Navigating the World of Shipping: Understanding the Roles of Shipper, Consignor, Consignee, and Noti

The shipping industry can appear labyrinthine to newcomers, with a plethora of terms and roles that may seem perplexing at first glance. Among these, "shipper," "consignor," "consignee," and "notify party" are frequently heard but are often misunderstood. While their functions may sometimes intersect, each plays a distinct role in the shipping process. Understanding these roles is crucial for ensuring smooth sailing in international trade.

Shipper: The Backbone of the Shipping Process
The shipper, also known as the exporter, is the originator of the goods being shipped. They are typically the seller in a transaction, responsible for preparing

and packaging the goods for delivery to the consignee or buyer in another country. While the seller is often the shipper, this is not always the case. In some instances, the buyer may take on the role of the shipper, particularly under certain Incoterms. Regardless of who assumes the role, the shipper's duties include:

Checking, packing, marking, and preparing the goods for shipment.
Obtaining necessary export and import licenses.
Handling customs clearance requirements at the origin and destination ports.
Arranging transportation for the goods.
Consignor: Sending Goods Safely on Their Journey
The consignor, sometimes referred to as the shipper, is the party responsible for sending the goods in a shipment. This could be the owner of the goods or a third-party shipper contracted to handle the shipping process. The consignor ensures that the goods are properly packaged, labeled, and accompanied by all required shipping documents. They may also provide special instructions to carriers regarding the handling of the shipment, such as requests for delicate handling or special precautions.

Consignee: Receiving the Goods with Open Arms
In contrast to the shipper, the consignee is the recipient of the goods. Typically the buyer or owner of the goods, the consignee is the party to whom the shipper must deliver the goods. While the consignee is often the buyer, they can also be an agent, employee, or bank. The consignee's details are recorded in the Bill of Lading, a crucial document for customs clearance. Depending on the destination country's regulations, the consignee may be required to be physically present to receive the shipment at the port of arrival or container freight station.

Notify Party: Keeping Everyone in the Loop
The notify party is the designated contact person to be notified when the shipment arrives at the destination port or airport. This individual may be the buyer, consignee, shipping agent, or another interested party named in the shipping documents. While typically the consignee is notified of the shipment's arrival, a separate notify party is designated if necessary. They are responsible for coordinating customs clearance procedures at the destination and ensuring the smooth arrival of the goods.