I bet everyone had been awed at least once at the sheer sight of a port – usually by its sheer massiveness in size with a widespread of different coloured containers stacked atop each other with mobile cranes towering over them. By the sight of it – everything seems organized but have you ever thought what processes have to be undergone in order to ensure everything flows on time as freight is an industry where operations have to function right on the dot.
Because freight and shipping involves the transfer items internationally – and this carries risks in terms of border security. In order to allow items into a country, appropriate legal documents is required to ensure the safety of the item as well as to abide to the country’s laws i.e. to have permits in place. Commercially. there will be the requirement of purchase documents such as invoices, orders & tracking documents.
Whether importing or exporting, the shipping documentation required to be provided is essential. Having the shipping documents completed in the correct manner will determine how quickly the shipment moves through its intended destination. Incorrect document completion can even affect the costs.With legislation constantly changing, it can be challenging to stay on top of your obligations. By getting the basics right you can significantly ease the shipping process.
So, what documents are involved in these processes? Here’s a showcase of the involvement of various documents – which we will expand a little more on later in this post.
- Quotes, Proforma Invoices & Orders between consignees & consigners
- Incoterms & Agreements
- Engagement of Freight forwarder & letters of credit
- Commercial invoices , packings list & certification of origins
- Declarations, permits & dangerous goods
Furthermore, container management & inspections happen so often to ensure smooth shipment transit processes.
So with the copious amount of document related shipping processes – it would be handy to know step by step what the document requirements are and to cognize how Bluebeam Revu may be handy in the management of these documentations as well.
Step 1: Importers’ requests, quotes & orders
The first step in the shipping process is when an importer orders goods from a supplier and asks for a quote. Sometimes a proforma invoice is provided whereby it is used to provide an estimate and can be subject to change. Once the quote has been approved, a purchase order is created. Usually these documents are generated and sent to and fro via a pdf format. Need to edit or mark up any of the documents, Bluebeam Revu can be used to do so. Information such as projected shipping date, origin and destination addresses as well as the freight dimensions are usually listed in these documents and editing them is quite common.
Step 2: Agreeing on Shipping Incoterms
When a buyer issues a purchase order to a supplier, the contract should be governed by Incoterms – which are terms that allocate responsibilities such as costs and risks between the buyer and seller when shipping from Point A to Point B. The Incoterms will also determine which party needs to engage a freight forwarder for the individual stages of the shipping process. Bluebeam Session can be used to discuss Incoterms in real time and added into document.
Step 3: Obtaining a Letter of Credit
When an order is made, a common way to pay the supplier is to obtain a letter of credit which is one of the most secure payment methods in international shipping. It’s essentially a binding legal agreement issued by a financial institution guaranteeing payment for the goods.A buyer will typically apply for a letter of credit with a bank, outlining everything in their order. When the bank finalises the letter, they will submit it to the supplier’s bank, who will then check it off to ensure the supplier agrees with the terms and conditions before manufacturing of the goods commences. Bluebeam Studio can be used to manage and store relevant legal documents. The digital signing of forms iwith Bluebeam signature ID may also be used for legal documents as well.
Step 4: Issuing of Commercial Invoice
The next step is that the supplier will provide the importer with an order confirmation and a commercial invoice.
Step 5: Freight forwarder arranges export
When working with a forwarder, the agent will be in contact their overseas partner to arrange collection of the the items.
The overseas representative will in turn contact the relevant supplier and arrange for the export of the buyer’s goods. This will involve the preparation of several key documents used in the international shipping process which are required for customs purposes
Step 6: Preparation of documents
Each country has different requirements for export/import customs clearance. In order to prepare a shipment for export, generally the following documents are required:
Documents that need to be prepared by the supplier
- Packing list
- Certificate of Origin
- Shipper’s letter of instruction (SLI)
- Australian Packing Declaration
- A manufacturer’s declaration
- Dangerous Goods Form
- Export declaration
Documents that need to be prepared by the buyer
The buyer may also be required to obtain certain declarations and permits, such as:
- Permit for export or import of prohibited goods
- Import declaration
- N10 Declaration: This will need to be completed if the goods have a value of over $AUD1,000. Importers will also need to pay the relevant taxes, charges and duties;
- Self Assessed Clearance Declaration; If a buyer’s goods arrive by sea or air and have a value of equal to or less than AUD $1,000, they’ll be required to fill out a SAC declaration
- N20 Warehouse declaration: If a buyer intends to place their imported goods in a warehouse before clearing them from customs (and their value exceeds AUD$1,000), they’ll require a Warehouse Declaration.
- Import Permit/Permission (i.e. Biosecurity Import Conditions Permit )
Step 7: Goods to travel to international depot/port
When a carrier arrives to pick up the goods, a bill of lading is issued – confirming that the goods were received by the carrier in an acceptable condition. This acts as proof of legal title over goods. Several bills of lading may be involved in a shipment such as when a separate bill of lading is needed to be issued by an ocean carrier to a supplier for different legs of the journey (i.e. land & sea). The supplier will then need to provide the bill of lading to the buyer. The buyer will be required to present the bill of lading in order to secure the release of the shipment and claim ownership over the goods. Again, this is usually coordinated through a freight forwarding company and can be expedited with the use of Bluebeam Revu.
Step 8: Goods processed through export customs clearance and placed in transit
Prior to departure, the goods will be processed through export customs clearance. This is where all documentation is reviewed and checked by government agencies.
If the export is cleared, those goods will then be placed in international transit. There are several modes of transport a buyer can select to transport their freight when shipping by sea, including:
- Full Container Load (FCL): Where the shipment of one buyer using a full container;
- Lesser Container Load (LCL): Where a buyer’s goods don’t take up the whole container (instead, the goods take up less of the container) and are stored with other buyers’ goods;
- Reefer is essentially a large fridge used to refrigerate goods while in transit – reefers are normally used to transport goods like fruits, meat, vegetables, dairy and fish;
- Out of Gauge (OOG) also known as break bulk, these are loads that are basically too big to fit into a container (and usually come with an extra surcharge);
- Flat Racks: Buyers can choose flat racks – these are great for goods that do not fit in normal shipping containers (like break and OOG loads).
Bluebeam Revu can differentiate these different modes of transport via pre-built stamp types.
Step 9: Goods arrive in buyer’s country for import clearance
Once the goods pass through customs and are good to go, they will then be delivered to the buyer or agreed delivery point. Once, again, the incoterms on the shipment will determine who arranges this.
In A Nutshell – Bluebeam Revu can help with the management of your shipping documentations.