Arrival Notice

What is an arrival notice?

An arrival notice is a message that the agent, shipping carrier, or ocean freight forwarder sends to the shipment recipients to notify them about the arrival date of a shipment to its destination location.

Typically, a freight arrival notice will include contact information, a description of the goods received, the number of units that have arrived, and any charges to be settled at pickup. The structure of an arrival notice depends on the requirements put in place by the port where the goods are received, as well as any U.S. laws (or U.S. customs) the port must comply with.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the purpose of an arrival notice?

    The purpose of an arrival of notice is to inform relevant parties that the goods have arrived at the port and are awaiting pickup. This type of notification is prepared by a carrier or agent to let the consignee know that the container has arrived at its destination port. The parties that are notified about the arrival are usually listed as consignees in the bill of lading. Moreover, the arrival notice gives the consignee an opportunity to begin arranging all the necessary clearance and pickup procedures that happen after the shipment’s arrival. 

  • Is arrival notice the same as bill of lading?

    While arrival notice and bill of lading are not the same thing, the concerning parties — those being notified about the time of arrival — are generally listed as consignees in the original bill of lading. With that said, the bill of lading is a legal document that a shipping company, ocean freight carrier, or third-party logistics provider can create for international trade. 

    The carrier usually issues a BOL to the shipper, and includes details about the type of cargo, the number of goods in the shipment, the port of discharge, and the destination country for the freight. In that way, the BOL guards both the importer and the exporter from liability.

  • What is included on arrival notice forms?

    An arrival notice is a shipping document issued by the freight carrier, and is sent out three to five days before the shipment’s ETA. Arrival notice forms should provide a detailed account of incoterms, arrival ports, and related tariffs, as well as documentation required for customs clearance and pickup of international shipments. Arrival notice forms must match what’s been manifested by the customs broker (if the shipment hopes to reach its port without any difficulty).

  • What is ETA and ETS in shipping?

    ETA is an abbreviation for estimated time of arrival. ETS is an abbreviation for estimated time of sailing, and in ecommerce refers to cargo freight shipped by sea.