Delivery and documentation: an introduction

Sandra Strong is one of the founding partners of Strong and Herd LLP, a widely respected import/export consultancy, and has nearly 30 years’ experience in international trade. She was awarded a Fellowship of the Institute of Export (IoE) in 2011 for services to UK companies. She is also a Certified International Trade Advisor and a member of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC).

Sandra is an expert in trade documentation and the import, export and customs procedures in-line with HMRC standards. She regularly runs training courses through Strong and Herd as well as assisting with the day-to-day activity of the Shipping Office and OneCall client support services with audits and reviews.

Here, Sandra talks us through the key issues for delivery and documentation…

Having the right paperwork is a crucial step in your export journey. Missing or inaccurate documents can lead to delays and extra costs, increase your risks or even prevent your sales from being completed.

But don’t be too daunted – it’s just a matter of being aware of what you need to do at each stage, what should be in your contracts and what paperwork you need for customs, transport and delivery, and payment.

Even if you use a freight forwarder or an agent, it’s still up to you to make sure the right documentation is used and completed. So, if you are putting an international order together for shipping for the first time, this is what you need to bear in mind.

  • What have you agreed to do?
  • What is the product you will be transporting?
  • Which country is it going to?
  • Are you responsible for the freight?

Find out more in the accompanying article Shipping your first international order

It is important to consider what documents are required before you are ready to ship.  If export or import licences are needed or special certificates then you must ensure you have enough time to obtain these documents before shipment.

Also, some documents cost money, for example Certificate of Origin (CofO) for goods moving to the Middle East issued via a Chamber of Commerce.  Ensure you know these costs in advance so you are covering them in your selling price.

Preparation will make sure you don’t unavoidable mistakes. Get your documentation right and you’ll find out exporting is an exciting and profitable way to grow your business!

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