Key Shipping Documents Used In The Export Business And The Organisations That Issue Them

Key Export Shipping Documents And The Organisations That Issue Them | Image Source: Pexels

Upon shipping commodities from one port to another, certain documents are issued, and depending on what the product and its origin is, the issuing body of the documents will/may vary.

If you’re a new or prospective exporter, it’s important that you don’t just know what these documents are, but that you also know the organisations issuing them so that you can always know where to obtain them or lodge complaints.

Here we’ll be focusing on non-oil commodities, and some documents usually requested are:

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1). Bill of Lading:

This is a form of receipt issued by the shipping line to acknowledge receipt of your cargo on their vessel. This document is required all over the world to identify every shipment and is verifiable from every point.

The organisation that issues the bill of lading is the shipping line you used to ship your cargo.


2). Certificate of Origin:

The certificate of origin is a certificate that shows evidence that the cargo sailed from the origin country that it is claimed to have sailed from.

The organisation that issues the Certificate of Origin is the Chamber of Commerce in your country. In Nigeria, that is the Nigerian Association Of Chamber Of Commerce Industry Mines And Agriculture (NACCIMA).

See Also: 6 International Commodity Testing Labs And Inspection Companies You Can Use To Guarantee The Quality Of Goods Before And During Export


3). Certificate of Analysis:

The certificate of analysis is a certificate showing the inspection report of the product and listing its physical and/or chemical properties. This certificate gives clarity to the exporter and importer on the quality of goods they are shipping.

The organisation that issues the certificate of analysis are usually private organisations like Eyeview inspection, Bureau Veritas, SGS, Cotecna, and the likes.


4). Phytosanitary Certificate:

The phytosanitary certificate is a certificate proving that at the time of stuffing the shipping container with the goods, there were no insects present in the cargo. This is important to avoid the importation of foreign pests into a country and to avoid the importation of insect-infested products into the country.

The organisation that issues the phytosanitary certificate is the quarantine body in your country. In Nigeria, it is the Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS).

See Also: 20+ Likely Questions International Buyers Ask Exporters Before Doing Business With Them And How To Answer


5). Fumigation Certificate:

The fumigation certificate is a certificate issued to prove that the shipping container was fumigated after the goods were put into the container. It can also be issued after a warehouse is fumigated.

In Nigeria, the organisation that issues the Fumigation Certificate is the Federal Produce. Some other private organisations can also issue a fumigation certificate.


6). Health Certificate:

The health certificate is a certificate issued to prove that the goods being shipped are safe for human consumption.

The organisation that issues it in Nigeria vary, and could also vary in your country, but a popular one is the Port health certificate issued before shipping.

See Also: 7 Logistic Mistakes To Never Make When Transporting Commodities


7). Marine Insurance Policy Certificate:

The marine insurance policy certificate is the certificate issued to insure the cargo against various forms of risks that can happen to it en route to the destination.

The marine insurance policy certificate is issued by any insurance company that offers marine insurance as a service.


8). Commercial Invoice:

The commercial invoice is an invoice confirming the total quantity and amount of money to be paid by the importer. This invoice is prepared and issued by the exporter to the importer.

See Also: 7 Ways To Ensure You Maximise Your Profits On Every Export Transaction


9). Packing List:

The packing list shows a full list of the products in the container, their packing method, and the overall weight.

The packing list is prepared and issued by the exporter to the importer.


10). Specially Requested Certificates:

From time to time importers may ask for some special certificates. These certificates may vary due to the country the goods are been shipped to. but some of these certificates are:

  • NAFDAC Certificate
  • FDA Certificate
  • ISO Certificate
  • HACCP Certificate
  • FSMS Certificate
  • GMP Certificate
  • BRC Certificate
  • HALAL Certificate
  • KOSHER Certificate

See Also: What To Do If An International Buyer Won’t Pay For The Commodities You Exported To Them


What are your thoughts on these shipping documents and their issuing bodies? Let me know by leaving a comment below.