There are two main reasons which justify the importance of international shipping documents:
Bill of lading
Bill of lading can be considered as a contract between the owner of the goods and the carrier. It is the document to provide proof or evidence of shipment. Serves as a shipment receipt and contains details such as type, quality and destination of goods. Various types of bill of lading are straight bill of lading (non-negotiable) and a negotiable or shippers order bill of lading.
An air waybill abbreviated as AWB is a shipping document which accompanies products shipped via international air courier for providing detailed information regarding the shipment and makes it tracking possible. Multiple copies of air waybill are made such that each involved party can document it.
A Sea Waybill is generally used in place of a Bill of Lading for straight consignments when a letter of credit or other banking arrangements are not involved in the shipment of commodities. The Sea Waybill is considerably suitable where regular shipments occur between the related companies which do not need settlements via banks or third parties.
A commercial invoice for export is also known as seller’s bill for commodities sold by him. It contains details in terms of name and address of the seller, description of goods, price per unit, quantity, total value etc. It is termed as the most basic and important export document. Sometimes these invoices are also used by governments to determine the true value of goods when assessing customs duties.
It provides proof for what you are shipping, what customer ordered and quality of commodity. It ensures that commodities were in good condition at the time of inspection and this is done immediate prior to shipment or we can say pre shipment inspection is done. It includes Applicant-The name of buyer company which has opened the LC, Consigned to the Order of -The name of the LC opened bank or buyer banks, Beneficiary: (The name of the seller), LC No. and LC Date, Custom Tariff Code No., Pro-forma Invoice No. and Date, Purchase Order No. and Date, Insurance Policy No., Country of Origin, Place of Inspection, Date of Inspection, Port of Discharge, Type of Packing, Bill of Lading No. and Date, Gross weight, Name and Signature of authorized Person, Place and Date of Issue.
A packing list for export can be explained as a detailed document that states all of the product and packaging details contained in each shipment. It includes name of shipper/exporter with its contact details, name of consignee/importer with its contact details, the gross and net weights of the cargo, nature quality and specifications of goods, type of package and measurement of each package, invoice number and date, reference to bill of lading, method of dispatch, type of shipment and other specified documents.
Certificate of origin
It is the document that certifies where the export commodity are manufactured originally. It is widely used in International trade transactions. It is required for import customs may be for all or may be for certain products. It is further classified as Non- preferable and preferable certificate of origin. It can be provided within two formats i.e. paper based certificate of origin or electronic certificate of origin. It is also used for claiming benefits under free trade agreements.
Insurance with certificate of liability
Insurance certificates are the modes to assure the consignee that insurance will cover the loss of or damage to the cargo during transit. These can be easily obtained from your freight forwarder or publishing house. It falls under insurance documents which are classified as Insurance policy, certificate of insurance and insurance broker’s note. While securing your goods few things must be considered in advance i.e. get enough coverage, decide who will secure the insurance, decide who pays for it or just leave a paper trail.