The Earth is now a huge community, thanks to technology. It is now possible to get commodities not available in your locality from outside your country’s borders. It is easier to import products that are needed by the residents in a particular place or country. Most people who see such an opportunity, however, end up with significant losses when they overlook one crucial element of importation. This is the customs clearance.

The biggest mistake they make is opting to handle their importation needs on their own instead of hiring a customs clearance broker since they want to reduce their expenses. After all, they assume that customs clearance is as simple as having a well-written commercial invoice and paying various duties and taxes. But obtaining a customs clearance is not an easy task. Among the key documents that most people overlook or find challenging to understand is freight documentation.

The following are the types of freight documentation necessary for getting clearance for your imports:

Bill of Lading

A shipping company should issue this to an operating shipper to convey the title of your goods. This means the bearer of a bill of lading is the goods’ owner during their transportation. The document also acknowledges and acts as proof of the receipt of commodities on board the shipping vessel. The bill of lading will contain details of the port of destination, the goods being transported, and the vessel.

There are different types of bills of lading. A cleans bill of lading, for instance, will prove that the goods have been received in good condition while a dirty or unclean bill indicates the opposite.

Road Waybill

This is required for goods that will be transported by land. It contains the details on international goods consignment set by the CMR convention. A road waybill is signed by a carrier and consignor and allows the latter to have the goods being transported at his disposal during their transport.

A road waybill comes in quadruplicate. The first copy is the consignor’s, the second is the carrier’s; the third one accompanies the goods while the fourth is signed by a consignee and is returned to the consignor. This document is non-negotiable and does not confer a title for the imports.

TIR Carnets

freight operator officers reviewing carnet

These are custom transit papers required for the transportation of goods, which will be partly done by road. TIR carnets allow the transportation under the TIR procedure set in the 1975 TIR convention. This requires goods to be transported in secure containers or vehicles and the custom control measures of their country of origin be accepted by the destination country.

ATA Carnets

The chamber of commerce in most industrialized countries issues these documents. They allow you to import goods without paying certain taxes and customs duties temporarily. Professional goods for use or presentation at exhibitions and commercial samples are among the products for which an ATA carnet might be issued.

The above freight documents are only a tip of the iceberg in those required for the importation of goods. That said, you can’t afford to import any products regardless of their financial worth and amount without an expert custom clearance broker. The amount you spend in hiring the broker is a drop in the ocean compared to the fines you might pay if the authorities find that you are lacking proper documents.

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