Commercial Shipping: Documentation You Need To Get Through Customs

There are a few things more stressful for exporters than knowing your products are held up in customs. With online tracking, we can see the entire process, but you can rarely fix something held in customs because there may be a variety of reasons they are stuck there. For example, part of the package may contain a product scheduled to a duty that you weren’t aware of, or one of the products might have to be quarantined or any number of issues. When it comes to fast international commercial shipping the most important thing is ensuring you have the right documents. So let’s take a look at what you need.

Before You Begin

One of the most difficult parts of commercial shipping is that regulations vary highly between countries and sometimes even ports within the same country. For example, the tariffs on wine vary by several percent between France and Germany. Both have strong industries they want to protect, but they do so differently. There are even regions that have specific taxes along with special economic zones that may have none at all. This is why you need to thoroughly investigate the requirements of each place you ship to.

Import Documentation

A good rule of thumb is the most paperwork you have the better. There are six key documents you need during commercial shipping. They are:

  • Purchase Order from Buyer
  • Sale Invoice from Supplier
  • Packing List
  • Shipping Bill
  • Bill of Lading
  • Certificate of Origin

Some of these fairly self-explanatory such as the purchase order. But let’s take a look at a few that may be a little more confusing.

Packing List

This seems simple enough, you just list what’s in a package. However, once again this is where you need to understand where you are shipping your product to. For example, if you list a package as containing a “T-Shirt,” but it contains bonus products like stickers or wristbands, it may change the overall value of the product along with using products that may be regulated or taxed differently in the country.

Certificate of Origin

Essential international trade document that the confirms the goods in a shipment have been completely obtained, manufactured, or processed in a certain country.

Bill of Lading

This is the detailed list of a container ship cargo. Generally, this is a receipt given by the ship captain to the customs officer. You need to ensure you are working with a reliable commercial shipping team that has strong policies that ensure you products get through customs quickly.

Make Commercial Shipping a Breeze

Getting these documents in order is not only difficult but just the beginning of what you need to execute successful commercial shipping. Not only this, you have to facilitate logistics between countries and ensure your products arrive quickly and intact. This can be an extremely difficult process which is why you should work with a logistic expert team. HLOG can help you with everything you need from customs clearance to freight forwarding and even relocation service to help you business make the most out of highly globalized economy.

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