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Minggu, 14 Maret 2010

Understand export documentation

Compiling the correct export documentation, knowing where to send it, when and to whom speeds up the processing of transactions and builds confidence in the professionalism of your business.

Why documentation?

Key reasons for using documentation:
  • Describing cargo
  • Reducing delayed shipments and delivery
  • Customs clearance
  • Indicating ownership of goods for collection or in the event of a dispute
  • Obtaining payment

The type of documentation required often depends on the Incoterm (international code for delivery) used for the contract. A freight forwarder will usually assume responsibility for export documentation, although it is still a good idea to understand the different types and procedures.

Commercial documents

Commercial invoice - a bill for the goods, including product description, shipping marks, price, etc. The invoice must meet the requirements of customs authorities in the export market, as it used for making import duty assessments.

Pro forma invoice - used in advance of the commercial invoice, for instance, when an importer has to get an allocation of foreign exchange or an import licence.

Export Cargo Shipping Instruction (ECSI) - issued by the exporter to the forwarder or carrier, setting out the terms and conditions for the movement of goods and who is responsible.

Official documents

Single Administrative Document (SAD) - also known as the C88, it is required for exports, imports and goods transiting the EU.

Export licence - required for certain goods to be exported legally (eg drugs, chemicals, etc). It is the exporter's responsibility to ensure that a licence is obtained if necessary.

Certificate of origin (C/O) - a statement on the origin of the goods. It may be required in addition to the commercial invoice, and is available from Chambers of Commerce for goods of any origin.

Movement certificate - required where goods that qualify as EU originating goods are being exported from the EU to a country covered by EU trade agreements. These certificates ensure preferential tariff treatment.

Import licence - some countries may require import licences for certain or all goods. It is normally the customer's responsibility to comply with import procedures, but it makes sense for the exporter to confirm that they are doing so.

Inspection certificate - sometimes required by the importer's country to confirm that the shipped goods meet their specifications.

Transport documents

Export packing list - attached to the outside of the package to be shipped, this specifies the weight, volume and type of cargo.

Bill of lading - a contract between the owner of the goods and the carrier. It may describe the condition of the goods when transferred to the shipper, and it also serves as a document of title. There are two types:

  • Straight - non-negotiable, delivery to the named person in the bill
  • Shipper's order - negotiable, delivery to a designated person. It can be bought, sold or traded while goods are in transit (eg for use in letter of credit transactions, where the bank can release the title to the goods to the buyer when payment is received)

Sea waybill - used for sea freight, it serves the same purpose as the bill of lading except that it is not a document of title.

Air waybill - issued by an airline for airfreight, it is similar to the bill of lading but cannot serve as a document of title.

Dangerous goods note - required when shipping hazardous or potentially hazardous goods. The exporter must provide the transporter with full details of the goods including the official 'class' of danger to which they belong.

Standard shipping note - completed by the exporter, it is the receiving document for ports and container bases in the UK.

Insurance documents

Insurance policy - should cover goods for at least their full value (110% is common), and include details of quantity and route. Where necessary, it should also provide for time extensions and trans-shipments.

Certificate of insurance - certifies that insurance has been arranged for the goods being exported. It should detail the degree of protection, and list the policy number and all relevant details (eg dates, destinations, transport method, route, description of the cargo and value for which it is insured).



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