Required Documents for the International Shipping of Produce

Commercial Documents

Commercial Invoice – Proof of Value

  • The commercial invoice contains information on a transaction between exporter and importer and is always required for customs clearance. This invoice should include detailed information of names and addresses of importer and exporter, description of goods and their value (both per unit and total), total invoice value and currency, terms of delivery and payment, means of transport.
  • Sample Template

Certificate of Origin – Proof of origin

  • A Certificate of Origin is an important international trade document which identifies the origin of goods being exported and is issued by a Chamber of Commerce.  It is required by customs in the buyer’s country to determine tariff rates and determine the origin of the goods.
  • Sample Template

Shipping and transport documents

Bill of lading – Proof of shipment

  • The Bill of Lading (or BOL) is one of the most important freight shipping documents because it fulfils three purposes: 1) it acts as evidence of a contract between the shipper and the carrier; 2) it serves as a receipt of freight services and goods; and 3) it is a document of title, or ownership, of goods.
  • Sample Template

*Contract between supplier and carrier evidencing delivery of goods to the care and custody of the carrier.

Packing list – Proof of packing

  • The packing list identifies items in the shipment and includes the net and gross weight and dimensions of the packages. It identifies any markings that appear on the packages, and any special instructions for ensuring the safe delivery of the goods to their final destination.
  • Sample Template

Inspection certificate – Proof of quality

  • Certificate of inspection. A document certifying that merchandise (such as perishable goods) was in good condition at the time of inspection, usually immediately prior to shipment. Pre-shipment inspection is a requirement for the importation of goods into many developing countries.
  • Sample Template

Insurance certificate – Proof of insurance

Health Certificate or Phytosanitary Certification 

  • Phytosanitary Certificate is a certificate that certifies plant and plant products are free from regulated pests and conforms with other phytosanitary requirements as specified from the importing country.
  • Sample Template

Consular Invoice or Legalised commercial documents

Draft or Bill of Exchange

  • A conditional order in writing, addressed by one person to another, signed by the person giving it, requiring the person to whom it is addressed to pay on demand or at a fixed or determinable future time a sum certain in money to or to the order of a specified person, or to bearer.
  • Sample Template

Official documents required by specific importers country

  • EUR1 

Use form C1299 to claim preferential duty rates on goods exported to countries that have a preferential trading agreement with the European Community.


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