport, which you may find below.

What Information is Found on a Standard Shipping Note?

An SSN contains relevant shipment and cargo information for UK customs and carriers. The Information found on a Standard Shipping Note are for example, booking and reference numbers, cargo type, weight and description, container numbers, among various others. 

Below, you’ll find a complete list of information. We’ve also made sure to include an explanation for each of these terms for easier understanding.  

  • Exporter / Shipper – The name and details of the shipper or exporter. This entity is located at the origin and is also the party that is required to provide all of the relevant shipping and cargo information of the SSN.
  • Importer / Consignee – The name and details of the importer or consignee, who is located at the destination. This party is also the receiver of the cargo.
  • Freight Forwarder – The nominated freight forwarder that is in charge of transporting the goods. 
  • Booking Number – The unique booking number assigned by the shipping line or freight forwarder if they are acting as a carrier. 
  • Port of Loading / Origin Airport – The port of loading for sea shipments or the origin airport for air shipments. 
  • Port of Discharge / Destination Airport – The port of discharge for sea shipments or the destination airport for air shipments. 
  • Vessel / Flight Number – The name of the vessel and voyage number or the flight number, depending on the mode of transport.
  • Cargo Details – Information about the cargo such as description of the goods, quantity, weight, handling instructions, and stowage.
  • Container Number – The unique 11-digit alphanumeric code of the container or unit load device (ULD), in which the cargo is loaded. 
  • Signatures – The date and signature of the shipper declaring that the cargo is compliant to regulations and that the Standard Shipping Note is accurate and complete. Signatures and dates of the haulier and receiving authority are also required. 
  • Remarks – Any additional remarks or comments are also noted on an SSN.