Documentation guideline 2020 shipping China


Shipping Documents are an indispensable part of any transportation (Air Freight / Sea Freight / Rail Freight / Road Freight) . The customs of various countries are determine the  cargo type based on the import and export documents provided by the shipper. Without not provide shipping documents, it is impossible to import or export to various countries, especially when you need to ship dangerous goods, chemicals, water samples or perishable items, you may need to provide these items specify documents. These documents are especially important during transportation.




► What Shipping document required for exporting shipment?

► Bill of Lading

► Commercial invoice

► Packing List

► Insurance certificate

► Certificate of origin (C/O)

► ATA Carnet





What Shipping Document required for exporting /importing shipment by Sea/Air/Road/Rail freight China ?

Whether it is Air Freight / Sea Freight / Rail Freight / Road Freight, packing list is the most basic requirement. It lists down to the cargo of details, information regarding the goods. Each type of transportation needs to be based on the quantity, weight, and type of goods to determine which transportation is more economical.



In addition to the packing list, what are the document requirements for each mode of transportation?



Bill of lading

Suitable for Air Freight / Sea Freight / Rail Freight)


This document shows that goods have been received on board in the form of cargo for shipping to a contracted destination and signed by the shipping department of the Carrier Company or sometimes master of the ship. 

It is some written certification given by the shipping company to the consignee.

The requirements of a Bill of lading document as below.     

The name of the consignor, consignee’s name, the ship master’s name, the name of departure, port, freight price, marks and number of the goods shipped.



Commercial invoice

Suitable for Air Freight / Sea Freight / Rail Freight / Road Freight)


This document details the agreement of both seller and buyer, including the terms involved in the selling and purchase of goods. Commercial invoice includes the names of the consignor and the consignee as parties involved in the shipping of the sourced goods. This is to show that you’ve purchased a certain type and amount of goods  him/her. 

The document details the kind of goods bought the port of departure, the total worth of the goods and the destination port. 



Packing List

Suitable for Air Freight / Sea Freight / Rail Freight / Road Freight)


It lists down to the cargo of details, information regarding the goods


Insurance certificate

(Required when importing  some countries.)

Suitable for Air Freight / Sea Freight / Rail Freight / Road Freight)


This is to assure you that compensation will be given if and when goods are lost or damaged when in transit.

This certificate will detail all the items covered, for what risk and how much is covered. All the information needed is provided in a clear and precise manner. 

So to avoid any of these problems, let your freight forwarder take care of your paperwork needs.



Certificate of origin (C/O)

(Required when importing  some countries.)

Suitable for Air Freight / Sea Freight / Rail Freight / Road Freight)


The document that details the origin location of the items that are being shipped. It is often required for purposes of satisfying trade and customs requirements. Some countries require importers to provide this document for verification of goods by customs/trade departments



ATA Carnet

Suitable for Exhibition Logistics.


What are the ATA carnet customs declaration advantages?

1. Free entry and exit license exemption

You can use the ATA Carnet to  the import and export licenses without the import and export permit. All import and export goods under the ATA Carnet are exempt  import and export licenses.


2. Exemption customs declaration procedures

The ATA Carnet can replace the customs declaration for temporary import and export of goods and transit. The ATA Carnet does not need to fill in customs declarations in different languages and languages.


3. Duty Free Guarantee Procedure

It is no longer necessary to provide an import tax guarantee for customs declaration using the ATA Carnet, as the ATA Carnet can be used as a document for import tax guarantees and is recognized by the Customs.


4. Free Customs Broker Certificate

The holder of the ATA Carnet does not need to be qualified as a customs officer. For the items under the ATA Carnet that are carried with you, the certificate is directly reported to the customs.


What are the common questions about ATA carnet? Does the certificate holder need to provide export customs declaration form to China Customs with the ATA Carnet?

No. If the temporarily exported goods are not returned to China, they will need to complete the export procedures as required.


Will the local customs charge the relevant handling fee when using ATA document for import clearance ?

Article 10 of the Convention: “In the normal working hours of the Customs, no fees may be charged for the customs clearance of ATA documents at customs offices.” It should be noted that this refers to the customs office during normal office hours and at the customs office.


When the licensee handles customs clearance, need to check the customs' endorsement on the ATA card?

Each time the customs formalities for the ATA Carnet are processed, the Customs will need to endorse the corresponding voucher and stub at the same time, and then keep the voucher. The stub will remain in the ATA Carnet and will be returned to the holder. All of these endorsements will be considered correct. At the same time, pay attention to whether the temporary importing country has restrictions on the period of re-export. If there is a restriction on the time limit for re-export, the goods must be re-exported at the latest on the expiration date of the period. Even if the re-export period is not expressed by the specific date, but only "6 months." If the time limit for re-export is too short for the licensee, the certificate holder may file an extension application immediately or before the expiration of the re-export period.


Can the goods under the ATA Carnet be re-exported in different batches?

It is feasible if the customs of the importing country agrees. For the case of batch re-export, the customs usually have two methods:

First, the Customs will endorse each re-export of the goods on the same voucher, and the voucher will remain after the last batch of goods is re-exported;

Second, the Customs requires that the ATA Carnet has sufficient re-export vouchers to be endorsed for each shipment.

When re-exporting in batches, it is recommended to ask the customs to produce a separate statement stating that the goods under the ATA Carnet have been re-exported in batches.


Is there any time restriction on ATA carnet?

Basically yes, either there is a time limitation or expired date of the period. It's always important to check importing country has restrictions on the period of re-export. If there is a restriction on the time limit for re-export, the goods must be re-exported at the latest on the expiration date of the period. Even if the re-export period is not expressed by the specific date, but only a period of time. If the time limit for re-export is too short for the holders, the certificate holder may file an extension application immediately or before the expiration of the re-export period. Each time the customs formalities for the ATA Carnet are processed, the Customs will need to endorse the corresponding voucher and receipt at the same time, and then keep the voucher. The receipt will remain in the ATA Carnet and will be returned to the holder. All of these endorsements will be considered correct. 






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