Arrival Notice: Streamlining the Process of What Comes When, Where & To Whom!

Arrival Notice: Streamlining the Process of What Comes When, Where & To Whom!

Have you received an arrival notice document before? If this is your first time, welcome on board.

International shipping requires efficiency in a timely manner. There are many parties involved in one single shipment. Therefore, some documents are required in order to make this process go smoothly. Arrival notice is one of the essential documents used in such transportation.

Mostly, arrival notices are sent by cargo airlines and ocean carriers and are common in both air freight and sea freight transport modes. Understanding how to read an arrival notice can help you verify if all information your freight forwarding company sends to you is correct or if you are being trapped with fake information.

We hope this blog will help you understand the essential parts of an arrival notice, its contribution to the overall shipment planning process, and identify the keywords and what to look for in an arrival notice.


An arrival notice is sent to you (importer) by your freight forwarder, a carrier, or an agent that gives you all the information you need for your shipment. It is a document that appears when importing your cargo. This is an essential document that is required when you pick up the cargo.

Arrival notice is often abbreviated as “A/N.” The shipping company issues it before the cargo arrives in the importing country. Once the importer receives the arrival notice, it can proceed with preparations to pick up the shipment. Basically, the forwarder will perform the pickup operations on behalf of the importer.

The forwarder, without mistakes, must handle this pickup process quickly so that the cargo can be delivered to the importer as soon as possible. If you do not understand the contents of the arrival notice well, you may end up causing unnecessary problems in the process of picking up the cargo.


There are several different formats of arrival notices out there. However, the information in it is pretty standard. We will explain the role of the arrival notice and the process of picking up the cargo.

The three prominent roles of arrival notice are as follows

  1. Billing Statements
  2. Notification of Port Arrival Information
  3. Free time

The forwarder confirms the above three points and prepares to pick up the shipment. Let’s look at each of them in detail.

  1. Billing Statements

The statement is often found at the bottom of the arrival notice, along with the ocean freight charges. Major expense items are as follows

  1. Ocean Freight (O/F)
  2. Technical Handling Charges (THC)
  3. Delivery Order Fee (D/O)
  4. Documentation Fee (Doc Fee)
  5. Bunker Adjustment Factor (BAF)
  6. Currency Adjustment Factor (CAF)
  • As listed in Incoterms, the importer bears the Ocean Freight costs such as EXW, FAS, FCA, and FOB.
  • Technical Handling Charges include unloading and work in a bonded area. There will be additional charges if the cargo is LCL.
  • Delivery Order Fee is the fee for having the shipping company issue a deal required for picking up the imported cargo.
  • Doc Fee is the one for having the shipping company issue BL and other shipping documents.
  • In addition, surcharges, such as BAF and CAF, vary depending on fuel and exchange rates. In most cases, the shipping company will notify you in advance of such surcharges. If they fail to do so, you should check with the shipping company at the earliest.
  1. Notification of Port Arrival Information

Before the arrival of your freight, you will get an arrival notice. If you have received the same, it means that the cargo ship will arrive at the port shortly. You should check the CY or CFS destination to ensure prompt pickup operation.

There are several bonded areas in large ports. Thus there is a possibility that you may accidentally tell the shipping company a different delivery destination. It causes inconvenience not only to the delivery company but also adds to the delivery fee for the detour, and in the worst case, you may not be able to pick it up on the day of arrival.

  1. Freetime

The term ‘free time’ here refers to the time during which the imported cargo can be stored free of charge in the bonded warehouse of the port.

Generally, the free storage period is around one week, but each shipping company has a different period. Nevertheless, once the free time is over, a demurrage access storage fee will be charged. Hence, get all the details before your cargo arrives at the port.


Are we done with the roles of an arrival notice? Now we shall understand the process after the arrival notice is issued.

  • Arrival notice will be notified to the people listed in the notify party section of BL. However, we shall look from the perspective of a forwarder.
  • Arrival notice will be sent to the forwarder by email or fax so that they would confirm the arrival schedule and delivery address. All these details will be sent to the importer as a prompt notification.
  • The forwarder will check the billing information and pay the shipping company. The payment section is a crucial stage as there might be extra charges. In such cases, contact the shipping company and ask them to correct or pay it once and offset it on the next transfer.
  • Along with other details, payment methods will also be listed on the arrival notice. Most payments are made by wire transfer to a designated account, but card payments have also been introduced recently.
  • Once the shipping company confirms the payment, they will issue a D/O. D/O is an abbreviation for “delivery order,” a document issued by the shipping company which is necessary when you pick up cargo in the bonded area of CY (Container Yard) or CFS (Container Freight Station).
  • The forwarder will pass D/O to the shipping company after receiving the import permit from customs. The shipping company will then successfully pick up the cargo in the bonded warehouse and deliver it to the destination specified by the importer.

The above is the process of picking up cargo using arrival notice. It’s not difficult as long as you understand what you need to remember.


Arrival notice usually contains all relevant information about a shipment. Find the specific details in an arrival notice below.

  • Details of the shipper or exporter, or seller.
  • Particulars of the consignee or importer, or buyer.
  • The customs broker or freight forwarder details are generally under the “notify party” section.
  • Identification numbers of Bill of Lading, Sea Waybill, or Air Waybill.
  • Information about the vessel/flight transporting the cargo.
  • Description of the entire cargo.
  • The container number or the ULD number.
  • Estimated Time of Arrival (ETA)
  • Actual Time of Arrival (ATA)
  • Port of loading/Origin airport
  • Port of discharge/Destination airport
  • Place of receipt
  • Delivery Location
  • Cargo pickup location
  • Freight terms
  • Freight charges

The above contents are standard in an arrival notice, yet there is a possibility that it may differ a bit from what you receive.


Besides its primary duties, the arrival notice plays a vital role in shipping. It is important because there is every chance of losing your cargo without the arrival notice. Find some more specific points about the importance of arrival notice:

  • It alerts the consignee to receive the cargo by providing a more accurate time and location of arrival.
  • The document pushes the importer to plan for resourcing and ready equipment accordingly.
  • It helps the importer to allocate the payment processes for destination charges.
  • It assists the customs broker in filing the import entry and other permission to satisfy local regulations.
  • It helps the importer to allocate drivers or movers in advance.
  • It supports the mover in coordinating the receiving schedule of the consignee.

All this information is crucial to ensure easy and smooth delivery of cargo. 


Finally, we are through with understanding the details of the arrival notice. And, we would like to pose a question to you. Have you ever thought of a one-stop solution for all your forwarding operations, including arrival notice?

An Arrival notice is an important document issued by the shipping company on the import side. When you receive it, make sure to process it as soon as possible. Otherwise, as we mentioned above, importing your cargo will be affected by unnecessary delays.

FOS Desk is your ultimate companion for logistics BPO services that helps you prepare all the documents required for international shipping and freight forwarding. Having professionals who are experienced with over 20 years in the logistics industry and supply chain management, we can serve you well and make your life easier. Why wait? Make FOS Desk your partner for logistics BPO services!

Please comment below if you have any queries, and we will get back to you ASAP!

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