One of the most important aspects of exporting is documentation. This is especially the case if you are trying to ship internationally in Ghana. Here are some of the most commonly used export documents to look out for:
Pro forma Invoice
A pro forma invoice is a preliminary bill of sale that can be used as a negotiating tool between the seller and the buyer before an export shipment. This document is also the final commercial invoice used when goods are cleared through customs in the importing country. It contains information like weight, quantity, price, and other specifications and is a declaration from the seller to deliver the promised products by the specified date to the buyer.
The commercial invoice is a legal document between the buyer and exporter, serving as a contract and proof of sale between the seller and buyer. It helps determine customs duties and allows governments to figure out the true value of goods being sold. Thus, a commercial invoice must include information about the price, quantity, and value of the goods in question.
This list identifies all the goods that are being shipped to your international customer and covers details such as gross and net weight. It is much more detailed than a standard domestic packing list and must include information like the dimensions of packages, appropriate measurement units, modes of transport, and more. It also helps shipments arrive at the right destinations. It is not a replacement for a commercial invoice and can serve as a conforming document.
Certificate of Origin
In certain countries, you may need to provide a certificate of origin to verify your good’s country of origin. Usually, exporters need an official organization like the Chamber of Commerce or the consulate of the destination country to sign off their certificate of origin documents.
Shipper’s Letter of Instruction
A shipper’s letter of instruction lets freight forwarders know how and where to handle export shipments. It serves various purposes like reporting information, supplying transportation and documentation instructions, and providing export control.
Bill of Lading
Usually, there are three original bills of lading:
- Inland bill of lading - This is the first transportation document needed for international shipping.
- Airway bill of lading - Pertains to products shipped by aircraft.
- Ocean bill of lading - Goods transported by vessels require this type of bill of lading.
Other documents that are essential for successful exporting are:
- Dangerous goods forms
- Bank drafts
The documents above are just some of the documents that are necessary for smooth international shipping. All exporters that wish to succeed in the trading world need to remain abreast of the changing laws and requirements of the international market at all times.
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