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How should I describe the content of my package?

The key to smooth shipping is providing clear and accurate information on every shipping document. This includes detailing the type of goods you’re shipping correctly – follow our guide on how to provide a goods description here.

What is a goods description?

It’s a detailed description of the goods you’re shipping. It states what your goods are, what they’re made of and what they’re used for. You need to provide a goods description on all shipping documents like the air waybill and commercial invoice. You should also include it on any other additional documents required by the authorities.

A clear description gives customs authorities the information they need to access taxes and duties. It’s also necessary to check if your goods are allowed to enter the country.

What details do I need to provide?

Ask yourself these questions when describing your goods:

  • What are the goods?
  • What are they made of?
  • What are they used for?

The description should be specific, not vague. If the package contains branded items, include the brand and model number along with the description. And don’t just rely on the company product code to describe the goods. Where possible you should also include a harmonised code for your product (s) to help with the identification process.

What is a good and bad example?


Nuts                                                  Hexagonal aluminium bicycle nut

What happens if I write a vague goods description?

Shipments with vague descriptions of their contents can be held or delayed by customs. That’s because they want more information on the goods you’re shipping.

An accurate goods description is the best way to ensure your package doesn’t get stuck in customs.

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This Q&A is provided for information only and the answers do not have a contractual value. For additional information, you can refer to FedEx Conditions of Carriage for EMEA available at

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