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The Most Common Export Documents

There is lots that go in to international sales and how to prepare goods to be shipped to your foreign buyer. First, you need to secure the sale. However, companies often under-prepare when it comes to making sure your goods are ready to ship to a foreign buyer. The second thing that you must do is understand the shipment documents needed in the agreement for the benefit of the various people and organizations that are involved in moving and processing the goods. Making sure that you understand the common documents necessary for this process are a critical part of this process.

Commercial Invoice: This is one of the most critical documents because it provides crucial information. A commercial invoice is the document used to describe the entire export transaction from beginning to end including the shipping terms.

Insurance Certificate: This document shows that you have purchased an insurance policy for cargo on board. An exporter will often not perform the shipping without this.

Inspection Certificate: Inspections often take place if the goods are industrial equipment or perishable like meat and cheese products. It shows the goods were received in good condition and were not effected by the shipment.

Consular Invoice. While this is not required in every country, if you are shipping to a place that requires it make sure you have it! It certifies the shipment of goods and is available through a consular representative.

Bill of Lading. This is the common document used in international shipping and is a contract between the owner of the goods and the carrier. It shows what is being shipped, where the goods are coming from and their final destination. This is often used as the receipt as well.

Washington Express is more than happy to help with the process of understanding and filling out the correct export documents for your foreign shipments. Contact us today for a consultation!