5 Important Documents for Shipping

When it comes to shipping goods, especially internationally, there can be a lot of paperwork involved. There are many required documents throughout the shipping process and while many of them include similar information, each document serves a different purpose. Therefore, it is necessary to have all documents present to ensure they contain complete and accurate information. Below are five types of documents that are essential in the shipping process. 

Bill of Lading 

The Bill of Lading (BOL) acts as a contract or receipt between the shipping line and the cargo owner. This is a required document that provides a detailed list of the shipment’s goods, allowing the freight shipment to be moved. Since this is a legally binding document, it allows the driver and carrier to process and invoice the shipment accurately. For the cargo to be released at its destination, the BOL must be presented upon arrival. 

Packing List 

This is a document used in international trade that includes the details of a cargo shipment. The packing list is an essential document because it provides specific information about the shipment for all parties involved: the exporter, international freight forwarder, and consignee. Some of this information includes: the dimensions and weight of each package, how each item is packed, and the value of each item. 

Commercial Invoice 

A commercial invoice is used in foreign trade and includes information that streamlines the customs clearance process. Just like any invoice, a commercial invoice provides a proof of sale that lists the goods being sold along with its sale price. Detailed information of all parties involved can also be found within this document and it is imperative that they are properly listed. While the commercial invoice sounds similar to the packing list, these are two separate documents that are required because while they may have similar information, they serve different purposes. 

Certificate of Origin 

As the name indicates, a certificate of origin is a document that identifies the country in which a certain good or product originated from. In other words, it specifies where a good was produced. This is another document that must be present for a shipment to be cleared by customs. The legitimacy of this document is ensured as it is prepared by the exporter and must be certified by a government authority for the certificate of origin to be considered valid. 

Letter of Credit 

Simply put, the letter of credit is a binding agreement between the buyer and seller. This is considered one the safest payment methods since it eliminates some of the risks involved in the international purchasing process. The importer first creates terms and conditions that must be agreed upon by both parties before any goods are handled. When the terms are finalized and agreed upon, the seller is then able to prepare the cargo according to the conditions. Once the cargo has been shipped, the seller can use the terms and conditions as evidence that the shipment has been prepared and sent. This allows the bank to pay the seller, who will later be reimbursed by the buyer’s bank. 

International Shipping Services in Boston

At LogiWorld, we’ve been helping customers with their international and domestic shipments for over two decades so we know exactly how to process these detailed and often complex documents. If you are looking for a partner for your next shipment, contact our team today for a free quote.

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