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What is Manifest Filing in Logistics? Everything you need to know and create one.

"What is manifest in imports and exports? Learn how to file it!"

A manifest is compiled with information about the goods transported from one country to another in international trade.

I mean, like the info about transport, such as identification, characteristics, route, etc.

The process for documenting these manifests is called manifest filing.

It is as simple as that. And how do you prepare one for your company? Let’s see now.

How to prepare your manifest?

This document is prepared based on the contents of the bill of lading.

The shipping company issues the bill of lading, which serves as the carrier of your goods at the point of loading and is where the information on the bill of lading is filled out.

In what ways do manifest documents help?

A manifest document is vital in logistics and supply chain management.

Most countries require the submission of a manifest, which helps to ensure the shipment complies with the regulations and laws governing international trade.

It also helps to avoid the shipment being held up in customs or being penalized for failure to comply.

Interesting, isn’t it?

Role of manifest

The main objective of the manifest document is to inform the customs authorities of the importing country in advance of what cargo is being exported.

And you may have doubts about who these customs authorities are.

It is a government agency that determines if the goods are permitted or not during the process of import and export. To be precise, the customs authorities act as a checkpoint in international trade.

When did the manifest begin?

Long back in 2001 when the United States was attacked by terrorists.

That attack shook up the world, and the United States made a 24-hour rule that the manifest needed to be submitted prior to 24 hours of loading the shipment. It was initially started to prevent terrorist attacks in many countries.

Customs authorities pre-check the cargo for any suspected terrorist activities, and they use this manifest to avoid such cargo during import.

What is the information that the manifest consists of?

The information in the manifest will help you learn about the goods. There are two main types of information the manifest consists of.

They are

  1. Vessel information
  2. Cargo information

1. Vessel information

It contains information like the name of the vessel transporting cargo and its nationality. This information will help identify the ship’s nationality.

2. Cargo information

This document contains information like the container’s type and number, the bill of lading number, the description of goods, the kind of package, the place of shipment and destination, etc. This information is based on the contents of the bill of lading.

Filing the manifest

In international trade, the filing manifest is important because it contains information about the shipment.

  1. Manifests are sent from the loading point to the discharge point by the shipping company.
  2. The shipping company agent in the place of discharge will send it to customs. In some cases, the shipping company submits its manifest directly from the place of loading to the place of discharge.
  3. The time limit for submitting the manifest is known as the 24-hour rule. The rule is to submit the manifest to customs at the place of import at least 24 hours before the cargo is loaded on the vessel or the vessel carrying cargo leaves the port. This rule became mandatory in many countries like the United States, Canada, Europe, and other countries.
  4. Once the manifest is approved by the customs of the importing country the cargo is ready for shipment.

Things to remember during manifest

As I mentioned above, the manifest document is created using the bill of lading. Therefore, make sure you make proper documentation on the bill of lading since it creates a ripple.

If your bill of lading differs from the actual information about your shipment, then the manifest also differs. If this happens, the customs department will get confirmation from the importer’s side, which also creates problems during customs clearance.

To avoid such difficulties, ask the shipper to send the necessary information and make sure of their cooperation to ensure that the contents are correct.

The consignor and shipper should confirm the invoice, packing list, license, and certificate of origin, which are important for customs clearance.

If any mistakes are made on the bill of lading, they will affect the manifest document and cause problems with customs clearance. Also, if changes need to be made to the manifest documents, that will cost you more money and time.

Usually, the manifest is locked when the vessel leaves the port.

It means that once the shipping agent has filled out and arranged the information, it cannot be corrected without the shipping agent’s permission, and unlocking also takes time.


Since the information on the bill of lading has a connection with the manifest filing, you need to be careful when you prepare this. Otherwise, you might face unwanted issues from the government side.

If you don’t know or need expert help in filing your manifests, we have the right resource with significant experience in the industry. They have created many and can help you in this process from top to bottom.

I hope that the above article has helped you better understand what a manifest is and where it is filed. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us below in the comments.