Export Documents for Shipping: Bill of Lading, Certificate of Origin, Packing List and other

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According to the International Chamber of Shipping, up to 11 billion tons of goods are exported via shipping services each year. Predictably, ocean freight includes an extensive document flow and any mistakes or inaccuracies with it may lead to severe delays and financial losses.

So, feeling confused at the start is ok, and we are here to help you understand the nuances of international shipping documentation. Whether you are a novice freight forwarder or a company that wants to ship your goods globally, let’s explore five crucial export documents you should get acquainted with.


International shipping may not always be fun, Source: ShipLilly

Before moving to the documentation itself, we would like to lead you through the basics of the international shipping process.

Also, we will mention the software systems that are used for document exchange. This will help you know more about how digital cloud-based solutions can help to automatically generate export documentation. As there is no need to mention these systems in each of the sections (because they work well for all types of shipping documents), we will mention them separately at the end of this blog post.

What is International Shipping: Workflow and Document Exchange

International shipping is the process of importing and exporting goods across borders of different countries that can happen via sea, air, and land routes. Air freight is faster and safer than sea and land options, but also a more expensive one.

We may single out four key players involved in the international shipping process:

  • Shippers (exporters, companies that own goods). These can be manufacturers, retailers, wholesalers etc.
  • Consignees (importers, businesses that buy goods)
  • Carriers (sea, land, and air transportation providers that physically move goods). These companies usually operate vessels that carry shipments, like cargo ships, planes, or trucks.
  • Freight Forwarders (intermediary between a shipper and a carrier). They take control over management of all logistic operations for each shipment. Also, they are the ones who make sure all documentation is perfectly correct to avoid any queries by the customs office.

It’s worth adding that quite often 3PLs (third-party logistics providers) and NVOCCs (non-vessel operating common carriers) get involved as well.

3PLs are companies that provide outsourced logistic services (like packing, storage, last-mile delivery, etc.) for 3rd party businesses. However, unlike freight forwarders that focus mainly on all documentation-related and transportational aspects, as well as custom clearance, 3PLs usually take control of the entire supply chain operations.

Non-vessel operating common carriers (NVOCCs) are ocean carriers that perform all operations of a carrier, but do not own vessels themselves. NVOCCs can be called logistic intermediaries that buy available space in containers and further sell this space or cargo to their customers.

Now, moving to international shipping, let’s discuss how it starts and what kind of documentation is involved at each of its steps?

export documents exchange visual

What documents are involved at each stage of the international shipping process

Application and contract signing. Usually (but not necessarily), it’s a shipper that contacts a freight forwarder to manage further transportation services. The first document here is a request for a quotation (RFQ) that enlists all the services the parties agreed upon.

We won’t examine RFQ in detail later in this post as it’s not required for every shipment. So the main thing for you to remember here is that RFQ is a document issued by a shipper to a freight forwarder who replies with a quote back to the exporter.

After all the details are settled, shipper and freight forwarder sign a contract of carriage that defines legal responsibilities between them.

Сargo pickup and export haulage. These steps of international shipping are managed by a freight forwarder from a carrier’s warehouse, factory etc. The goods are picked from the carrier’s facility and hauled to a freight forwarder’s premises and stay there before further handling begins.

After the cargo is picked, the next export document you deal with is a bill of lading (BOL) that is usually issued by a carrier to a freight forwarder. This legal document lists all information about the type and quantity of goods, its departure point and destination, etc.

Transportation of goods to the port of origin. The freight forwarder arranges inland haulage of cargo to the port of origin (or an airport for air shipping and rail station for inland shipping). As a rule, this happens before the custom clearance procedure. Still, other scenarios can happen as well.

Export customs clearance. Here, knowing all the requirements and regulations of different countries, a freight forwarder prepares and submits all export documentation. This includes a big set of documents such as the export declaration, export permit, commercial/proforma invoice, export packing list, insurance certificate etc. We will focus closely on all of them further in this post.

