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Import and export documentation explained

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Import and export is the most favourable mode of entering into cross-border and international trade. Documentation is at the heart of import and export; without documentation such trade cannot take place. No contract, no payment and no transportation will be available.
This documentation that is drawn up and dispatched with the goods ensures that the goods reach their destination safely and also assist in facilitating payments and trust between traders. The documentation also ensures that the correct consignment will reach the correct destination and deters any theft or illegal activity.
Regulations change all the time; it is therefore important to stay updated with all these changes in order to ensure that documentation is well in order. The following documents are normally required for import and export trade:
1 – Bill of lading
This is an agreement contract between the owner of the goods to be transported and the courier that will be transporting the goods. It contains all the details regarding the goods such as their destination and point of origin. The bill of lading also serves as a receipt issued by the courier once the goods have been picked up.
2 – Certificate of manufacturer
This document is notarized and certifies that the goods have indeed been manufactured or produced by the stated manufacturer. It also states that the goods fulfil their required purpose and is ready for shipment.
3 – Certificate of origin
This document is set up by the manufacturer and gets certified by a Chamber of Commerce or a government entity. This document is used to identify the origin or the country where the goods have been manufactured.
4 – Commercial invoice
This is one of the most important documents as it describes the complete export transaction inclusive of the shipping terms. It details the buyer, the seller freight company, bank details, import/export brokers, price of goods and the conditions under which they may be shipped.
5 – Inspection certificate
These certificates are usually issued for mechanical or perishable items which include; food items and horticultural products. It confirms that goods were in a good state and also confirms the quantity of the goods in the shipment.
6 – Insurance certificate
There are many things that could go wrong with the shipping of cargo, it is therefore important for businesses to take out an insurance in order to recover from any losses should anything happen. The insurance certificate shows that you have an existing insurance for your cargo
7 – Packaging list
This is a list of goods that are being shipped. It also contains information about the goods such as information on how it was packed, how the goods are numbered, and weight/height dimensions. It assists freight forwarding companies to prepare the bill of lading.
The above-mentioned documentation is very important as far as import and export is concerned. There are however many more documents but these are the primary and most important documents.
For any assistance with your import and export documentation or any questions regarding this documentation. Feel free to contact us:
www.mabenkwa.co.za
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