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Shipping documents you need before exporting out of New Zealand

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The process of filling up the relevant documentation for your exported goods can be tedious. Trading rules and regulations tend to vary from country to country, and with that comes the complicated and confusing process of import legislation. As such, getting all aspects of your customs compliance right is important because failure to comply with the relevant laws or regulations can mean delays of products at international borders or in more serious cases, fines. This can then affect your business’ credibility. For instance, if you do not submit the correct export documents, there is a possibility that your shipment might be denied entry.  

By bypassing international shipping documents required or not adhering to the respective customs regulations, you may cause your business further issues and delays with your product either getting turned away or fined for not following the correct protocol. Hence, this article provides you with a list of the types of international trade and shipping documents you need for export out of New Zealand; you can gain a clearer understanding of your obligations to make sound business decisions. 

1. Commercial invoice

A commercial invoice for shipping contains information pertaining to the nature of your shipped goods, details of both seller and the buyer, the price and date of the sale, the quantity and weight of the goods in the shipment, the value of goods within, shipping costs, country of origin and the harmonised system (HS) codes in relation to what the shipment contains.

The document allows customs authorities to gauge and determine whether your exported goods are cleared to enter the respective country.

2. Certificate of origin

A certificate of origin refers to a shipping document that states and certifies where the exported goods were made to meet customs requirements or regulations. In certain cases, preferential certificates of origin can be issued when one country has a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with another, leading to preferential taxes and tariffs when the goods are exported.

For example, New Zealand has FTAs with China, Australia, and the ASEAN confederation. Requesting a certificate of origin from any of the above countries could lead to lesser costs incurred from taxes on your end.

3. Air waybill

An air waybill is a contract between the product's shipper and the product's carrier. This ensures evidence of the contract, a receipt showing payment, and a guide with details to handle the goods in question if required. In New Zealand, the air waybill should be completed by the shipper.

4. Proforma Invoice

A proforma invoice can be described as a non-legal document provided to the buyer of your exported products in good faith. This document lists all the charges and information seen in a sales invoice. However, the information stated is not legally binding. Instead, this document is usually provided to avoid additional charges for the buyer. 

This document also contains the value of the shipped item, which can sometimes speed up your customs declaration process.

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5. Bill of lading

The bill of lading is a document reflecting the agreement between the shipper and the carrier on which the goods are transported. For sea freight, an ocean bill of lading is required. It details the cargo being shipped and ownership to the party to which the shipment is being delivered. The bill of lading must be signed by the carrier and the recipient of the shipment and serves as proof of delivery.

6. Export or import license

It is important to know what a dangerous good is before exporting it. This is to prevent the shipment from posing a hazard to health, safety, property, and the environment. For instance, lithium batteries are dangerous to ship since they can catch fire when overheated or damaged – posing a risk to the transport vehicle and shipping personnel. As such, when exporting dangerous goods, New Zealand businesses must fill out a dangerous goods form detailing any potential hazardous, flammable, or toxic goods being carried by your logistics partner. 

This allows your carrier to handle the shipment in a manner that does not impact the integrity of the product or harm the individual handling it. Each country has its list of dangerous goods, including New Zealand. Thus, it is advisable to check against the list of the respective destination you are exporting to. In addition, you should also take note of the regulations involved in shipping liquids internationally, as they could be classified as hazardous and thus require the proper packaging to ship correctly. 

7. Export certification

An export certificate refers to a document that assures countries that your goods meet all of the standards and requirements issued by the New Zealand government. This document may not be required depending on the country you are shipping to and the product being shipped. Should you require this document, you would need to have information pertaining to your goods submitted electronically to the New Zealand government and wait to receive the approval before proceeding with shipping. 

Reduce the hassle of exporting out of New Zealand with DHL Express

Even though there are multiple factors to consider when you are starting your export journey, your shipping partner will ultimately play an important role in your success. Some shipping companies are experts in small business courier services, while others are better at ecommerce and retail shipping. Hence, your shipping company or resources can significantly impact your business. 

Thankfully, at DHL Express, we are all-rounded experts. We recognise how tedious the process of exporting goods out of New Zealand can be, especially with the various forms of research and documentation needed to transport your product from one country to another. Hence, our global team strives to help you with your shipping bills, customs calculations and cut down shipping costs so that you can focus on the most critical aspects of your business. 

Open an account with DHL Express now.