Handling cargo to the carrier. After the customs clearance is over, a freight forwarder arranges handling the goods to the carrier.

The document you encounter at this stage is a master bill of lading issued by the carrier or NVOCC to a freight forwarder. In case with air shipment, this can be an air waybill correspondingly. The carrier then sends the originals of master BOL to both shipper and freight forwarder.

Import customs clearance. After the cargo arrives in the marine port of destination, a local customs broker, previously hired by the freight forwarder handles all the clearance-related procedures. At this stage, you will have to work with such documents as the proof of origin, commercial invoice, master BOL, customs value declaration, insurance certificate, and other.

Inland haulage to the consignee is the final step in international shipping during which the cargo is actually delivered to the consignee’s premises. This stage is managed by a freight forwarder that organizes an inland transportation of goods to the point of destination. It can be done either by truck or rail routes, depending on the finances, geography, and other factors.

meme about logistics

Shipping is tense unless you get to the bottom of things, Source: Twitter

Now that we have gone through the basics of the international shipping process and analyzed how the export documents are exchanged, let’s discuss each of them in detail.

Keep in mind that we have selected some mandatory and frequently used export documents, but there are much more of them. Let’s start from the most important document of international trade – a bill of lading.

Export documentation comparison chart

Bill of Lading (BOL)

Issuer: carrier/NVOCC/ freight forwarder

Receiver: shipper

Bill of lading (BOL) is a legally required export document that serves as a contract between the shipper and the carrier specifying all freight shipment details.

BOL is mandatory as it contains all the significant information about the freight, transportation, and the parties involved in the shipping process. This document is also required when compensation is needed for various reasons (cargo loss or damage, any disputes concerning the freight ownership, etc).

How to fill in the Bill of Lading. Dealing with the BOL form for the first time seems challenging. However, the complexity disappears if you know what kind of information should be present there.

Let’s look through the data included in the BOL:

  • shipment date
  • purchase order and reference number
  • shipper’s details (name, address, phone number, and email)
  • carrier’s details (name, address, phone number, and email)
  • consignee’s details (name, address, phone number, and email)
  • freight description (quantity, exact weight, value, dimensions, type of packaging, classification)

ocean bill of lading template

Bill of Lading Form Template, Source: Formspal

Bill of lading template. There is a special website on which you can easily complete the BOL form and print it directly from your browser for free. In case you have difficulties when filling in the spaces of the document, the How to section of the website helps you understand what kind of information is needed for each space.

Every BOL should be present in several copies that are signed three times during the transportation process: first, by the shipper before the cargo is held to the freight forwarder’s premises, second, by the carrier, and finally, by the consignee when the cargo is finally delivered to the point of destination.

If you deal with paper documents, you will need to have at least three (or more) physical copies of the BOL. For electronic format, only one copy needs to be signed. We will elaborate more on the electronic bill of lading a bit later in this post.

funny picture about Bill of Lading

Bill of Lading is everywhere, isn’t it? Source: Fanpop

Unlike the majority of export documents, bill of lading has several types that are used for different purposes and can be issued by different parties of the shipping process.

Below we would like to discuss two most common types of BOL: the House Bill of Lading and the Master Bill of Lading. There are actually more of them, but these ones are the most widespread and crucial.

House Bill of Lading & Master Bill of Lading

House Bill of Lading (HBL) is a legal document issued by a freight forwarder to a shipper that serves as an evidence of receipt for the goods.

Also, it’s a certain assurance the cargo is damage-free and ready to be shipped to the point of destination. If during the shipping any damage is caused to the goods, the carrier company is held responsible.

The HBL has to include the following information:

  • Shipper’s name and address
  • Consignee’s name and address
  • Total value of the shipped cargo in monetary terms
  • Detailed information about the mode of transportation
  • Detailed information about the terms and conditions of the shipment

Master Bill of Lading (MBL) is a legally binding document issued by the actual carrier (ship owner or operator) to a freight forwarder that serves as the contract of carriage for the goods. This document is one of the most reliable ones in sea transportation as it’s both signed and oriented by the carrier.

