Global Freight Documents You Need!

What Kind of Global Freight documents do you require for your shipment?

Global freight documents. People will generally query as to what kind of documents would be required to provide their customs broker. When importing documentation is the most essential element. It is to ensure that your shipment clearance is smooth. Customs and Quarantine require this information, to accurately process your shipment and assess the risks of your consignment.
When Forwarding documentation to your customs broker always ensure that you have them check your shipping documents.

General Documents

Global freight documents can be quite time consuming to learn and initiate.  Yet they are the most integral part of the import and export process. Listed below are
a few documents that you will most likely require at the bare minimum.

  • Bill of Lading
    The bill of lading is used when the goods are travelling by a sea freight consignment. This is necessary in terms of it is a direct contract between the owner of the goods
    and the carrier that is moving them. Freight forwarders can issue it without it being directly from the carrier. This means that although they are the owner of the party
    on the bill of lading , the forwarder will supply a house bill. Whoever is named on the house bill ultimately is still the responsible party of the goods.

    Master Airway Bill
    Global freight documents like the master airway bill serve as necessary documents if the mode of transport is via air. The airway bill will contain key details about the shipment. Again this is very necessary to product to your freight agent to customs clear or to even pickup the goods from the airline. If the goods have moved under a forwarders bill then ensure that your
    freight agent has the original master bill to pickup the cargo. It is a direct contract of carriage from the airlines to the party responsible for the goods.
  • Commercial Invoice

    Commercial invoices are most certainly also a required document when initiating customs clearance and a freight move. Always ensure that your supplier has this form of document and don’t take a proforma invoice. Customs does not accept pro forma invoices. Whatever anybody says its not what you can go with. Commercial invoice is a sales transaction between the seller and buyer. Ensure that it has an invoice number and link to other documents.

  • Packing list


    The packing list is another global freight document that your supplier may send you. This can be great and very helpful for warehouse, customs clearance teams and freight brokers to understand what commodity is in what box.  You can have this document ready just in case a piece goes missing or is damaged. They can identify which goods it was, box, line number and help sort the problem out very quick. This document is not necessary for customs clearance but helps.

  • Packing Declaration ( If the cargo is travelling via Sea)A packing declaration is essential in the customs clearance process. This is a declaration by your supplier that the goods have only approved packing. This document is screened by quarantine. If no document is produced then this will send the goods for quarantine inspection. You can always have this on hand and speculate very clearly to the supplier to be honest. Always use approved timber for pallets and other packing methods. When in doubt speak to your freight agent or customs broker to avoid any other extra charges from quarantine. Packing declarations are another vital global freight document that must be submitted or your goods cannot be cleared.


How do I know what other documents I need? – Need advice or a quick quote? – Contact Us

There are always other documents that need to be lodged. Try to check the customs fact sheet to see if your goods require any special permits , Phytosantiary Certificates, Fumigation or other necessary documentation for Quarantine. A useful tip is to ensure before you import you have all the necessary paperwork on hand. This relates to Approved permits. An Example.
The importer decides to import a used vehicle. Used vehicles require a Import Approval from Quarantine. Ensure that you apply for this approval before you import the vehicle or you will incur large charges at the wharf and it might have to be put into storage. This will be costed onto daily and can run into thousands of dollars depending on the time it sits at the wharf, while you seek Quarantine permit approvals.

When you feel as though you are not sure, the best thing to do is give one of our key consultants a quick call. If you don’t understand the bill of lading, the requirements, contract of carriage. Let us be the one to help you go through it. We can then discuss if there is any uncertainty regarding the query. Always liaising with your chosen consultant means that they have an understanding of your needs and you of them in their workings.  This is our key relationships form, which lead to successful growth and a prosperous future together. You can also find out more information about quarantine or customs documents on the regulatory websites.

Get a broker to guide you further when documentation advice is necessary. Remember, its very important to not only have the right documentation to not delay your shipment, allowing it to sit in storage but also to ensure the data and links are correct for your consignment.


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