Documentation Guide

The information below will give you a good idea of the documents you need when shipping cargo. It will also give you a clear picture of just how we can help.

Bill of Lading

A bill of lading is a receipt, issued by the carrier once your cargo has been loaded onto a vessel. This receipt can be used as proof of shipment for customs and insurance. Or, it can act as commercial proof that a contractual obligation has been completed – especially under Incoterms such as CFR and FOB. The bill of lading itself details a shipment of merchandise, including the title of the goods. Once the carrier issues you with this document, they’re required to deliver the cargo to the appropriate party.

New Export System (NES)

NES is an electronic export processing system, developed by Customs in consultation with the export trade. Under NES, customs are moving to a standard system based on positive clearance. This means that NES declarations will have to be put into the CHIEF system (Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight) and validated. Clearance then needs to be given by customs before your cargo can be shipped.

NES declarations are submitted to customs electronically. Thanks to our own electronic link to the CHIEF system, we can complete NES entries on your behalf – saving you the time and the hassle.

Certificate of origin

A certificate of origin helps to establish:

  • Whether your product is entitled to preferential duties in the importing country
  • Your goods do not come from a nation which the importing country has placed trade restrictions against

The certificate of origin must be certified and/or legalised by the relevant country’s Embassy and Chamber of Commerce. As a member of both institutes, we can complete the document for you and have it stamped on your behalf. We can even issue the Euro and Arab Certificates of Origin.

EUR1 certificate

EUR1 is a joint venture between the EU and various non-EU countries to attract mutual trade. Put simply, it offers a reduction of duty for goods originating in participating countries. The EUR1 certificate is a proof of origin, allowing you to claim a reduction on your goods. It needs to be stamped by the customs office in question and must be accompanied by original, signed commercial invoices.

As part of our comprehensive service, we can act on your behalf, getting all your EUR1 documents to signed and stamped at HM customs.

ECTN/BESC (Cargo Tracking Note)

Often needed when shipping to most West Africa countries, Cargo Tracking Notes are essential when shipping to the Republic of Congo, Cameroon, Benin and Togo. But don’t worry. If you’re not sure where to start, or don’t want the hassle, we can arrange them on your behalf.

Advance Manifest Filing (AMS) and ISF for United States Cargo and ACI for Canadian cargo

AMS/ACI and ISF documents are mandatory when moving USA-bound cargo. They’re basically a form of electronic pre-arrival information sent to US and Canadian ports. We don’t just have the ability to file AMS/ACI and ISF on your behalf. We offer great range of advice on imports and exports to destinations that enforce countless, complex rules and restrictions.

Here’s a list of some of the destinations you can expect to encounter extra procedures, restrictions and documentation requests:

Angola Iraq
Argentina Israel
Benin Ivory Coast
Brazil Kenya Mexico
Cameroon Nigeria
Canada Pakistan
China Philippines
Cuba Qatar
Colombia Taiwan
Congo (Democratic Republic of) Tanzania
Congo Turkey
Ecuador United Arab Emirates
Egypt United States
Gabon Venezuela