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Sea freight export shipping process

Updated: 4 days ago

The work procedure for sea export transportation, when the transaction is made under CIF or CFR terms and arranged by the seller, is as follows:

1. Review the shipment terms in the letter of credit: To ensure the smooth progress of the export work, it is necessary to review the relevant shipment terms in the letter of credit upon its receipt. These terms include the shipment period, settlement period, loading port, destination port, whether transshipment or partial shipment is allowed, and whether a specific shipping company, vessel name, vessel nationality, and vessel class are specified. Some letters of credit may require various certificates, such as a certificate of route and vessel nationality certificate. I should consider whether these terms and provisions are reasonable or achievable based on our country's policies, international practices, and specific requirements when accepting or requesting modifications.

2. Prepare for inspection: This involves timely and quality preparation of the export goods according to the specifications, quantity, packaging, and other requirements specified in the export sales contract and the letter of credit. For refrigerated goods, cooling must be done to ensure that the goods meet the required temperature when loading. In China, products listed in the "Variety Table" specified by inspection agencies and products requiring certificates from inspection agencies according to the letter of credit or trade contract need to submit an "Export Inspection Application" for inspection before export customs clearance. Some export goods require weight verification, while others require phytosanitary, animal and plant quarantine, or health and safety inspections, all of which need to be arranged in advance to obtain qualified inspection certificates. Once the pre-shipment preparations are complete, including all necessary documents, the shipment can be processed.

3. Booking and Consignment: Prepare the export consignment note and proceed to arrange the booking with the freight forwarder. The freight forwarder, in accordance with the shipper's specific requirements and categorized by route, promptly books with the shipping company or its agents. The shipper can also book directly with the shipping company or its agents. When the shipping company or its agents issue the bill of lading, the booking process is considered complete, indicating the formation of the transportation contract between the consignor and the carrier.

4. Insurance: Once the cargo space is reserved, if the responsibility for insurance falls on the seller, the procedures for insuring the transportation of goods can be carried out. The insurance amount is usually based on the CIF value on the invoice (the percentage added for insurance is agreed upon by the buyer and seller; in the absence of an agreement, a general practice is to add 10% for insurance).

5. Goods in Port Area: After the loading plan of the vessel arriving at the port is confirmed, the consignor arranges for the consolidation of export goods in the port area within the specified time according to the port entry notice. This ensures that the goods are transported to the port area promptly, awaiting loading. It's essential to maintain close contact with the port area, the shipping company, and related transportation companies or railways to ensure timely receipt of goods, preventing any disruptions that could affect the loading schedule.

6. Customs Declaration: After the goods are consolidated in the port area, the consignor submits the prepared export goods customs declaration form, along with the bill of lading, invoice, packing list, inspection certificate, export contract, and foreign exchange verification certificate, to the customs for export declaration. Only after customs inspection and approval can the goods be loaded onto the ship.

7. Loading: Before loading, tallymen representing the shipping company collect the bills of lading and receipts for the goods released by customs. They then organize the loading process, batch by batch, according to the stowage plan and the manifest. During the loading process, the freight forwarder appointed by the consignor should have a representative on-site to monitor the loading progress and address any unforeseen issues. Once the loading is complete, the chief tallyman and the ship's chief officer jointly sign the receipt and provide it to the consignor. If any batch is found to be defective or inadequately packaged, it is noted on the receipt and signed by the chief officer to determine the responsibilities of both the shipper and the carrier. However, as the consignor, it is advisable to strive for clean bills of lading without any annotations.

8. After the loading is complete, the consignor should notify the consignee and can exchange the bill of lading from the shipping company or its agents using the receipt. At this point, the transportation work is considered concluded.

9. Document Preparation and Settlement: Once all the documents required by the contract or letter of credit are ready, within the specified period for negotiation according to the contract or letter of credit, submit the documents to the bank to complete the settlement procedures.

As a practitioner of the Belt and Road Initiative and multimodal transport operator, Neptune Logistics has operated many intermodal transport projects with a professional team and rich experience, providing you with quality customer service, affordable prices, and solving related logistics problems. If you want more details about logistics services, feel free to contact us!

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