Arrival Notice

An Arrival Notice, often also referred to as Cargo Arrival Notice, AN, or CAN, is a document issued by the carrier or freight forwarder in the shipping industry. Its primary role is to inform relevant parties about the status of a cargo shipment. This notice is significant for customs clearance purposes, truckers,  drayage services, consignees, and the overall cargo handling process, as it provides essential details about the shipment’s arrival. 

Although the Arrival Notice is essential for smooth logistics and supply chain management, it is not a legally mandated document. It is, however, important to remember that the Arrival Notice will make it possible to coordinate the efforts involved in handling and processing the cargo efficiently and effectively for both air and sea freight operations, thus preventing unnecessary delays and expenses.


Content of Arrival Notice Form and Structure

While there is no standardized format for an Arrival Notice, the notice usually contains vital information for the smooth handling and receipt of the shipment.

The following is an example of what may be included in an Arrival Notice:

  • Carrier/Freight Forwarder Contact Details: Essential for any necessary communication or coordination regarding the shipment.
  • Shipper Contact Detail: This is important for contact and verification purposes.
  • Buyer or Consignee Contact Detail: Necessary for notifying the receiving party and coordinating delivery.
  • Notify Party Details: Includes other relevant parties who must be informed about the cargo’s arrival, such as truckers, handlers, and customs brokers.
  • AWB, SWB, BoL Number: These are critical identifiers of the shipment, be it an Airway Bill (AWB), Seaway Bill (SWB), or Bill of Lading (BoL).
  • Flight or Ship Details: Provide specific information about the vessel or aircraft transporting the cargo.
  • Container Number: Helps identify and track the specific container used for the shipment.
  • Port of Loading and Port of Discharge: Indicate the origin and destination of the shipment, which are crucial for tracking its journey.
  • Cargo Details: Including the content, number of items, weight, and description of the cargo, these details are vital for handling and customs purposes.
  • ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival): As mentioned in the Bill of Lading, it gives an estimated arrival time of the shipment.
  • ATA (Actual Time of Arrival): Provides the most current and accurate shipment arrival time.
  • Place of Delivery: Indicates the final destination where the freight will be delivered.


Frequently Asked Questions Regarding the Arrival Notice


What is the Importance of Arrival Notice?

In international shipping, Arrival Notices play an important role in maintaining transparency and promoting effective communication among all parties involved. These notices serve as valuable alerts, providing timely information about the status and timing of incoming shipments. This allows importers, freight forwarders, and other relevant parties to synchronize their preparations and actions in a timely manner. 

This coordination is essential, as it not only streamlines the process of receiving and processing cargo but also ensures that every step, from customs clearance to final delivery, is managed with greater efficiency and accuracy. 

In other words, the effective use of Arrival Notices goes beyond a procedural necessity. It is a strategic tool that enhances the efficiency and reliability of the supply chain.


When Will I Receive an Arrival Notice?

The timing for issuing an Arrival Notice can vary depending on the mode of transport:

Ocean Freight Arrival Notice

In ocean freight, while it is typically sent 3-5 days before the cargo arrives at the designated seaport, there are instances where it may be issued on the same day or just a day before the cargo’s arrival due to varying transit times and port operations. 

Air Freight Arrival Notice

For air freight, given the shorter transit times, the notice is often issued either upon or shortly after the cargo arrives at the airport.


What Should I Do If I Receive an Arrival Notice?

For importers, receiving an Arrival Notice signals that their goods are approaching the designated port. This notice is a key indicator to start preparations for the next steps in the logistics process, including customs clearance and arranging for the onward journey of the shipment. It’s a cue to be proactive in managing the final stages of the import, ensuring a smooth transition of the goods to their final destination.

If you’re relying on a freight forwarding company to handle all your shipping needs, an Arrival Notice may indicate that your shipment is about to arrive and that your freight forwarding company will handle all the necessary arrangements for you to receive your cargo.


Who is the Consignee and the Notify in the Arrival Notice?

The consignee is the person or entity signed on the Bill of Lading as the receiver of goods, usually the buyer or importer. The Notify party could be any other entity that will need to handle the cargo on its way to its final destination, such as truckers and customs brokers. Usually, both the consignee and the notify party will receive the Arrival Notice.


Who Pays for the Arrival Notice?

The responsibility of sending the Arrival Notice to the consignee or their designated agent falls on the carrier or shipping line. However, the cost associated with sending this notice may be included in the overall shipping charges or passed on to the consignee as a separate fee. The specific terms and conditions of the shipping contract will determine who bears the cost of the Arrival Notice.


How to Reference Arrival Notice?

As there isn’t a set form for Arrival Notices, they may be referred to as Cargo Arrival Notices, Notice of Arrival, or abbreviated as AR or CAR.


Can I Modify the Information in an Arrival Notice?

Generally, the information included in the Arrival Notice is provided by the carrier or freight forwarder and should be accurate. However, if you find any discrepancies or need to make specific adjustments, be sure to communicate with the relevant parties, such as your carrier or your freight forwarder, so that they can address any concerns that you may have.


What is the Difference Between BOL and Arrival Notice?

Unlike the Bill of Lading, the Arrival Notice is not a mandatory legal document. Regardless, it is an essential document mainly because it provides the most accurate time of cargo arrival. 


Is an Arrival Notice a Mandatory Document in Shipping? 

No, an Arrival Notice is not a mandatory document in shipping. However, according to best practices, it is a document that is commonly used by carriers and freight forwarders to inform relevant parties about the arrival of a cargo shipment. Therefore, even though it is not legally required, the Arrival Notice plays a vital role in coordinating logistics, customs clearance, and cargo handling efficiently. It helps to prevent unnecessary delays and expenses by providing timely information to all parties involved in the shipping process.


What Should I Do if I Don’t Receive an Arrival Notice?

In light of the fact that the Arrival Notice is not a mandatory document, it is possible that you may not receive one. However, since this is a common practice, if you are expecting a shipment and haven’t received an Arrival Notice within the expected timeframe, you may want to reach out to the carrier or your freight forwarder in order to find out about the status of the notice and the shipment. 


What Is My Role as the Exporter Regarding the Arrival Notice?

As the exporter, ensuring a seamless shipping process is crucial to the success of your export transaction. Your involvement in the shipping process and, consequently, the Arrival Notice may vary depending on  agreed-upon Incoterms specified in the sales contract. 

Under certain Incoterms, you transfer responsibility to the buyer at your premises or, for example, at the port of origin, while under other Incoterms, you may assume full responsibility for arranging the carrier. 

It is the carrier’s responsibility to issue the Arrival Notice. However, in the event that the carrier acts on your behalf, there could be circumstances where there is a greater necessity to verify that the Arrival Notice was sent and that all aspects of the shipping operation are in order.


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