What Is a Goods Receipt?

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  • Written By: Renee Booker
  • Edited By: E. E. Hubbard
  • Last Modified Date: 09 November 2019
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When a warehouse, port of entry, or other stopping point takes possession of merchandise, they often utilize a goods receipt to acknowledge receipt of the merchandise. In the shipping, trucking, or airfreight industry, bulk shipments of goods or merchandise often make numerous stops before they reach their final destination. In order to keep an accurate track of the packages, containers, or boxes, each stop along the way may be required to sign a goods receipt so that the owner of the merchandise knows where it is at all times and can account for any missing or damages merchandise.

In the modern international economy, merchandise is frequently shipped halfway around the world by the time it reaches its final destination. A producer in China may ship thousands of items a day to consumers in America, or vice versa. Goods and supplies may be moved by land, sea, or air, or a combination of the three, along their way to the ultimate consumer. Understandably, the producer, as well as the purchaser, has a need to know where the goods are at all times in the event of a discrepancy. For this reason, a goods receipt is frequently signed each time the goods stop along the way.


The first stop for goods that are being shipped is frequently a shipyard, airline terminal, or truck terminal. At this point, a goods receipt may be signed to acknowledge that the goods have been accepted by the carrier who is responsible for transporting the goods to their final destination. As a rule, a goods receipt will include the type and quantity of the goods being transported, the date, and a declared value.

If the goods are being transported out of the country, then they will often need to pass through customs when they enter another country. In many cases, the customs officials temporarily take possession of the goods to make sure that they comply with the customs laws and regulations before continuing their journey. The customs officials may also sign a goods receipt to acknowledge possession of the goods.

When the goods reach their final destination, it is common for the recipient to also sign a goods receipt. Clearly, under ideal circumstances, the original receipt signed for when the goods left the producer will match the receipt signed for when they reach their destination. In the event of a discrepancy, the receipts created and signed for during transit should help the producer to determine what happened to the missing or damaged goods.


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