Trade Documents

The documents required to the readily available export process can be categorized into 4 main tasks. Documents related to Transport, documents related to customs, documents related to insurance, and required documents. For a clear simple picture on this, you may refer following diagram.

Transport Documents

These documents consists of that the exporting or importing goods must be deliver to the named port, airport or place of delivery for the named shippers, airlines or transporters.

  • Air Way bill: This document confirms the delivery of goods to an airline or its agent for transportation by air to a named consignee according to the defined and agreed terms. This is a similar document to the Bill of Landing use by the air cargo operations.

Air way bill is consists with three originals and nine copies.

  • The first original is for the carrier and it is signed by an export agent.
  • The second original is consignee’s copy signed by an export agent.
  • The third original is signed by the carrier and is handed to the export agent as a Receipt for the goods.

Air bill assists as,

  • Proof of receipt of the goods for shipment.
  • An invoice for the freight.
  • A certificate of insurance.
  • A guide to airline staff for the handling, dispatch and delivery of the consignment.


  • Freight Arrival Notice: This document is issuing by the ground handling agent in the airport to inform the consignee of the arrival of the goods.


  • Bill of Landing: This is used by the sea transport. It states the agreement between the shipper and carrier and governs their relationship when goods are transported. The main functions of bill of landing are document of title, receipt of goods and evidence of contract of carriage.

Customs Documents

In international trade insurance guarantees importers and exporters against various types of losses, including damage to goods in transit, products injuring consumers and importer non-payment.

Requirements for completion of an insurance policy are as follows,

  • The name of the party in the favour which the documents has been issued.
  • The name of the vessel or flight details.
  • The place from where insurance is to commerce typically the sellers warehouse or the port of loading and the place where insurance cases usually the buyer’s warehouse or the port of destination.
  • Insurance value that specified in the credit.
  • Marks and numbers to agree with those on other documents.
  • The description of the goods, which must be consistent with that in the credit and on the invoice.
  • The name and address of the claims settling agent together with the place where claims are payable.
  • Countersigned where necessary.
  • Date of issue to be no later than the date of transport documents unless cover is shown to be effective prior to that date.

Importance of insurance certificate.

  • It acts as an evidence at the Letter of credit process.
  • Limits the liability of the carrier via various laws.
  • Provides coverage against physical damage of goods during transit.
  • It’s an evidence of risk coverage for merchandised ship.
  • Sometimes insurer takes risk of exporter and seize opportunities to expand their businesses into foreign markets.

Other documents

Certificate of origin: Certificate of Origin (CO) is a document confirming that goods in a particular export shipment are entirely obtained or produced or manufactured or processed in a particular country.

Qualifications required for the Certificate of Origin,

  1. The company should be approved and entered into agreements with the BOI.
  2. Exports should have been made to European countries.


Phytosanitary Certificate: Required for Fresh Fruits and Vegetables, Cut Flowers, Flour, Plants and Plant materials. It must verify that the product is free from specified epidemics and agricultural diseases.


Radiation Certificate: Some counties including Saudi Arabia may require this certificate for some plant and animal imports. The certificate states that the products are not contaminated by radioactivity.


Fumigation Certificate: This document provides evidence of the fumigation of exported goods. This form assists in the quarantine clearance of any goods of plant or animal origin. The seller is typically required to fumigate the commodity at a maximum of 15 days prior to loading.


Halal Certificate: This certificate is required by most countries in the Middle East, this certificate states that the fresh or frozen foods or poultry products were slaughtered in accordance with Islamic law.

Packing List: This is prepared for Examination purposes of customs. It contains quantity, description, weight, other non-pricing information. All information should be in metric measures. It states how the goods are packed and it should have 100% accurate information.

Inspection Certificate: Weight and Quality certificates should be provided in accordance with governing regulations for loading at port and loading at source/mill site as.

Black list certificate: Countries at war or with badly strained political relations may require evidence that:

  1. a) The origin of the goods is not that of a particular country
  2. b) That the parties involved (manufacturer, bank, insurance company, shipping line etc.) are not blacklisted or,
  3. c) That the ship or aircraft will not call at ports in such a country unless forced to do so.

Health, veterinary and sanitary certificates: These are required for official purposes in the purchase of foodstuffs, hides and skins, livestock and in the use of packing materials.

Certificate of Analysis: A certificate of analysis can be required for seeds, grain, health foods, dietary supplements, fruits and vegetables, and pharmaceutical products.

Other (Product-Specific) Certificates: Hairy products Certificate – to state that they are free from anthrax germs.

Used cloths – Disinfection certificate.

Grain & seeds – Fumigation Certificate/ Certificate of weight.

Animal fodder additives – Livestock Special Import Certificate.

Fisheries Certificate: The Fisheries Service conducts inspections and analyses of fishery commodities for export.

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