All About Commercial Invoices

The commercial invoice is an essential part of the international shipping process. This document, along with other important documents like the bill of lading, is considered a requirement in order to ship ocean freight. Upon booking an ocean freight shipment, documents like the commercial invoice will be filled out. A main purpose for the commercial invoice is to determine applicable tariffs and fees. Customs agents will check the commercial invoice. This document is a requirement for Customs, and they must see the document in order for the cargo to pass through the border. When the commercial invoice is being viewed by Customs, the other shipping documents will be attached to it as well. All shipping parties should receive a copy of the commercial invoice.

While the exact details on the commercial invoice might differ, there are some similarities that will almost always be typed on this document. The top of the commercial invoice will usually include the names and contact information for the exporter and importer of the freight. The names of the carriers and the codes from the Harmonized System, which were developed by the World Customs Organization, will be included. As for the freight itself, the type of commodity should be listed next to the weight and the value of the shipment. There could also be notes section at the bottom that will be used for additional details.

For novice shippers who are concerned about this document, it would be important to speak to a trusted freight forwarder with their questions.