Export documents are essential for the smooth functioning of the entire export process. The process can come to a halt if there are any issues with the documents, such as missing information, mistakes or missing documents. Such problems can result in the delay, confiscation or destruction of the exporter’s goods.
There are various types of documents that come into play at different stages of the export process. Some common documents include pro forma invoices, purchase orders, sales contracts and commercial invoices. These documents detail the agreement between the buyer and seller. Other documents, such as health certificates, technical certificates, pre-shipment inspection certificates, way certificates, fumigation certificates and certificates of origin, describe the goods and certify that they comply with certain requirements.
With that in mind, here are 11 standard shipping documents for export that you need to understand in order to be successful.
- Proforma Invoice
- Commercial Invoice
- Packing List
- Certificates of Origin
- Certificate of Free Sale
- Shipper’s Letter of Instruction
- (Inland\Ocean) Bill of Lading
- Air Waybill
- Dangerous Goods Forms
- Bank Draft
Transport documents, such as :
Bills of lading, serve as a contract of carriage between the shipper (i.e. the exporter) and the carrier.
Port documents such as
Customs declarations and exchange control documents are mandatory to ship the goods out of the country.
Payment documents, such as:
Letters of credit, bills of exchange, collection instructions and payment guarantees, are necessary to get paid.
The UNECE, an organization based in Geneva, deals with the standardization of document formats to make it easier to work with documents across borders. The system they have designed is called the UN Layout Key, which facilitates the easy transfer of information from one document to another.