The documentation can be
divided into three types:
documents. Documents prepared by the exporter, detailing
the goods, the terms of the transaction and shipping
instructions. It includes:
(Single Administrative Document) – It is used to meet requirements from customs and it is
only required when trading with countries outsied EU.
Invoices: Commercial Invoice, Proforma
Invoice – prepared by the exporter when
the importing country has no specific requirement. It is based on the contract
of sale (Purchase Order) and is the basis for the whole
transaction. It should clearly show the breakdown: costs of goods, freight
costs and insurance costs. There should be also information stating the country
of origin, Invoice Reference Number, full
details of the consignor and consignee,
accurate description of the goods, with their tariff classification,
quantities, price per unit, number of packages, number of pieces in each
package, weight and dimensions of the shipment, packing marks and numbers, the
Incoterms, modes of payments, transport used, the motive for export: sales,
samples, repair or processing, dates of billing and shipping
Packing lists – should contain information regarding the packages but pricing is not required.
Important details to be mentioned are: Name and contact details of the
exporter and the importer, details of the carrier, description and quantity of the goods,
gross weight (total weight), tare weight (weight of the packaging only) and net weight
(weight of the goods only), number and type of packages, measurements/dimensions of each
package, contents of each pallet or box.
Shipper’s Letter of Instruction – This document gives the forwarder the authorisation to act as the exporter’s agent for export
control and customs purposes. (Export Edge, Unit 9, 2018)
2)Transport documents: Bills of
A bill of is a
document issued by a carrier (or his agent) to acknowledge
receipt of cargo for shipment and its main purpose
is to ensure that exporters receive payment and importers receive the merchandise.
It must be transferable, and serves
three main functions:
it is a conclusive
receipt, i.e. an acknowledgement that the goods have been loaded;and
it contains or
evidence the terms of the contract of carriage; and
serves as a document of title to the goods.
Details that the BL should contain: The
parties involved (shipper, consignee and notify party), ports/depots of loading
and discharge, vessel name/s and voyage number, number of original Bills: usually 2 or 3 are issued, received
and/or shipped dates, brief description of goods, gross and net weight, cubic
measurement, type and number of packages, marks and numbers, reference to
payment of freight, signature on the original Bills of the Ship’s Master.
To support air
shipments, there is the Air Waybill (AWB).
To sum up, the main pieces of information required for an AWB are: shippers and consignees name and address, carriers or agents IATA code, airport of departure and
airport of destination, Handling information
(In this box, special instructions are provided on dangerous goods, live
animals, special handling or temperature), declared value of the goods.
3) Compliance documents: certificates of
origin, certificate of conformity.
Certificates of Origin are intended solely
to prove the origin of goods in order to satisfy customs or trade
requirements. “Certificates of Origin should only be issued when they are
actually needed, for example, in the following circumstances;
To meet customs requirements in the
The customer/buyer/importer (consignee)
To meet ‘quota’ or statistical requirements
imposed by the importing country
To comply with the banking or trade finance
requirements / letters of credit” , (Chambers Ireland, 2018).
The certificate of conformity is to proof that the goods
comply with the technical regulations and standards of the country of import.
It is issued following physical inspection of the shipment and
for customs clearance – (Export Edge, 2018)