What Are the Different Shipping Documents Needed by Shipping Companies?
In the process of shipping from one country to the other, there are specific requirements and documents that you should have before transporting your cargo.
Often we get confused with the term bill of lading, arrival notice, and a letter of credit. Many of the documents are mandatory for the process of shipping. Some of them are highly dependent on the type of cargo you are trying to ship and the location where it has to be delivered.
You need to understand the documents required for the shipment before you start the process.
On the other hand, when you purchase certain shipment services, you should ask for the required documents. In this way, you will make the shipping process more accessible. Usually, this part will be handled by your freight forwarder but it’s harmless to know what they require and why are they needed, the more you know the more you can control the process.
Needless to say, in ERA we take care of all the documents and if you don’t want you won’t be bothered by them, also with our Door-to-Door (DDP) service, shipping, handling the shipping documents, pick up and delivery all are included without you worrying about it, contact us and get your free quote.
What Are the Important Shipping Documents Required?
Some of the most crucial shipping documents required for the process of shipping are stated below such as:
The Proforma Invoice
In a typical International export exchange, everything starts when we need an inquiry about the products we would like to buy, The quote given to us in the first step is the proforma invoice, this shipping document only shows the product price and doesn’t mean that you will buy it, but it is valid enough that can be used for opening a letter of credit or apply for the proper import licenses.
The proforma Invoice will specify the buyer and seller, a detailed description of goods, the price, the payment term of sales, Incoterm, Delivery details, and the currency used in the deal.
The Commercial Invoice
A commercial invoice is considered one of the most important documents you require for shipping. A commercial invoice is issued by the sellers or the one exporting the goods to the buyer. Remember that a commercial invoice is needed in the process of customs clearance. It is very similar to Proforma Invoice plus the details of the entire import transaction.
A packing list is described to be an essential shipping document that is needed for the transportation of goods internationally.
It is considered a detailed overview of the cargo, which is mentioned right on the commercial invoice discussed earlier.
The packing list also includes specific information on how the shipment process has been packed, along with some marks and numbers that are being noted on the exterior of the shipment boxes.
Export and Import Custom Declaration
It is described to be a list of clarification that has details of the goods that are being imported or exported. It should be mentioned that it is especially very important when it comes to shipping freight that is International.
It describes the legal terms, the customs declaration that a person shows, and the place that the goods are under a given procedure. The export and import Customs declaration are mainly used for the clearance of the customs and to calculate the duties and taxes that apply to the cargo.
It has been stated that this Customs declaration is prepared mainly by the customs broker with the use of invoice and packing list.
Bill of Lading as well as Sea Waybill
It is considered to be a detailed document that the receiver will receive. It is considered to be the transportation contract where all the important details are mentioned regarding the shipment in it.
It is considered a relevant part of the ocean freight and acts as proof that the courier has received the shipped goods from the shipper safe and sound.
The party holding this particular document is the party that simply controls the cargo. It should be mentioned that a sea waybill is a contract as well, which is not required for the delivery of cargo, and it will be only delivered as a cargo receipt.
Keep in mind that the sea waybill is not negotiable, and you cannot assign it to any third party.
Production, Vessel Certificate
Another important shipment document. It depends highly on the type of cargo you ship, and for that, you will be asked for the following certificate searches:
A production certificate is a certificate related to the material or the type of production using a sustainable resource, and it is an approved method.
It is highly required to permit the ship cargo in and out of the region where there are specific regulations related to the production process.
A vessel certificate is a type of certificate used to verify the ownership of the vessel. It provides some details like the age and maintenance of the vessel. This certificate is mainly requested as a part of the requirement when it comes to the letter of credit.
Air and Rail Waybill
It depends on the model of the transport, and hence you will get an air or rail waybill. The air waybill is described to be a non-negotiable document that is mainly issued by the air carrier as an explicit acknowledgment of the positions that are being shipped.
This is also known to be a type of unique bill of lading, and there is less protection than the bill of lading.
The simple document destination where the goods are to be shipped and the address along with the contact information for the consignor and the consignee.
The rail waybill, on the other hand, is another document that is used for the process of shipment through a railway, and the agent is preparing the document once he receives the instructions from the shipper.
It is an important document when it comes to the process of shipping.
The arrival document has the potential of informing that the cargo has arrived at the final destination. It includes certain details like the commodity description, the country of export, sailing details. The charges are related to the customs.
It is merely issued by the courier destination agent of the ocean freight mainly to the consignee and any other party that can be notified about the bill of lading.
Certificate of Origin
It is an essential document as it is required on a regular basis. The document mainly contains information about the product that is being shipped and its destination.
It also helps to determine whether the goods are eligible for the process of importing and if they are subject to duties.
Letter of Credit
This type of letter of credit is considered a primary means of payment, and it is for the transaction done on an international trade basis.
The document is known to be a promise by the bank on behalf of the buyer to the seller and the specified amount that they agreed on a currency.
Letter of credit needs the seller to submit the required documents at the predetermined deadline. It includes some information like the description, the quantity of the goods that are being shipped, the technical descriptions, and finally, the documentary requirements.
After knowing the documents you require for the process of shipping, now let us focus on how the shipping document process is done.
The Steps for Shipping Document Process
The first and foremost step is receiving an inquiry. In this state, the documentation process is done when someone inquires about buying the product you offer. When there is a potential buyer, the buyer expresses his interests and often sends a letter of inquiry and outlines the terms and conditions along with a request in either formal or informal quote.
The Second step is screening the potential buyers and the countries.
Once you receive the inquiry from the buyers, now it’s time to screen the potential ones from them along with their countries. The screening process can be done manually, and you can screen the names and the names of the companies along with their address. The process can be done with chicken every score that the government publishes. You can also automate the process with the help of shipping solutions software quickly and flexibly.
The third step is providing a proforma invoice. It is a step that is done right after screening the potential buyers. It is required to provide the buyer with an invoice for the transaction process.
The proforma invoice is considered to be the first impression that you will make on your buyers, as we know the first impression is the last one.
In case the proforma invoice results in a particular order, then the final commercial invoice has the potential to close the proforma invoice. So this means that the costs are included in the quotation, and the firm cannot go beyond the terms outlined in the letter.
Finalizing this sale is the third process where do buyers accept or reject the proposal you provide them. It is a part of the acceptance process, and they will most likely desire to negotiate all the terms and the conditions of the sale.
The process will result in a contract which will be either verbal or written. Make sure you take care of all the essential details before you ship any goods to the destination for the receiver.
Preparation of The Goods and The Shipping Documents
The process is finalized, and the sale and the goods are prepared to be exported. You are required to prepare a shipping document.
In your shipping document, you should include a commercial invoice, packing list, certificate of origin, letter of instruction, bills of lading, as mentioned earlier.
Run a restricted screening. The screening process should be done again before the goods are being shipped for export. It is done to make sure that nothing has changed.
On a final note, we should add that you should not forget to prepare all the shipping documents when you’re planning and exporting your goods. Make sure to keep a copy of all the records along with the correspondence throughout the entire process of the sale, including all the phone calls, emails, and so on.
As you’ve noticed the preparation of shipping documents can be a bit of a headache, here in ERA we offer Door-to-Door (DDP) service to many countries worldwide, which means we take care of all the steps without you needing to worry about the documents or customs, etc.
Contact ERA sales team now and get your free quote, We’re available 24/7 and ready to answer your question 🙂
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