Before a freight forwarder receives the cargo from the shipper, they book it ahead with a shipping carrier. After the carrier confirms the cargo is received, the MBL is released.

The master bill of lading includes mostly the same sort of information the house bill of lading provides, but there are some major differences between them we would like to mention.

First, HBL is issued by a freight forwarder to a consignee, while it’s a carrier who issues MBL to a freight forwarder. That’s the most evident point of dissimilarity.

Second, HBL can be organized as either negotiable (which means its ownership can be transferable to different parties of the shipping process) or non-negotiable document, while MBL should never be issued as a negotiable bill.

There is also a peculiar difference between HBL and MBL we would like you to know. These export documents can differ depending on the type of load. But before discussing how, let’s briefly look at two main shipment types:

  • FCL (Full Container Load) It’s used when goods occupy the entire space of a single container. In this situation, the exporter bears the cost of the full container which is used exclusively for one shipment, even when the goods are not enough to fill it all up.
  • LCL (Less than Container Load) This refers to the small ocean freights when goods are not numerous and the separate container is not required. In this case, the exported products (packed in a pallet or a box) of several clients are put in a single container.

So when HBL is issued under FCL shipment, there is a single shipper (seller) and consignee (buyer) from each country. They both coordinate with a freight forwarder and there will be only one HBL issued against the MBL. However, with LCL, one MBL can have several HBLs issued to multiple suppliers as their goods are shipped in the same container.

Electronic Bill of Lading (eBOL)

Electronic Bill of Lading is a digital version of the traditional BOL that performs the same functions of the paper bill of lading. This ensures paperless delivery of goods and technology-based access to all information and documentation of the freight.

EBOL improves the export process by reducing manual (and, therefore, time-consuming) operations. In it, all the necessary data is entered digitally which means you deal with electronic signatures and stamps. For more detailed information about this topic feel free to check our article about electronic bill of lading.

We are almost done with the BOL, but let us briefly introduce you with one more concept before we move to the next export document.

Bill of Lading Tracking: Instant Access to the Route of the Freight

As with any logistic documentation, a bill of lading can be tracked. To do this, you have at least two scenarios. For the first one, you will need to know the number of your BOL that helps check the status of the shipment at each of its stages. You can track it on a carrier’s or a freight forwarder’s websites as well as on the customer portals.

Another option here would be to contact special websites like FreightQuote, OrderTracker, Track Trace and paste your BOL number in the required field. Moreover, you can use API or EDI integration for tracking your shipment.

BOL number is a unique number for your cargo created by the shipper for identifying a particular shipment. You can find it at the top right corner of the BOL page placed next to the words BOL, like it’s at the example below:

Bill of Lading template

How to find the BOL tracking number, Source: Infoplus

We won’t dwell much upon this topic here to pay more attention to different types of export documentations. Still, it’s crucial to mention that in case you have enough finances, the best way to arrange shipment tracking is to do this via API or EDI based integration.

Haven’t heard much about this? You can check out our article that discusses how to integrate shipment tracking through API and EDIs. Also, we have dedicated a separate article to shipping APIs and ways to connect business systems with transportation and delivery providers. Hope it will help you get more insight on these concepts.

So, as you may see, BOL (along with its types) is considered the most significant one in shipping documentation. Now let’s move to another mandatory export document — a certificate of origin.

Certificate of Origin (CO)

Issuer: shipper

Receiver: consignee

Certificate of Origin is an international shipping document that certifies the cargo is produced, manufactured, and sufficiently processed in a certain country. Indicating the so-called “nationality” of the shipment, certificate of origin serves as a declaration, issued by the shipper to the consignee, that meets trade and customs requirements.

