International freight documentation – why we need it!

International freight documentation – why we need it!

Freight documents, Land, Air, Rail

To be able to transfer a merchandise internationally, whether by land, sea or air, it is essential that we take into account all the documentation. We will need to process this documentation in order to comply with the regulations and requirements of the corresponding customs.

As a general rule, it is a task that mainly falls to the freight forwarders, which will be responsible for carrying out the corresponding procedures so that the goods arrive correctly and safely at their destination. Whether it is the importing company itself that wants to take care of it, or not, it is convenient to know all the procedures and documentation that is needed internationally to be able to be aware if any incident arises. We must also take into account that the documentation will vary depending on the means of transport defined for each commercial operation, so it will not be the same documents that we have to fill out, for example; land transport or an option for air transport.

The various documentation for the international transport of goods, by type of transport are;

Road Transport Letter (CMR)

In this document for carriers and operators, all the variables are detailed, as well as the obligations and responsibilities of the parties involved in the commercial transaction, in this case of land transport of goods by road. The information in this document, of a contractual nature, will depart from the exporting company, will be filled out by the truck driver and must be signed by the recipient to confirm that the merchandise has reached its destination correctly. Depending on the type of Incoterms agreed, the CMR may also issue the importer directly, which must be brought to the attention of all those involved in the logistics process. In the case of an international road transfer between countries outside the European Union, the TIR (Transport International Routier) regime or agreement must also be signed.

Rail transport letter (CIM)

This is a rail transport contract that reflects the exporter, freight forwarder and consignee data and, at the same time, represents compliance with the international agreement on the transport of goods by rail and the agreement on international rail transport (COTIF). In this case, the transport document is prepared by the railway company, the exporter or the transport agent that is in charge of collecting the goods, depending on the type of incoterm that has been defined. And the document must, in turn, be signed by the recipient or buyer and must pass through the import customs.

Air Waybill Knowledge (AWB)

It is an air transport contract in which the operation is detailed and the intervenors and goods are specified. This document is prepared by the IATA agent (International Air Transport Association), also called the air transport agent, or the airline that will carry out the merchandise transfer. It will also be brought to the knowledge of the exporter, customs and the importer.

Bill of Lading Bill of Lading

The commonly known as “bill of lading” is a contractual document of maritime transport that accredits the ship of the goods and indicates the participants in the process. Normally, this document is issued by the shipping agent in charge of carrying the shipment and serves so that both the exporter, the shipping company and the importer are aware of all the details about the transfer of the merchandise. There are different variants of this document (to order, bearer, express release, house), which differ depending on the shipment.

Multimodal Bill of Lading (FBL, Forwarder Bill of Lading)

Forwarder Bill of Lading is the unique document or contract that reflects the transport of the merchandise (always in complete containers) when several means of transport are combined for this. This is a document prepared by freight forwarders belonging to FIATA (International Federation of Associated Freight Forwarders) and Multimodal Transport Operators (OTM). This document will be especially important for both the exporter and the importer and the aforementioned OTM.

Transportation Insurance Certificate

It is essential, in any type of international freight transport, to have insurance that proves that said merchandise is covered. This document, always original, should reflect the information about the name of the insurer, the type of coverage, the amount of insurance and its conditions. In addition to the previous contracts and documents, it will be necessary to present, together with the merchandise, the following:

Commercial invoice

Document detailing the items sold / purchased, as well as the concept, quantity and amount and taxes thereof. This document must be prepared by the exporter and will be of interest to the importer and the import customs.

Packing list

This is the list of contents, the merchandise itself. This list should reflect the invoice number to which it corresponds, as well as the description of the products or raw materials, their weight, quantity, number of packages, numbering and shipping marks. It is prepared by the exporter and must be brought to the attention of the importer and all the parties involved in the transfer, including export and import customs

Delivery note or “Delivery Note”

The delivery note or delivery note will serve, on the one hand, to prove the departure of the merchandise from the exporter and, on the other, to attest to the delivery of the merchandise at destination, to the importer, who must sign it and keep a copy for Check that what you have received is correct. The other copy will be for the logistics operator, to prove that the merchandise has been delivered to its destination.