Shipping is the process of sending goods from one place to another by means of airplanes, trains, through ships called cargo freights. In these processes, the goods travel long distances from one territory to another.
Specifically, in the case of cargo freights and airplanes, products are shipped even outside the country using them. This means coming in contact with the trade policies of both the sender and receiver nation. And making sure that none of the laws are broken by completing the shipping assignment.
Therefore what the owners need, are proper international shipping documents so that the cargo that’s being shipped is not misplaced, damaged, or confiscated by any government officials at the checkpoints, etc.
To ensure all the important documents are prepared by the sellers before shipping, below is a list of a few essential international shipping documents must for smooth sailing.
Bill of Lading
If the goods are being shipped by the sellers using a freight liner, the bill of lading is a must for any shipment.
Officially mandated by the incoterms 2020 this is a legal contract between the seller and the cargo owners. This international shipping document is issued by the seller and acts as a receipt for the cargo on the ship. Both the importer and exporter details must also be mentioned in this Bill of lading.
This document needs to be produced by the recipient to the cargo owners for taking back their products.
This is a really important international shipping document as even the bill of lading is made based on the data provided here. The packaging list contains details of every container, its weight and volume, and monetary value.
All these carefully curated data are used to speed up the process of checking at customs clearance of other countries. In the case of a mishap, the officials refer to this particular list to identify the suspicious package and cause minimum damage to the whole cargo. Also, it acts as proof of the products sent to the buyer in case of a dispute.
Whenever a product is transferred from one country to another a proof of purchase is expected to be produced by the customs of the importing country to prove the ownership of the product. This can be done by an invoice, a commercial invoice to be specific.
Unlike a standard invoice, a commercial invoice is like the master copy of all international shipping documents in a single document. Officials will find the name of the products in the cargo, buyers, sellers, freight forwarders, banks involved, and every other organization taking part in the transactions.
It is mandatory that the data on the commercial invoice tallies with the packaging list. The main aim of the commercial invoice is to show proof of ownership and payments.
Certificate of Origin
The certificate of origin according to the definition issued by the international chamber of commerce is an important international shipping document that provides a declaration of the goods being transported originating in a particular country by some manufacturers.
In this way, the certificate gives the product a country of origin. This helps the customs officers of all other countries categorize the products and calculate the different taxes added on them for the specified country.
Letter of credit
This is a formal binding agreement between the buyers and sellers involved in international shipping. In fact, this is one of the safest modes of payment.
Due to numerous delays and long duration of the shipments making payments can be difficult. With the Letter of credit, the buyers discuss the different clauses and set up a document agreed by the sellers. After the goods have been successfully shipped the sellers use the documents generated for successful shipping to get the payment from the banks on the basis of the letter of credit.
These are some of the most vital international shipping documents that help traders ensure good trading practices all around the world.