5.7 Transport documents

Ensure that appropriate transport documents are provided and accurate.

Delivery note or waybill
The delivery note is the fundamental tool for transportation. It defines transportation freight details and responsibilities. The delivery note is an internal document that has an official value; potential deductions on the final payment are based on the information on the delivery note (see Annex 15.5 Waybill format).

Freight notice
A freight notice is an internal email or fax that immediately informs the consignee of freight details (content, estimated time of departure and arrival, details on the documentation, and method of expedition of the documentation).

Transport letters (air waybill, bill of lading, rail consignment note, international consignment note)
This is the transport document for goods with a legal value. The name will vary according to the transport mode. Only the consignee mentioned on the bill or an authorised representative can release the goods.

Invoices, pro forma
The invoice indicates the value of the goods. When no money was paid for the goods a pro forma has to be prepared. The value indicated will be the basis for custom declarations and insurance policies.

Cargo manifest
A cargo manifest mentions the type of goods, their origin and destination.

Packing lists
The shipment should contain a packing list. The packing list identifies the contents of each carton or parcel. The packing list facilitates delivery control.

Gift certificate
When the organisation is exempted from import taxes, a gift certificate states that the goods are part of a non-profit effort.

Origin certificates, phyto-sanitary controls
Some items (drugs, food, etc.) need additional documents for international transportation.

Hazardous materials declaration
This document, normally with a red border, has to be included when the freight contents require special care, handling or testing (for example, insecticides, laboratory reactants, purification products).

Tax exemption certificates
In some countries, general agreements have been established for ‘exempt’ organisations, which simplify the formalities of free entry. In other countries, each consignment must be certified separately. Getting the necessary documents can take some time.