Warehouse Receipt (WR)


A Warehouse Receipt (WR) is a document most commonly issued by a Warehouse keeper, acknowledging the receipt of goods placed in a Warehouse. It can also be used as a tool for financing and commodity trading, and can in certain cases also be used as collateral.


The creator or sender of the document is most commonly the Warehouse Keeper or Owner of the Warehouse in which the goods are stored, but in certain cases a contractual party such as a forwarder or transporter could also become a creator of the document.


The receiver of the WR is the Buyer or Seller who has requested the goods be deposited in the warehouse.

Legal Framework

The specific legal framework of the WR is determined by the national laws applicable in each country.

The FIATA Warehouse Receipt (FWR) is used in freight forwarders’ warehousing operations, and is a standard document mainly used at national/territorial level. It too is subject to individual countries’ laws, but there are also provisions regarding the activity of warehouse keepers in countries where forwarders use standard trading conditions.


It is difficult to estimate the number of WRs in circulation, however it is very widely used in the commodity and agriculture markets. There have been millions of copies of the FWR, used in freight forwarders’ warehousing operations, issued.

Key Standards

A FWR is used by Forwarders around the world and is a globally accepted document. It is adapted by each member country and is therefore issued as per the Standard Trading Conditions in each country.

Major Differences between Standards

There are no major differences in standards, as the documents are issued in accordance with regulations or laws applicable in each country.


Currently this document is being issued in a paper format, but individual organisations may also issue the same document in electronic format.

Key Data Elements & Definitions

  • Party: Supplier of the Goods; Depositor of the Goods; Warehouse Keeper; Warehouse Operator
  • Transport: Means of Transport
  • Documents: Insurance
  • Goods Identification Marks; Number and Kinds of Packages: Description of Goods; Condition that the Goods were Received in
  • Measure: Gross Weight of the Goods
  • Date: Date and Signature of the Issuance of the Document


Once digitalisation of the document is complete, greater awareness amongst trade actors of the digital WR can be achieved through either direct issuance from a treasury management system (TMS), software providers, or through a common platform. Marketability to financial companies would also prove important, since the WR is often used in commodity futures.

Document-Specific Challenges

The use of WR is limited in many developing countries because of institutional and structural shortcomings, among which the most prevalent are the following: lack of incentives for the development of a private storage industry owing to government intervention in agricultural markets ; lack of an appropriate legal, regulatory, and institutional environment to support a system of WR; and familiarity of the country’s commercial, including its banking, community with warehousing receipts.

  • Under-developed legal & regulatory environment
  • Raising awareness of digitalisation

Document Specific Solutions

  • Encourage the global adoption of the UNIDROIT Model Law on Warehouse Receipts once it is formally published
  • SDOs, especially FIATA, should promote usage of WR at a national level by advising governments on how to adapt global standards for national purposes
  • Increase familiarity of a country’s commercial community with WRs, and incentivise the development of a private storage industry