One may often find themselves wondering about the needs of documentation in export business. Why, is export documentation so important, after all? The simple answer to this question would be the differences in legal policies and nature of trade industry in the importing as well as exporting nations. Every nation across the globe has a number of trade practices and legal regulations that are unique only to their geographical territory. This is why it becomes essential to complete certain documentation formalities in order to safeguard the interests of all parties involved in the import-export business. Furthermore, the documentation also ensures a hassle-free flow of goods as well as payment between the transacting nations.
While exporting goods from India, there is a mandatory requirement of three major documents.
Bill of Lading
A Bill of Lading is one of the most crucial documents required for export businesses. The document serves essential purposes, especially during international trade. The 3 major points of importance of the Bill of Lading are
Contract of carriage evidence – The Bill of Lading serves as a proof of sea consignment.
Carrier’s proof of shipment receipt – The Bill of Lading is issued by the carrier or the shipping agent upon being handed over the cargo for shipping following all export customs formalities in the exporting country.
A document of title – Approved as per the Negotiable Instrument Act, the Bill of Lading also serves as a legal document of proof of shipment.
Commercial Invoice cum Packing List
When an exporter sets out to export his/her goods, among the list of important documents to be maintained is one with all specific details about the cargo. The exporter can thus either prepare a Commercial Invoice cum Packing List or choose to prepare separate documents for Commercial Invoice and Packing List.
Shipping Bill / Bill of export
Shipping bills are mandatory documents required at the time of exporting any cargo, Filing shipping bills requires adherence to the guidelines of the customs department. The exporter can file the shipping bill by himself or use a Customs Broker for filing the documents and for entire custom clearance process.
Keeping aside the basic documents mentioned-above, there are several other documents that may be required for export.
The documents required may vary depending upon exporting product, trade agreements and policies of exporting/importing country, and the nature of goods being exported.
To explain in detail lets divide the document requirements into three categories:
Export Customs clearance documents required from the shipper in Exporting country.
Detailed Shipping Instructions along with PO (purchase order) or LC (Letter of Credit).
Export License or NOC (no objection certificate) if needed for the product being exported.
Import Customs clearance documents required by the consignee in Importing country
Insurance Certificate if required.
Certificate of Analysis or certificate of Conformance if applicable.
Certificate of Origin if required.
Certificate of free Sale / Weight Certificate if required.
Certificate of inspection if required.
Embassy attested documents if required. (Documents would have to be attested by Embassy of importing country at the origin/exporting country)
Bank Documents required for completing and fulfilling the financial transaction.
These would be as per the Purchase order / Letter of Credit requirements as agreed while finalizing the transaction between exporter and importer.
Export documents are an essential part of the entire journey of a cargo from the Exporter’s port to the Importer’s. They contain all relevant details safeguarding the interests of all trading parties in case of any unfortunate incident. To ensure for an easy smooth export/import clearance process it is essential that exporter/importer has an error-free complete set of documents as required by the exporting/importing countries regulatory requirements.