You may want to ask : “Is a certificate of origin always necessary?” The answer is short: yes, unless you deal with domestic shipping as this type of trade does not automatically demand CO.

CO is usually required by the customs authority of the importing country. Still, to be sure you need it in your future shipment, it’s always better to contact your local chamber of commerce to check and confirm everything beforehand.

How to fill in the Certificate of Origin. Certificate of Origin includes several components that must be included in its form:

  • Shipper’s details (name and contact information)
  • Carrier’s details (name and contact information)
  • Consignee’s details (name and contact information)
  • Country of origin
  • Full description of the cargo (quantity, size and weight)
  • Commercial invoice of payment
  • BOL number
  • Commercial invoice of payment
  • Means of transportation and route information

Now that we have discussed the definition, functions, and constituents of certificate of origin, let’s look at its main types. Unlike it’s with BOL, there are only two types of CO (which gives much relief, we believe):

Preferential certificate of Origin. This certificate is required when there is a free trade agreement between exporting and importing countries. For instance, these would be exports between the USA, Canada, and Mexico.

Non-Preferential certificate of Origin. This type makes up the majority of all CO documents and helps to identify the origin of the internationally shipped goods. Unlike the preferential one, this relates to the rest of the countries that do not have free trade agreements between them.

A Certificate of Origin can have paper-based and digital formats, both of which have to be approved by the chamber of commerce of customs authority. For the electronic version, you can submit the needed documentation online and get the stamp from the chamber of commerce on your certificate.

certificate of origin template

Certificate of Origin template, Source: Hloom

Certificate of Origin template. There are multiple websites where you can get a free template of CO like Hloom, TemplateLab, etc. They provide a list of CO samples so you can choose the most suitable one and download it directly on your browser in txt format.

In fact, there doesn’t exist a standard form of CO, as each one corresponds to a specific use case. For example, you can deal with non-US or specifically USA originated goods and, therefore, you’ll need the corresponding CO forms for the shipment. Also, you may need a certificate of origin trade agreement between particular countries (like, for example, South Korea-Australia).

Certificate of Insurance (COI)

Issuer: insurer

Receiver: shipper

Certificate of Insurance (also known as Cargo Insurance Certificate or Insurance Certificate) is an export document issued by the insurer to the exporter that names the type and amount of insurance coverage for the shipped cargo.

Why does an exporter (it can also be an importer) need the certificate of insurance? COI is used as a guarantee that in case goods are lost or damaged, they will be covered. This way, as a shipper or a consignee, you can protect your goods from theft, physical damage, risk exposure, and avoid financial expenses.

One shouldn’t confuse an insurance certificate with an insurance policy. The former is just a document that serves as a proof that the insurance policy exists. The latter is a legal contract between the insurance company and the exporting or importing businesses. This contract determines what claims the insurer is required to cover.

How to fill in the certificate of insurance. Every COI should list the following information:

  • insurance terms and covered risks
  • insurance company’s agent details
  • shipment details (port of loading/discharge, name of vessel, description of goods)
  • amount and currency of insurance coverage
  • liability of carriers

certificate of insurance template

Certificate of Insurance Sample, Source: Acord

Certificate of insurance template. As it’s the insurance company that provides this document, you will hardly need to search for the COI template. Otherwise, they can be easily found online.

Export Packing List (EPL)

Issuer: shipper

Receiver: freight forwarder, consignee, customs clearance

Export packing list is a shipping document that provides all parties of the shipping process with the itemized list of all goods of the shipment, and describes in detail each packaging of the cargo. Packing list also serves as a proof of the Bill of lading and a guide for the consignee when verifying if all the exported products are finally received.

Export packing list may vary depending on the type of shipment. For FCL cases, everything is more or less clear as here you’ll need one or more containers (depending on the size and quantity of the exported goods).

