Export Shipping Documents – Part 3


Additional Documents for Specific Goods


Depending on the commodity/product that you are shipping you may find specific requirements needed for international shipping.

Dangerous Goods Certificate

When a product/commodity is classified as a dangerous good, it must be handled/shipped cautiously. This is why a dangerous good certificate is required.

If you are not certified (the certification is granted after taking a 3 day class and passing a written exam) you should not be handling dangerous goods shipments. A mishandled, mislabeled, incorrectly documented, incorrectly packed dangerous good shipment can cause injury and even death. Only Certified individuals must handle dangerous goods shipments.

All air shipments of dangerous goods must be accompanied by the Shipper’s Declaration of Dangerous Goods, which is required by the international air transport Association (IATA). The exporter is responsible for the accuracy and required information on this form. You are the owner of the product being exported. If you are not certified, you will need to hire a company specialized in preparing dangerous goods certificates.

Dangerous goods shipments traveling by ocean are controlled/monitored by the International Maritime Dangerous Goods regulations. When shipments travel by road the overseeing body is the Department of Transportation.

All dangerous goods, weathered being transported by ocean, air or truck require proper documentation.

Fumigation Certificate

Some countries require a fumigation certificate prior to releasing shipments for import. This requirement is imposed in order to maintain the importing country’s environment free all foreign pests.

The cost of the fumigation is usually the responsibility of the seller. Many agricultural goods and wood products require fumigation. If the destination country requires a fumigation certificate and one is not provided upon arrival of the goods, the shipment may be refused entry. Some countries have specific timeframe requirements of fumigation.  The rule of thumb (please always verify with the destination country requirements) is 15 days.

Halal Certificate

This certificate may be required for many Middle East countries when importing fresh or frozen meat or poultry products.  It certifies that the products were slaughtered in accordance to Islamic law. Legalization by the Consulate office of the destination country as well the local chamber is required.

Inspection and Pre-Inspection Certificates

Some US agencies as well as foreign countries will require an inspection certificate. Inspection certificate will have the specific information required by that department or that foreign entity.

For example,  Phytosanitary and Zoosanitary  certificates are issued by USDA/APHIS (US Department of Agriculture/Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services).  This department regulates, monitors and facilitates safe international trade of animals, animal products and biological products in order to prevent contamination. Here are some products that may require an inspection certificate prior to export (also check the requirements of the importing country): bovine products, pet food, feathers, hide, dairy products, pharmaceuticals (for animal use), laboratory animals, etc.

A Phytosanitary certificate will be required for all shipments of plants and plant material, lumber, grains, rice, flour, seeds and fresh fruits and vegetables.  The certificate is intended to verify that all products being exported are free of specified agricultural diseases and epidemics. Specific regulations can be found in the APHIS website.

Some countries government contract international inspection companies in order to have import shipment inspected prior to them departing the country of origin. These companies verify the quality price and quantity of the goods being exported. The cost of the inspection is bared by the importer. Once the shipment is ready, the exporter contacts the inspection company and sets an appointment for the inspection. Once the inspection company has completed the inspection they will have the exporter seal the boxes/crates/cartons etc. and they will affix their seal and/or tape to ensure that the shipment remains intact and as inspected until the point of importation.  SGS, Bureau de Veritas and Intertek are the three most used.

ATA Carnet

An ATA carnet is used to facilitate the importation and clearance of products entering a foreign country. The ATA carnet eliminates the need for formal clearance, tariff/duties, and Value Added Tax (VAT) when your shipment arrives at the foreign port. This carnet is also referred to as “Merchandise Passport.”

An ATA carnet is used when a shipment is being exported on a temporary basis. Although the shipment will enter the foreign country, it is not intended for resale in that country. You can use an ATA carnet when you are sending samples for taking orders (sales orders), tradeshows and art shows, etc.   The carnet is valid for up to one year of unlimited entries and departures.  It eliminates the need for a temporary import bond (TIB).  ATA stands for an English and French stating – Admission Temporaire-Temporary Admission.

Please continue to visit our site. We will have specific information on growing your business, eliminating the stumbling blocks and helping you make more money. We will cover documentation requirements, terms of sale, transportation options as well as market focus. Our goal is to have you exporting and growing your business. We look forward to working with you and thank you in advance for joining our community and for sharing with us your success as you prove that “The world is your customer.”


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