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Shipping Documentation

Export Cargo Shipping Instruction (ECSI)

An ECSI is your instruction to the international carrier you have appointed. It contains information on the goods, the route to their destination, any transport requirements, customs information, who is to receive the documentation and an allocation of the cost. It is extremely important that the information provided in the ECSI is accurate.

Standard Shipping Note

In most cases, the SSN will be completed by you, but your freight forwarders or agents may also complete this form on your behalf. It is the receiving document for ports and container bases in the UK and advises them of the necessary information to process and handle the goods safely and with care

Bill of Lading (B/L)

The B/L provides evidence of the contract between yourself and your carrier. It acts as a receipt that the goods have been received into the custody of the carrier and is a document of title, allowing the ownership of the goods to be temporarily transferred while the goods are in transit. The B/L will usually be completed by your international carrier.

Sea Waybill (SWB)

The SWB is simlar to the B/L but it does not provide title of goods. It allows the goods to be collected by your customer or agent upon presentation of reasonable proof of identity, so reducing any possible delays at ports.

Air Waybill (AWB)

The AWB is the equivalent of the SWB for shipments being transported by air.

Single Administration Document (SAD)

The SAD (Customs form C88) is the Customs declaration document used by all countries within the European Union (EU). It is required for all exports, with the exception of postal exports, and must accompany your goods to the point of exit from the EU. Guidance on completing the SAD is available from HM Revenue & Customs.

National Export System (NES)

HM Revenue & Customs has introduced the National Export System, an electronic method of capturing details of export declarations. Information is captured at all stages of the export process either by direct transmission from the exporter, or through a third party such as a Community Service Provider (CSP). More on NES is available from HM Revenue & Customs.

Certificate of Origin (C/O)

A Certificate of Origin is a signed statement certifying where an exported item was made. Some, but not all, countries will require a C/O in order to gain Customs clearance. There are two types of C/O: the European Union version, and the Arab-British Chamber of Commerce version required by some Arab nations. Your local accredited Chamber of Commerce can produce this documentation for you.


The EUR1 certificate is used to claim preferential (reduced or even zero) rates of duty in the country of importation. To qualify the goods must fully meet the rules of origin in the exporting country and be accompanied by a correctly completed and endorsed EUR1.

ATA Carnet

An ATA Carnet is an international Customs document that allows temporary importation of commercial samples, professional equipment or goods going to a trade fair or exhibition in countries that are part of the ATA Carnet system. The system covers over 70 nations and territories in Europe, North America, South America, Asia, Africa and Oceania.


An ATR certificate applies only for exports to Turkey and has a similar purpose to the EUR1. It applies specifically to the movement of industrial products that have been manufactured in or are in free circulation in the EU (all duties and taxes paid into the EU).




Duty is charged at the place of importation and is usually paid by the customer, unless agreed otherwise. There is one exception to this rule: for Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) goods (agricultural produce in the form of raw materials or processed goods) duty can be levied at the place of export


Excise duty is a national charge levied on the importation of certain categories of goods. As with import duty, excise duty is collected by Customs authorities in the destination country, and can vary from one country to the next according to national policy. Payment is generally the responsibility of the customer unless contracted to pay it under the sales contract.


All exports of goods to countries outside the EU are excluded from VAT in the UK. It is important that you retain commercial evidence (such as certificate of shipment from your carrier, or a departure message from HM Revenue & Customs' electronic export system) that your goods have been sent from the UK. The evidence must be sufficient to identify your goods and show that they left the UK.


NLS FREIGHT DEVON | Beer | Devon| EX12 3LQ | United Kingdom

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