International Trade Documentation

International trade requires expertise in the full range of documentation necessary to export goods from one country, transport the goods internationally, and import to another country, in compliance with the rules and regulations of both countries. The key to preventing delays, minimizing cost overruns, and breezing through customs is in knowing the rules and preparing perfect documentation in advance of every shipment.

Overseas Brokers offers the following international trade documentation services:

  • Harmonized system commodity classification helps customs understand the type of goods being shipped and ensures the correct duty rates are applied if applicable
  • Dock receipts are used to ensure that ocean cargo delivered to port is loaded on board the correct ship to the proper destination against the appropriate booking number assigned by the carrier
  • SLI (shipper’s letter of instructions) ensures that carriers and destination agents know how to route, handle and collect payment for shipments
  • AES – Automated Export System is the method we use for filing international shipment details to the census bureau electronically
  • Commercial invoices are required for all commercial shipments stating the cargo description, composition, HS code, quantity, value, seller and buyer name and address, country of origin, and other information depending on the relevant trade regulations
  • Certificates of origin are issued and endorsed by the relevant chamber of commerce certifying the origin of the goods for customs purposes
  • Ocean bills of lading are issued for every ocean shipment as a contract of carriage, showing shipper/exporter, consignee, description matching the commercial invoice, shipping marks, container number when relevant, number of pieces, weight, volume, booking number, forwarding agent, points of origin and destination, ports of loading and discharge, freight payment terms, on board signature and date of departure. Original bills of lading serve as proof of receipt by the carrier as well as a certificate of ownership for the consignee. Freight cannot be released without presentation of an original bill of lading unless express released between parties with ongoing relationships.
  • Airway bills are similar to ocean bills of lading for air shipments. They show the shipper and consignee, airport of departure and arrival, description matching the commercial invoice, weight, measurements, shipping marks, signature of the carrier, flight details, air waybill number, date and freight payment terms.
  • House air waybills (HAWB) and house bills of lading for ocean shipments (HBL) are non-negotiable documents issued in cases where another layer of agents is required between the exporter and consignee or between the client and forwarding agent for purposes of payment collection, deconsolidation, control of cargo, etc.
  • Packing lists are prepared for customs and for control purposes showing descriptions, quantities, marks and packaging
  • Inspection certificates are required by customs in some countries and by buyers in some cases. We coordinate inspections with all inspection agencies such as SGS, Cotecna, Bureau Veritas, Intertek, and others
  • Customs POA is a power of attorney required by customs brokers to clear customs on behalf of the consignee
  • Export licenses are required for products that are subject to trade restrictions. Exporters are guided how to check if an export license is required and how to apply
  • ATA Carnet is a document allowing temporary import of goods without payment of duty and guaranteeing the destination country’s customs authorities that the goods will be re-exported. The ATA carnet serves as an international passport for cargo that is imported for a specific time-frame for purposes such as trade shows, exhibitions, competitions, photo shoots, repairs, testing, art events, etc. Carnets may be issued for multiple countries for goods that must travel between countries
  • Insurance certificates are issued for each shipment stating all the particulars of the shipment, insured value and terms of coverage
  • Forwarder’s certificates of receipt (FCR) are documents issued for letter of credit banking as proof of receipt of goods named in the L/C, when the terms require proof of receipt prior to bill of lading issuance
  • NAFTA certificates of origin are required for preferential trade terms between the US, Canada and Mexico. We provide full guidance in NAFTA C.O. preparation by exporters
  • A variety of documents are required for export and for import of various commodities that are subject to the jurisdiction of various federal entities and rulings such as the LACEY act, EPA regulations, fish & wildlife protection, USDA-APHIS, phytosanitary inspection certificates for agricultural products etc. We provide guidance in preparing the required documentation and obtaining the required approvals from the governing agencies
  • ISPM-15 is a measure that ensures wood packing materials with a thickness above 6mm are treated to prevent the spread of disease and insects. We ensure that all wood packaging is compliant
  • ISF 10+2 is an importer security filing which is transmitted electronically to US customs before goods are loaded on an ocean vessel sailing to the US
  • Letter of credit banking includes a full suite of documentation services we provide to process payment by letter of credit on behalf of buyers, sellers and banks