Shipping internationally is an ever-changing and complex process. The support of a professional freight forwarder will help you to navigate this field with more ease but it also pays to have an understanding of what is involved when you need to move goods from one country to another. One step that can easily cause delays and disruption is paperwork – or rather, the lack of it. Providing information to the customs office and other authorities, the documents that accompany international shipments need to be complete and available when required. In this blog, we’ll go over 5 international shipping documents you need to know about.

Bill of Lading

This legally binding document is between the shipper and the carrier. It is there to detail the type of goods being shipped as well as the quantities and the designation country too. It acts as an acknowledgement of the receipt of cargo and sets out the agreed terms and conditions in place for the transportation of the goods in question.

Bill of Exchange

A Bill of Exchange is a legally binding document that orders one party to pay a fixed sum to another party. This can be either on-demand or by a predetermined date set out in the paperwork. It is also sometimes known as an international bill of exchange. A Sign Bill/Draft is a Bill of Exchange that needs to be paid immediately while a Time Bill is one that can be paid at the specified future date.

Letter of Credit

This is a contractual agreement by the bank of the foreign buyer to pay for the goods, once they have been shipped. It states that the payment will be made once the correct documentation has been presented from the exporter’s own bank account as proof. It has been designed to protect both parties and is in place to facilitate commercial trade as an assurance of payment.

Certificate of Origin

As the name suggests, this document confirms the country of origin for a specific product. It contains information about the manufacturer alongside where a product has been produced or processed. It is a legal requirement for the destination country’s customs clearance process when goods are imported. These on-time documents will accompany the shipment throughout its movements.

Inspection Certificate

Issued by an independent authority, an inspection certificate verifies whether the goods being shipped were in good condition immediately before movement. It is an inspection report and is a requirement for many importing countries and importers.

At Radius Warehouse and Logistic Services, we have the experience and knowledge to help you navigate the world of international trade documents. If you have any questions or would like support from our team, get in contact with us here today.