What concerns LCL here, the export packing list will consist only of product details, but you should have an export packing list nevertheless. In it, you will just need to select the LCL type of shipment and include the details of all exported goods in a required space of the document.

How to fill in the export packing list. EPL includes the extensive list of all items present in your shipment. This list can be used by all parties of the freight process to check whether the dimensions, weights or any other details of the cargo are correct. So, what should be there?

  • shipper’s and consignee’s contact details
  • method of dispatch (sea, road, rail or air freight)
  • type of shipment (FCL, LCL, or other)
  • country of origin and country of final destination
  • vessel name
  • port of lading and port of discharge
  • date of departure
  • reference number, product and packaging details (full description of goods, product reference number, net weight and gross weight of each package, package measurements, etc.)

export packing list template

Export packing list sample, Source: IncoDocs

Export packing list template. There is no single variant of the correct template for EPL as many will depend on the type of shipment and the way the goods have been packed. So, overall it’s crucial that you understand all the details of your future shipment and then you can choose the template which will suit you the best in this case.

We can recommend you to search for EPL templates on such web sources as Incodocs, Hloom, or Samplewords, some of which we have already mentioned earlier in this post.

Electronic Export Information (EEI)

Issuer: shipper, freight forwarder

Receiver: consignee

Electronic export information is an electronic declaration of cargo that is exported from the US to foreign countries. This document is an electronic equivalent of the Shipper’s Export Declaration (SED).

Usually, it’s an exporter who should file the EEI form when necessary. Still, the shipper can provide a freight forwarder with a POA (power of attorney) or a special written statement that will authorize them to create and fill in the EEI.

You’ll have to fill the EEI form when the delivery of a single item or a package from your shipment is worth more than $2,500. Still, the exporting country and the country of destination matter as well and you’ll need the EEI in the following situations:

  • if the shipment goes from the US, the US Virgin Islands or Puerto Rico to foreign destinations
  • if the shipment is conducted between the US and Puerto Rico
  • if the shipment is conducted from Puerto Rico to the US Virgin Islands

This document is not always mandatory, and may not be required in case the cargo is exported from the USA to Canada, (unless the cargo doesn’t contain uncut or rough diamonds). This works as well for the shipments from Puerto Rico or the US to other US territories like American Samoa, Howland Islands, Wake Island, etc.

How to fill in the electronic export information. EEI data has to be filed via the Automated Export System (AES) when EEI filing is necessary.

Typically, EEI should include:

  • exporter’s contact information (name, address, phone number, and email)
  • consignee contact information (name, address, phone number, and email)
  • detailed information about the exported products (proper classification, licensing requirements)
  • social security number (when a shipper is an individual, not the company)
  • transportation reference number
  • country of ultimate destination
  • license number
  • selling price or cost, value of the exported products

electronic export information template

EEI digital template, Source: DocHub

Electronic export information template. You won’t find the paper-based template of the EEI as it’s a digital version of the former shipper’s export declaration form that actually has paper samples. For more visibility, please take a look at the SED template in the picture above.

Commercial Invoice (CO)

Issuer: shipper

Receiver: consignee

Commercial invoice is a mandatory export document that is required for all international shipments with commercial value and serves as a contract of sale between the shipper and the consignee. This document helps you as a shipper get your cargo through customs and determine import duties and taxes that apply to the shipped cargo.

Commercial invoice is sometimes confused with a proforma invoice, which is a separate document that denotes a preliminary bill of invoice and is sent to a consignee before the actual shipment. The main difference between them is that the proforma invoice does not have an accounting value while the commercial invoice does. Also, unlike CO, proforma invoice is used mostly domestically and rarely appears in the international shipments. The main purpose of a proforma invoice is to show the expected fees, costs, and delivery date of the shipment.

