The export process is one long journey of cargo that necessitates and demands a handful of paperwork. It starts with the shipping contract between an importer and exporter, while it ends only after the cargo reaches its defined destination. It is not easy to send goods through seaborne or airborne transportation from one country to another. Every person associated with the export process must know the implication and significance of each document to help facilitate a smooth shipment.
The success of an export process depends entirely upon the management process and how well one files all the documents. For conducting each step effectively, an exporter does not only need the help of a reliable shipping partner who can handle the formalities but also needs to have ample knowledge of all the important documents required in the export shipping process. To know and understand more about the export documentation, click here for more information.
It is only possible to maintain a healthy life cycle of an export business if the parties involved in it keep a clean and legal record of all the documentation.
The technologically advanced facilities of the leading shipping companies have minimized the need for filing the documents manually.
Essential Documents for Export Process
The international shipping industry works in a systematically organised chain process where every individual knows his role and responsibilities. The required documents for initiating an export process hold a legal significance. As per the FTP (Foreign Trade Policy) 2015-20, there are three core documents that an exporter must produce for exporting his consignment.
Every experienced exporter is well-aware of the importance of a shipping bill in the trade business. It is a legal document that a seller/exporter has to submit as a form of application for availing clearance from the customs department. The CHA (Customs House Agent) usually works on behalf of the exporter and completes the formalities involved to get the seal of approval on the shipping bill.
The customs department distinguishes the shipping bills by changing its colour depending upon the nature of goods. Therefore, every trader must deem it necessary to have sufficient knowledge about all the colours and how it matters in the export process.
Commercial Invoice Cum Packing List
On 1st April 2015, the Indian customs changed the regulations for the commercial invoice and packing list. Earlier, exporters had to submit both these documents separately. After the customs department made the changes, it is now up to the exporter to decide whether they want to merge the invoice and the list or submit them as usual.
The commercial invoice comprises the details of the importer, exporter and the goods. It serves as a contract of sale in the trade business. The packing list gives a detailed description of the nature, quantity and quality of goods. It enlists all the essential details related to the freight shipment that the customs department needs to examine.
Bill of Lading (B/L)
The Bill of Lading is the third most important document that serves as the legal contract of carriage between the exporter and the carrier/shipper. The exporter also needs to send this duly signed document to the importer so that he can accept the shipment at his end. This bill includes almost all the details related to the freight shipment. Without the Bill of Lading, a trader cannot commence the export process.
Other Documents Required in the Export Process
There are many other documents that an exporter has to provide at different stages of freight shipment to keep the cargo on its way. Some common ones are:
Proforma Invoice – The proforma invoice initiates the export process as it is the first document that specifies all the details related to the shipment and its payment. The buyer requests this document and the exporter responds by fulfilling all the details in it.
Certificate Of Origin – This legal paper certifies the country of origin of the goods. This document is vital to get import customs clearance and to identify the exact duty rates that will apply to the freight shipment.
Bill of Exchange – The exporters use this document to ask their buyer for payment.
Inspection Checklist – Some importers may demand this document to have a legal verification of the quality of goods and packaging.
FEMA Declaration – This document is a replacement of the Self-Declaration form whereby the exporter commits his consent to the FEMA (Foreign Exchange Management Act), 1999 regulations.
LEO (Let Export Order) – After examining the shipping bill, the customs department issues the LEO document declaring clearance on the shipment.
Traders have to abide by the laws and submit all the necessary documents in the export process whenever and wherever demanded. The best way to do so is by taking the help of an experienced and well-renowned shipping partner or logistics service provider. The key to success in the trade business lies in the efficacy of the parties who perform the tasks.