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List of Documents Needed When Shipping Outside India

Post globalisation, the shipping industry has seen remarkable growth. To meet the demand of the consumers sitting thousands of miles away from the product’s manufacturing site, productive and efficient shipping industry is needed. Hence, proper shipping documents and legal agreements are essential to facilitate the seamless movement of goods. There are certain international shipping guidelines that every country has to follow and operate in adherence to rules and regulations. Many independent nations have their regulation for import and export.  Every juncture of the shipping process requires certain paperwork and the exporter or importer has to pass through it. Here is a list of the essential documents required when shipping outside India.

Proforma Invoice

A proforma invoice is a legal document and a standard commercial quotation required for a commercial transaction. It is prepared by the seller before shipment of the goods, informing the buyer about the goods that are being sent. It includes all the relevant details similar to the actual invoice like valuation of goods, type, quantity, and other requisite key specifications. This is mainly a price quotation or offering of sale.

Bill Of Landing

The bill of landing is usually the common and most important shipping documents for international shipping. It is a mutual legal contract between the carrier and the owner of the cargo. The document is duly signed by the exporter, the importer and the carrier. It is also regarded as the essential shipment receipt that is required to show at the port of destination for customs clearance. The bill includes the following details:

  • A proper description of the type, quantity and weight of the goods
  • Name and address of the receiver
  • Terms and conditions of sale

Commercial Invoice

A commercial invoice is a documented bill for the products from the experts to the importer. It is a contract of the intended sale issued by the seller to the buyer. Generally, these invoices are used by the administration to determine the actual value of goods while assessing the customs duties and taxes on them. A commercial invoice includes details like :

  • Name and address of the exporter (seller) and contact details
  • Name and address of the importer (buyer) along with contact details
  • Quantity of goods and its valuation

An exporter went through a trail of paperwork to export goods.

Packing List

Comparatively, it is a more informative and detailed list of the exported goods. The trade administration of India has made it compulsory to attach the commercial invoice cum packing list for all shipments. It is also one of the widely used shipping documents in international trade. The list gives a detailed insight into the accurate tallying of goods during the clearance procedure.

Certificate of Origin

The Certificate of origin is a kind of shipping document prepared by the manufacture of the goods and is certified by the government administration or the chamber of commerce. Not all countries ask for this document, but few nations have made it compulsory to show the certificate of origin for any shipments to identify the origin of the manufactured goods.

Shipping Bill/ Bill of Export

This bill requires obtaining export clearance from the customs department, the exporter has to submit the shipping bill in the form of an application asking for clearance. Moreover, without filling the requisite shipping bill, you cannot export your goods by any channel i.e sea, air or via road.

Bill of Sight

It is a declaration from the seller to the customs office in case the buyer is not sure about the nature of the products that are being shipped. It allows the buyer to carefully inspect the sent products before pausing any sort of duties.

Bill of Exchange

It is a formal document generated by the exporter which notifies the importer to pay the required amount mentioned to the payee bank. The importer has to clear the requested payment for the shipment received either on-demand or at a specific time shortly.

Letter of Credit

A letter of credit is a written agreement shared by the importer’s bank, which takes responsibility to pay the exporter at the end of the predetermined credit period on the behalf of the importer. However, this document is not part of the shipping process but it is crucial for facilitating trade.

Export License

It is a government certificate that authorizes the export of particular goods in certain quantities to a specific destination. A business should have an export license that they can show to the customs department to facilitate the export of the goods.

Warehouse Receipt

A warehouse receipt is a document used to display the list of products deposited in the warehouse. It is generated after the exporter has properly cleared all the requisite export duties and charges during custom clearance.

Health Certificate

A health certificate is required only when the export cargo is food products. It is a document issued by the administration of the origin countries, to certify that the food shipment is safe and fit for consumption and meets all the requisite standards for exporting.

Well, these are essential shipping documents needed to export goods outside India. The government of India has taken major steps to reduce the pile of paperwork and encourage more paperless trade. Although, there are certain rules and regulations to ensure safe and smooth trade, which require some essential shipping documents. Hence, it is recommended that the exporter should ensure and follow the requisite trail of documentation for tax benefits and proper customs clearance. This will enhance the shipping industry along with the overall growth of the economy.

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