How to fill in a commercial Invoice. There is no standard format of CO, but each document of this type has to include the following data:

  • shipper and consignee’s details (complete name and address)
  • detailed description of the freight (quantity, value, and price)
  • country of origin of the goods
  • destination of the goods
  • type of shipment
  • type of containers (TEU, insulated containers, etc.)
  • invoice number and date
  • reference number of the BOL
  • total value of all goods

commercial invoice template

Commercial Invoice template sample, Source: Twill

Below you may find an example of a filled commercial invoice created for the shipment of a fictional company Tailspin. Please, keep in mind that it’s just a fictitious sample of CO created for greater clarity.

fictive company export document template

Filled commercial invoice example, Source: Microsoft

Commercial Invoice template. The printable template of the CO can be easily found online. As well as for other export documents, you can come across several websites that expose the downloadable templates of the commercial invoice.

Let us recommend you to use Commercial invoice, as it’s both comprehensive and simple to use. You can add rows to the template where necessary and refer to the already given examples on how to fill in some forms.

We would like to dedicate the final chapter of this post to the examples of export documentation management software systems. The reason behind this is simple: today it’s still hard to create and prepare export documentation without getting stuck in tons of manual paper routine.

Moreover, in freight management and international trade overall, in-time delivery and completely error-free documentation is a priority for all parties of the shipping process. That is why using shipping documents management software can be a great solution for your business.

Export Documentation Software

It would be impractical to discuss export documents without looking at the export documents software providers. These cloud-based software systems simplify the creation and management of export documents by automating paper-based freight forwarding and shipping processes.

export documentation software providers comparison chart

Export documentation software providers comparison chart

We have prepared some providers for your consideration. For sure, there are more of them, these ones were chosen from the point of good connectivity, target audience, and extra features. 

IncoDocs: All-in-One Sales & Export Documentation Management

Target audience: shippers

What it offers: full sets of export documents, automation of paper-based processes, customization of export document templates to corporate business needs, etc.

Founded in 2016, IncoDocs is an Australian export documentation management software that creates and manages export and sales documents commonly used in global supply chains. This tool can autofill data from the client’s TMS or ERP (as well as from other systems) and customize export document templates to the required business needs. This software can help you automate tons of tedious paper-based processes.

IncoDocs provides its API documentation which you can access on the official website to further implement API-based services in your business. IncoDocs’s API can be integrated with the clients’ software systems. API documentation helps IT staff of your organization understand how to build API integration to automate shipping processes and eliminate data re-entry.

sample of IncoDocs website page

IncoDocs can process export documents fast and error-free, Source: IncoDocs

While IncoDocs focuses on shippers and their businesses, there is one software that works with the needs of freight forwarders. Let’s get acquainted with it.

CargoDocs: Paperless Solution for Creating and Collating Export Document

Target audience: shippers, freight forwarders

What it offers: creation, management and supporting of original BOL, CO, and other export documents, automation and streamlining of export documentation-related processes

what type of export documents CargoDocs supports

What types of export documents are covered by CargoDocs, Source: essDocs

CargoDocs is a global trade digital platform that creates and manages electronic versions of some export documents like bill of lading, certificate of origin etc. Moreover, this tool enables shippers, freight forwarders, consignees, and carriers to streamline shipping processes.

There are two ways of reaching CargoDocs services: first, via the official website, and second, through its open XML APIs. The second variant is beneficial as it makes you, as a client or a partner of CargoDocs embed and integrate its services into your website, platform etc.

GoFreight: Cloud-based Management Software for Boosting the Freight Forwarding Business

Target audience: freight forwarding companies, freight forwarders

What it offers: export documents management, executive dashboard & data visualization, daily to-do list & workflow, customer portal for clients to track their goods

GoFreight is a freight forwarding management system that works on the shipment/export documentation management. GoFreight has cloud-based applications that help freight forwarders solve documentation-related problems of any level, like, for example, an influx of freight orders and so on.

how Customer Portal of GoFreight looks like

On Customer Portal clients can access shipment tracking data, Source: Gofreight

The company covers a wide range of freight forwarding business operations starting from shipment booking and automating reminders for shipments up to the payment management, etc. Also, this web-based freight forwarding solution helps to manage all shipment data altogether and in a more structural way.

