Guide: The good product description for customs handling

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Camilla Jacobsen
by Camilla Jacobsen 03/02/2022

The key to hassle-free customs handling is clear information and a description of the goods you are shipping. Read more here on how to create a good product description.

Guide: The good product description for customs handling

When you export and/or import goods from abroad, you need to have control over your customs documents.

This way, you ensure that customs processing proceeds as smoothly and quickly as possible.

As part of your customs documents, you need to have a good product description.

Customs authorities around the world are increasingly demanding clear and accurate product descriptions to be able to carry out the proper security checks.

We will guide you through this in the next sections.

Get to grips with other customs rules and clearance procedures in our customs guide.

What is a product description?

A product description is, as the name indicates, a detailed and complete description of the goods you are selling.

It specifies what your goods are, what they are made of, and for what purpose the goods are used. Furthermore, a product description provides the customs authorities with the information they need when your goods are entering or leaving a country.

The authorities will use the product description as a means to identify prohibited/restricted goods and perform risk profiling.

You must provide a product description on all shipping documents, such as a waybill, commercial invoice, or proforma invoice.

Additionally, you need to specify the tariff code, weight, value, quantity, and country code. You can find the tariff code on

Dos and Don’ts: How to create a good product description

When creating a product description, you should ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What type of goods are involved?
  2. What are they made of?
  3. What are they intended to be used for?

The description mustn’t be vague. Shipments with vague descriptions of their contents can be held or delayed by customs authorities.

An accurate and complete product description is the best way to ensure that your shipment doesn’t get stuck in customs.

Therefore, you should specify your goods as much as possible. See the examples here:

A good product description

Manage your customs documents with Shipmondo

With a free Shipmondo account, you can easily manage your customs documents.

If you’re shipping with carriers like PostNord and DHL Express, you’ll automatically be prompted to fill out these documents electronically when creating the shipment - ensuring that you include all the correct customs documents.

To make the process even smoother, you can automate the completion of customs documents with Shipmondo.

You can also go paperless with UPS, FedEx, DHL Express, and GEODIS, sending your customs documents electronically to the relevant authorities, thereby achieving faster delivery times and a more efficient workflow.

At the same time, it’s a much more eco-friendly alternative!

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