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Shipping Documents

Time:Aug 02,2021     Views:351     Source: Chenmao International logistics, China freight forwarder

What Shipping Documents Do You Need For Import And Export?

If you’ve never used freight shipping from China before, you can now know everything you need to prepare for shipping documents. International shipping is a complex thing, with every country’s needs constantly changing and there are many different paperwork to work on. You do not know shipping and import related requirements and you cannot handle them, so you must properly hire the right broker to get your goods to the final destination.

Freight forwarder provides services for individuals and businesses, with the desire to deliver items from a single document to heavy package in a fast and accurate manner.

Your shipping provider can definitely help you with the paperwork you need to do, but it’s best not to give everything to them. Know what documents need to be submitted and make sure your business runs smoothly.

The following list is not complete, but it should give you an idea of what kind of documents you will need for successful shipping your goods or personal items.

Bill of Lading(B/L)

BOL has a lot of information. The bill of lading must have the name of the consignor, the name of the consignee, the name of the ship, the name of the ship, the origin and destination, and the mark and quantity of the goods. It is one of the most important documents you care about in international shipping.

There are two forms of bill of lading. An non-negotiable bill of lading is a Straight bill of lading, also known as a non-negotiable bill of lading.

In this case, the goods recorded in the bill of lading can only be pick up by a specific consignee on the bill of lading, in other words, the carrier may only deliver the goods to the consignee specified in the bill of lading at the port of unloading.

The bearer bill of lading is negotiable – To put it other way, the carrier will deliver the goods to the person holding the bill of lading. As a shipper or customer, you should always have a copy of the bill of lading because you certify that you have or have the right to request the consignment.

The bill of lading is a written certificate provided by the carrier, which is usually signed by the Transportation Department of the shipping company, certifying that the carrier accepts the specific goods received in the form of goods and they is responsible for transporting the goods to the destination or to the specified consignee.

Airway Bill

This shipping document is issued by air carriers or their agents. It is the receipt of the goods received by the carrier and also the contract of carriage between the shipper and the carrier, certifying that the carrier has received the goods you have listed in AWB, and the air waybill is not negotiable either.

This is also your proof that the carrier is responsible for handling your goods to the designated destination.

Commercial Invoices

A commercial invoice is a document produced by the seller, containing the name, quantity, and price of the consignment. A commercial invoice is actually a bill or invoice from the seller to the buyer, describing the agreement reached between the parties regarding the terms of the sale or purchase of the goods.

Commercial invoices are mainly used for the import and export of goods between countries. It is mandatory in international trade. Commercial forms of invoices are used for customs clearance and tariff collection, and some national customs require original invoices.

It also records the goods that are being transported, where they are transported from or to, and the names of the parties or enterprises involved in the carriage of goods.

Consular Invoice

The consular invoice is a special invoice issued by the consul of the importing country in the exporting country. The exporter fills in a specific form provided by the consular office of the importing country in the place of export and is invoiced by consular visas.

This invoices attest to the export of goods, which are used by the importing country to prevent the dumping of foreign goods. As it can be used as a basis for the calculation of import duties, facilitating the smooth passage of goods through the importing country’s customs.

Some countries ask you to provide consular invoices. It is much like commercial invoices, and will contain the value of the goods, the name and address of the buyer and seller, and other relevant information. But these documents must be certified by consular officials in the exporting country.

Certificate of Origin

A certificate of origin is a document issued by the relevant agency of the Government of the exporting country certifying the origin or manufacture of the goods. It is mainly used in the customs of importing countries to implement differential tariffs, the implementation of import tax rates and import quotas based as the basis of different country policies.

Importers ask exporters to provide certificates of origin, which have many forms. The most widely used are certificates of origin and GSP certificate of origin, which are often used in countries or regions that do not need to provide customs invoices or consular invoices.

If you import from China, the certificate of origin is issued by the Chinese government Customs department.

Import License

Some countries require importers to obtain the licence in advance for the importation of certain goods, otherwise they cannot engage in this business.

For the sake of local protection, these countries limit the amount of imports. So foreign companies want import some goods, they must apply import license.

Fumigation Certificate (If Required by Importing Country)

A fumigation certificate is a certificate used to prove that an exterminator has been fumigated when importing and exporting grain, oilseeds, beans, hides and other commodities, as well as packaging wood and plant fillers, etc.

Packing List

A packing list is a document detailing what is contained in the shipment. As a supplementary document of invoice, it lists the details of the packing matters as agreed between the buyer and the seller in the letter of credit (or contract), so that foreign buyers and Customs may inspect and check the goods, when the goods arrive at the port of destination.

Usually the commercial invoice includes relevant contents, but packing list must be made in strict accordance with the letter of credit when it expressly requires it.

Related Dangerous Goods Certificate

For certain commodities, you need to prepare for the certification of dangerous goods. If the goods you are transporting are of a dangerous nature, you need to use dangerous goods notes, also known as DGN.

DRG will describe in detail what dangerous goods are, what risks may exist during transport, and how to transport dangerous goods in an efficient and safe manner. For example, if you want to transport lithium batteries, you need MSDS. Click on this post “Lithium battery shipping” to view more.

Insurance Documents

An insurance policy is an underwriting certificate issued by an insurer upon acceptance of the insurance. This is the cargo insurance purchased at the export port before the shipment. If these goods are lost, stolen or damaged during the transport, this document will be your claim basis.

Our Suggestion

It is very specific to know the correct way to prepare these document, and you must do it well, otherwise, even the subtle mistake in documents are enough to keep your goods be delayed in Customs for a long time.

Even worse, you will need to pay fines or penalties. To avoid this, it’s a good idea to have your international shipping provider or customs broker assist you with all your file requirements.

Besides, you need to know what documents are relevant to the laws of your importing and exporting countries, the cargo and the shipping method. For example, sea freight and air freight have different document requirements.


when you are shipping from China, one of the things you should always spend time doing is to conduct a comprehensive consultation with China freight forwarder. They are logistics experts, and expertise can help you avoid pitfalls. Shipping consultants can provide you with the most important advice that guides you through the steps to complete all shipping processes and help you reduce shipping costs..


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