9 Critical Shipping Documents Required In Most Export Transactions
In every export transaction, especially non-oil export transactions, there are a series of procedures and documents that are standard and never get changed no matter the dynamics of the trade. While many other things can be flexible based on the agreement between the importer and the exporter, some are set in stone, as the receiving country would not allow the goods to enter their country without some specific documents being released and the exporting country too would not allow the goods to leave the country unless some documents have been issued or prepared.
If you’re an exporter or importer, here are the 9 key documents you must get for every non-oil export transaction you execute:
1). Bill of Lading:
The Bill of lading is one, if not the most important document in the shipping process. To ship any goods, a bill of lading is required and it is issued by a shipping line to an exporter to act as a receipt of the goods.
When the Bill of Lading is issued, it legally shows that the carrier has received the freight as described and is obligated to deliver that freight in good condition to the consignee (the receiver at the delivery port).
The original Bill of Lading is always given to the exporter by the shipping line only after the cargo has sailed from the origin port.
2). Certificate Of Origin:
A certificate of origin is a document prepared and issued by the origin country’s chamber of commerce declaring in which country the commodity or good was manufactured.
The certificate of origin contains information regarding the product, its destination, and the country of export and is usually obtained from the local chamber of commerce by the exporter.
In Nigeria, the exporter obtains the Certificate of Origin from The Nigerian Association Of Chamber Of Commerce Industry Mines And Agriculture Naccima (NACCIMA).
3). Commercial Invoice:
The commercial invoice is a legal document prepared and issued by an exporter to the importer that clearly describes the goods being sold and the amount due to the exporter.
The commercial invoice is one of the main documents used by the customs in determining customs duties both at the origin and destination ports.
4). Packing List:
The packing list is a document issued by the exporter to the importer that includes details about the contents of the shipment.
The packing list is intended to let transport agencies, government authorities, and customers know the contents of the package. These details help each of these parties handle the package accordingly.
5). Independent Inspection Certificate:
The independent inspection certificate is a document issued by a private inspection company like SGS, Bureau Veritas, Cotecna, Intertek, EyeView, and more, certifying that the merchandise was in good condition at the time of inspection, usually immediately prior to shipping the goods.
6). Government Inspection Certificate:
The government inspection certificate is a document called a Clean Certificate of Inspection (CCI) in many countries like Nigeria issued by the government through its inspection arm of the customs, certifying that the merchandise is exactly what the exporter claims they’re exporting and nothing else, and that the goods are in good export standards at the time of inspection prior to shipping the goods.
In Nigeria, COBALT issues the CCI.
7). Phytosanitary Certificate:
The phytosanitary certificate is an official declaration issued by the Quarantine Service of a country stating that the plants and plant material being exported are free from pests and diseases, so as to prevent the introduction and spread of any pests in the importing countries.
In Nigeria, the Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS) issues the quarantine certificate.
8). Fumigation Certificate:
The fumigation certificate, sometimes referred to as a pest-control certificate, is a document that serves as confirmation that the goods and any wooden packing materials (e.g pallets) used in the cargo shipment have been fumigated. They contain details such as treatment purpose, fumigants used, and temperature range.
In Nigeria, the fumigation certificate is usually issued by the Federal Produce parastatal. You can also get a complimentary fumigation certificate from private companies like SGS.
9). Specially Requested Certificates:
Specially requested certificates are special certificates requested by a buyer in a certain country. The buyer might have specific organic certificates, country-specific certificates (e.g FDA in the US), and much more requested before the goods can be allowed to enter their country. In this case, the exporter would need to determine all the certificates that are required by the importer and to see if any special certificates are feasible to obtain or not.
To Sum It Up
Exporting commodities without the proper documentation can cost international traders to pay high fines, or even worse, lose their entire investments. If you must ship commodities from your origin country to a destination country, ensure you have all the required documents requested by both the international community and the receiving country.
What are your thoughts on these 9 critical shipping documents required in most non-oil export transactions? Let me know by leaving a comment below.
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