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Exporting goods anywhere in the world requires some careful planning, correct packing and specific paperwork. Without these important documents the shipper faces either not being able to ship the goods and / or receiving a hefty fine.

The importance of these documents is to declare that the goods meet the correct criteria to be allowed into the destination country.

The shipper must be registered as an exporter with Customs and Excise, a division of SARS.  

Export documents required can be potentially broken down into four groups; (1) those required by the importer (and for customs clearing at destination), (2) those required to export the goods from South Africa, (3) those required for payment and (4) those required to transport the goods (i.e. the transport documents).

Documents required in order to export the goods abroad depend on the destination. However, the most common is a Commercial invoice, or in the case of sample or low value shipments, a pro-forma invoice will suffice. Thereafter the freight forwarder takes care of the customs export process in the form of an SAD500 as well as the transport shipping documentation in the form of an Air Waybill (Airfreight) or Bill of Lading (Seafreight).

“When exporting goods into any country, it is very important for the exporter to make sure all relevant documentation is completed and present. Should you need help with required documentation for certain destinations, speak to a freight forwarder, such as Pioneer Freight.” Says Jan Pretorius, Branch Manager of Pioneer Freight, Cape Town.