GoFreight provides its customers with a Tracking API that helps to track containers in real-time. In its turn, this eliminates the need to hire IT staff for integrating tracking data in your system and saves costs for other business needs. GoFreight Tracking API ensures accuracy on such critical data as LFD (Last Free Day) or ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival) with the help of AI-based algorithms.

GoFreight helps to automate MBOL and HBOL structure

GoFreight offers main export documents structure, Source: GoFreight

By the way, we have a proven expertise in digitizing freight booking and customer management for international shipment providers. To learn more about how we can automate the shipping business, take a look at our case study.

Shipping Solutions: Proven-Expertise Export Software Provider

Target audience: shippers

What it offers: automation of export documents compliance and management

Established back in 1995, Shipping Solutions is an export document software that easily integrates with a shipper’s platform and automates completion and management of the majority of export documents via the Automated Export Systems (AES).

AES is an automated system maintained by the US Census Bureau that allows you to digitally file the Electronic Export Information.

Being easy to install, Shipping Solutions eliminates redundant data entry that enables businesses to create export document forms up to five-times faster than it used to be. Also, it helps to quickly generate electronic Certificates of Origin (eCO) which, as we already know, is one of the most crucial ones among all export documents. eCO is a secure and time and cost-saving solution for shippers as it fastens the process of certifying CO by a chamber of commerce.

Some More Export Documents to Consider

No doubt, it is hard to cover all the international shipping documents in a single article, that is why we have included some mandatory and commonly used ones, but there are much more of them.

Not going into many details, let’s briefly look at some other shipping documents you should take into account.

Export License. This international trade government document approves the export of specific cargo to the country of origin. Export license allows shipping companies to legally sell goods across the globe and is required when an exported product falls under the category of restricted goods. Also, it helps the government to track how much goods are being exported out of the country and where they are heading to.

Is this export document mandatory? Yes, but only for certain types of goods like chemicals, artworks, historical artifacts, antiques, dual use items (those that can be used for both civilian and military purposes), etc. Apart from them, the majority of exported goods do not necessarily require an export license.

Proforma Invoice. This document was previously mentioned, but we consider it’s worth discussing it separately. Quite often, a proforma invoice is the first export document you create. After a potential

Consignee shows interest in a shipper’s product, a letter of inquiry is sent, listing the terms of interest in a product are outlined and there is a request for either formal or informal quote from the shipper’s side. This quote is the proforma invoice itself.

If the proforma invoice is correctly compiled, at the end of the shipping process, the commercial invoice should closely resemble the proforma invoice. Even though this document is not mandatory for all international shipments, some countries may require it if there is a tight currency exchange rate control.

Proforma invoice has several functions. First, it serves as a tool of negotiation between a shipper and a consignee. Second, it includes the full description of goods (with the total payable amount) which a consignee needs for a legal import. The template should include the proforma invoice date and number, country of origin, unit price and total amount, quantity and gross of packaging, payment term, etc.

Dangerous Goods Form. Sometimes the exported goods are considered hazardous or dangerous by the International Maritime Organization, for ocean freight, or the International Air Transport Association (IATA), for air shipping. The Dangerous Goods Form (also known as a Dangerous Goods Shipper’s Declaration, DGD) is a must-have document for such cases.

Issued by a shipper to a carrier, this document certifies the shipment has been labeled, packed and declared in accordance with the IATA’s Dangerous Goods Regulations (DGR). The DG form should include the contact details of a shipper and a consignee, proper name of the exported dangerous goods (e.g. acetone), emergency contact details, quantity of goods, class of cargo division (flammable, explosive, toxic, radioactive, etc.)

We hope you have found this post both informative and enthralling, so that for now you feel less confused concerning the export documentation.

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