Saturday, May 25, 2024
shipping and freight resource services
HomeBill of LadingDifference between an exporter and a shipper

Difference between an exporter and a shipper

Difference between an exporter and a shipper.. Hmmmmm, this could be a tricky question and depends on who looks at it and from what perspective..

In simple terms,

Exporter = is a person or company or entity that is authorised by Customs and Govt authorities to export cargoes to various countries..

This is also the party responsible for filing the export declaration with the customs authorities..

Exporter may or may not be the seller of the goods..

Shipper = is a person or company or entity that is shown in all the shipping documents (bill of lading, commercial invoice, packing list) as the party responsible for procuring and/or placing the order for shipment and maybe also for arranging the freight payment etc..

Shipper shown on the bill of lading need not necessarily be a registered exporter and may or may not be the seller of the goods..

A Freight Forwarder can also be shown as the shipper on a line’s master bill of lading..

Liked the content..??

Sign up below to receive the best and most reliable industry content for free from THE Definitive Online Resource for Shipping and Freight..




Hariesh Manaadiar
Hariesh Manaadiar
I am Hariesh Manaadiar, the Founder of Shipping and Freight Resource.. I have been in the dynamic shipping and freight industry for over three decades and have worked in several sectors.. I share my experiences and knowledge of the industry through this blog for those looking for help in the industry.. Stay subscribed for more free useful content about shipping, freight, maritime, logistics, supply chain and trade..


  1. Supplier in Canada-A
    Exporter/ Reseller in Canada- B
    Buyer in India-C
    Can B buy from A and sell it to C?
    Or if any other best option is available.
    Please Advise

  2. i am a USA manufacturer of a product that I sold to someone in the USA. that person wants me to ship the product to their customer in Canada. Who is the exporter?

  3. Hi, I’m a retailer selling goods to customers who ask me to deliver goods to their freight forwarder local to our stores where the goods are exported. We’re often given SLI documents to complete. When goods leave our store, they’re invoiced to the customer which means ownership has changed hands from us to them at this point. Am I correct in assuming that the I am not the shipper instead my customer is?

    • Hi Matthew, not familiar with what SLI documents are.. But in your case, you are “selling” the goods locally to your customer in which case you are the supplier to the exporter.. So anything after your sale is their part and not yours and that includes you being shown as shipper or exporter, UNLESS you have such an arrangement with your customer because they don’t have an exporter licence etc and you do..

  4. Hello there,

    My principle is in country X, I am in country Y, my client is in country Z. Client from country Z has asked to deliver goods s CIF to country Y to his forwarder, from where their forwarder will reexport it to country Z. In this case, what invoice, PL and COO should i share with the clients forwarder in country Y to clear it? Shouldnt it all (Inlcuding BL) be switched from our principle and issued as My company (Shipper) to My Client (Consignee)? But the forwarder has asked to mention their name in the BL and clients name as notify. In this case invoice, Packing list, COO will all will be from My company to “my client” but BL will be from “My company” to “Clients forwarder”. IS this correct? Will there be issues at customs as the Consignee in BL is diffferent from what is mentioned in the other documents?

  5. To clear the mist of exporter/shipper, we have to understand that we have two contracts involved in exporting activities:

    A Contract of sales and purchase — where we have exporter and importer subject to UN Convention of International Sales of Goods (CISD) that is often incorporated in the applicable law in the country of export and/or import.

    B Contract of carriage — where the shipper sends the goods to the consignee.

    So the same entity may act as exporter in contract A and shipper in contract B. But of course they may be two different entities.

  6. Sir, 3rd country Invoice creater can be treated as exporter or not. Actual goods manufactured and shipment done by other country. in this case 3rd country can treated as Exporter or supplier and facilitator. Pls. clarify

    Koka srinivas

  7. Dear Hariesh
    I’m curious about the relationshop between the exporter and the shipper. I believe that the exporter must take ownership of the goods being exported. Then, payment received for the exported goods must pass through the exporters hands. What about the shipper? Can the shipper receive payments for the goods and pass the payments through to the exporter without the payments being declared “income” for the shipper?

  8. pls sir, help me on dis;

    i work in the shipping operation department in my company. we are into importing and exporting of goods. although we do importation of salt for a company in nigeria.
    pls help explain the totality of all processing involved in the importing of bulk cargo from country of origin to country of destination.
    i. e starting from the manufacturer or seller to the exporter, through to the final destination which is the importer or the rightful owner (company) of the cargo.

    • Hi Steven, suggest you read through the entire blog and you will find all the relevant information you are looking for.. There are various processes explained here.. If you still have some query, pls feel free to ask..

  9. Dear Ahmed!
    I am a trader in sweden.

    Say that- I received an order from a company in India A.
    A manufacturer in sweden B supplys this order to me first but without invoicing,
    actually he is just putting the goods in my disposation to export.

    Can I do invoicing to buyer at my own name and can I be shipper in Bill of lading also ?
    I mean i show exporter and shipper myself
    Is that legal?

    The reason that I do not want invoice from Manufacturer B is , I have to pay huge VAT tax.
    How this transaction will be done. The reason I want myself show as exporter and shipper, because I do not want to disclose the Manufacturer B to the company in India A and vice versa.
    Also assume in this case I have received transferable LC from the buyer(India A).

    Your help will be appreciated.

    Thank you.

  10. To export is to co-ordinate sale, delivery and invoicing of goods or services to an entity in another nation. The person who does this is the exporter. The seller carries out the transaction, the manufacturer or supplier puts the goods at the disposition of the exporter, the exporter in turn makes these available to the shipper and the shipper to the carrier. The manufacturer, seller, exporter and shipper could all be the same person or entity, but need not be, they could also be different and independant parts of the process.

  11. Hi Steven Eze ,alot of Maritime colleges charge alot for theoretical knowledge ,and therafter paying a huge sum on college fees ,you have to try and get into a Shipping Company ,it Depends which sector of shipping you want to focus on (you wont know) Shipping Line ,Groupage Operators,and Clearing and Forwarding Agents ,they teach you everything ,but when you actually get into the industry its a whole new ball game ,for example Customs Clearing and Forwarding you have to start from scratch and often you either do inservice or get paid a weeeak salary ,Im a Senior Customs Expert who has a Maritime College Qualification and trust me ,youd rather go and work for free and gain experience in a shipping company than waste your money and Time on a Maritime college only to to realise later that the guys you work with have no college Qualification and are high ranking in the Industry ,The Maritime Colleges really Screw you financially and youd have a slower start to the Industry and the Industry always employs experienced people ,so if I was you Id get the experience and Study a degree in Management later instead of wasting your parents money on Irelevant stuff ,cos only 10% of your studies will apply practically in the Shipping Environment ,call me on 073 2929 342 .

    • Greetings to you Dad, am Adjei Emmanuel from ghana and will like much to know you and am in am aviation school here offering shipping in my school so i will be grateful if you can contact me on whatsapp on this number so that we will get to know each other well and learn from you here to be a better one in any industry i will go , please this is my number +233503233358

  12. More also,can we conclude that the shipper can as well be refered to the SUPPLIER,the SELLER or an individual in which an exporter acts on his/her behalf.

  13. i want to know more about the shipping industry cos am a student of a maritime college in Nigeria.


    pls help me


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.



Sign up below to receive the best and most reliable industry content for free from THE Definitive Online Resource for Shipping and Freight..



FBX - Freight Indices