Document Guides

Documentation Reference Guide


There are a wide variety of document types involved in the shipping process. So we’ve made things a little easier by creating this shipping documentation glossary which includes many of the different types of documents you’ll need to read, sign and send whenever you’re sending goods or requesting payments to various countries around the globe.

Listed are the definitions of some of the documents you need to know about.


For more information contact us on 01942 885 690 or email [email protected]

Original Bill of Lading

An Original Bill of Lading is a document of title and a recipt of shipment, issued by the carrier once your cargo has been loaded onto the exporting vessel. This receipt can be used as proof of shipment for customs and insurance purposes. It can also act as commercial proof that a contractual obligation has been completed specifically under the relevant Incoterms. The Bill of Lading itself details a shipment of merchandise, including the title / legal owner of the goods. Once the carrier issues you with this document, theyre required to deliver the cargo to the appropriate party listed.

New Export System (NES)

N.E.S. is the electronic export processing system, developed by HMRC in consultation with the export trade. Under N.E.S. customs are moving to a standard system based on positive clearance. This means that the N.E.S. declarations will have to be put into the C.H.I.E.F. system (Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight) and then validated.

Clearance then needs to be given by HMRC before your cargo can be shipped.
N.E.S. declarations are submitted to customs electronically. Thanks to our own electronic link to the C.H.I.E.F. system, we can complete N.E.S. entries on your behalf – saving you the time and the hassle.

Certificate of Origin

A Certificate of Origin helps to establish:
1). Whether your product is entitled to preferential duties in the importing country
2).Your goods do not come from a nation which the importing country has placed under trade restrictions.

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 dont worry. If youre not sure where to start, or dont want the hassle, we can arrange them on your behalf.


A movement certificate specifically for the trade between Turkey and the EC.


The UK has signed a trade agreement with Turkey which means that ATR 1 certificates previously used to claim preferential trade when importing from or exporting to Turkey are no longer issued.


Entitlement to preference is now based on a declaration on origin that the product is originating made out by the exporter. This can be in electronic format.


The Seawaybill or DataFreight Receipt is a transport document that does not need surrendering in order to get delivery. It acts as nothing more than a receipt of the shipment.


The Airwaybill (AWB/MAWB) is a transport document used for airfreight shipments that does not need surrendering in order to get delivery. There are various forms of AWB such as Master AirWay Bill (issued by the airline) and House AirWay Bill (HAWB) issued by Freight Companies.

Booking Confirmation

Confirms your transport has been arranged, highlighting collection points, times and vessel details. This document should always be carefully checked immediately, as all shipping lines now charge if alterations are not notified within 24/48 hours (lines differ) of load time.

Export Entry/Declaration

The export entry/declaration contains the description/weight/value of the goods and customer details at destination. This information should be provided ASAP – without it, goods will be short shipped.

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