What is Import Customs Clearance?

When it comes to customs clearance, many people think of customs operations occur only at the importing stage.

But this widespread belief does not reflect the reality, because at least two different customs clearance have to be done in a single foreign trade transaction.

First customs clearance takes place at the exporting stage, which is called export customs clearance and second customs clearance takes place during the importing stage, which is also known as import customs clearance.

On my previous article, I have explained export customs clearance.

Today I want to make clarifications regarding import customs clearance operations.

import customs clearance definition | picture | image

What is Export Customs Clearance?

Each independent state has its own customs territory.

Every product, entering or leaving the customs territory of a specific country has to be subjected to customs procedures in accordance with the customs legislation of that country.

These procedures are also known as customs clearance.

If the customs clearance is carried out at the export stage, it is called export customs clearance.

Just on the other hand, if the customs clearance is carried out at the import stage, it is called import customs clearance.

Definition: Export customs clearance defines all the procedures and formalities that must be followed in order to export a particular good from an exporting country including but not limited to obtaining any export licence or other official authorization and carry out all customs formalities necessary for the export of the goods.

How to Complete a Bill of Lading and a Shipping Instructions? Step by Step Explanation with Examples

Bill of lading is a generic name of a transport document, which is used when goods are carried out via sea shipments.

Today's complex economic activities and modern transportation industry created a ground for the development of different types of bills of lading to be used in different situations.

Forwarder's bill of lading, charter party bill of lading, multimodal bill of lading, negotiable bill of lading, sea waybill etc. are some of the most frequently issued bills of lading types.

Regardless of what types of bill of lading you may face, you can be benefited from today's article, as I will try to explain how to complete a bill of lading in a very plain text with examples.

Easy way to understand the differences between port-to-port, port-to-door, door-to-port and door-to-door shipments

Today, I would like to explain some of the basic shipping terms, that define the starting and ending points of the transportation, known as port-to-port, port-to-door, door-to-port and door-to-door shipments, which you may encounter on your daily work routine very frequently as a shipper or consignee.

Let me start my explanations with port to port shipments.

Port to Port Shipment

“Port to Port Shipment” defines a type of shipment, which commences at the Port of Loading and ends at the Port of Discharge.

Port to Port shipment or Port to Port delivery is the basic form of sea freight transportation, which is used by carriers for hundreds of years.

Bill of lading is the generic name of the transport document, commonly used in Port to Port shipments. It is also known as port to port bill of lading, marine bill of lading or ocean bill of lading.

Port to Port Shipment Graphic

Thanks to the technological improvements in logistics sector and standardization achieved by containerization, now carriers, actual or contractual, can offer more flexible transport options to their clients.

What are the differences between a multimodal bill of lading and a bill of lading?

Bill of lading and multimodal bill of lading are two important transport documents. They are frequently used in international trade.

Exporters and importers should be expecting to receive one of these transport documents from carriers, especially when they choose to use sea transportation.

Sometimes, it is not easy to distinguish a bill of lading from a multimodal bill of lading, even for experienced shippers.

Today, I will show you how to seperate a bill of lading from a multimodal bill of lading. But first of all, you need to understand the importance of the shipment coverage, such as port-to-port shipments and door-to-door shipments.

Let me start with the definition of a port-to-port shipment.

What is a Port-to-Port Shipment?

Port to port shipment can be defined as a single mode sea freight transportation, which is started at the port of loading and ended at the port of discharge.

Bill of lading is the transport document which is exclusively used in port to port shipments. It is sometimes called as ocean bill of lading or marine bill of lading.

What are the differences between clean bill of lading and claused/dirty bill of lading?

Clean bill of lading is a type of transport document, which indicates no clause or notation expressly declaring a defective condition of the goods or their packaging.

Claused bill of lading, sometimes referred as unclean bill of lading or dirty bill of lading, on the other hand, indicates that the goods that loaded on board of the carrying vessel, have some apparent defects.

Today, I would like to mention the differences between clean bill of lading and unclean/dirty/claused bill of lading.

But, 1st of all I need to address couple of important topics in regards to this subject.

Clean Bill of Lading | Dirty Bill of Lading Differences
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Import Purchase Order Samples in Excel: For Ex Works, FCA and FOB Delivery Terms

A purchase order is a kind of commercial document, which is issued by an importer in order to authorize an import deal.

An importer can create a purchase order with ease, especially after an ongoing business relationship has been established between the exporter and importer. That is because of the fact that it takes little while for the importer to learn the structure of the transaction, including shipment, packaging details etc.

First time orders are most likely to be confirmed with a proforma invoice, which is issued by the exporter.

Today, I would like to share with you purchase order samples, which can be used in foreign trade businesses.

Since purchase orders need to be issued by importers, I mentioned the templates as "Import Purchase Order Samples" in the title of this article.

purchase order sample picture

Purchase order samples, that you can download from this page, are prepared according to Ex works (EXW), Free Carrier (FCA) and Free on Board (FOB) Incoterms.

What are the differences between proforma invoice and purchase order?

Both proforma invoice and purchase order are commercial documents, which are used in international trade transactions.

In my previous articles, I have explained these two important documents in detail. If you want to learn more about them, please just click the links below.

  • What is a proforma invoice? How does it work?: In international trade, a proforma invoice can be defined as a type of commercial document, which is issued by the exporter in order to submit the terms and conditions of the sale in a written format to the importer's approval at the beginning of the transaction.


purchase order and proforma invoice differences in export and import business

Today, I would like to outline the differences between the proforma invoice and purchase order.

What is a purchase order? How does it work?

In international trade, a purchase order can be defined as a type of commercial document, which is generated by importer in order to authorize an import transaction.

Importer prepares and sends the purchase order to the exporter, who is expected to check the details.

If exporter confirms the purchase order by sending back a signed copy to the importer, then the purchase order becomes a binding legal document for both parties.

Purchase Order Definition Picture

By preparing a purchase order; importer mainly defines and conveys following information to the exporter:
  • the price of the goods
  • description of goods
  • quantity and quality of the goods 
  • packaging
  • delivery terms 
  • delivery period 
  • modes of transport   
  • payment method
  • transport company details, that will pick up the goods from the exporter, in case freight will be arrange by the importer.
Contents of the purchase order may change from industry to industry, customer to customer or country to country. There is no fix and single format available.

Export Proforma Invoice Templates in Excel: Ex Works, FOB, CIF

Proforma invoice is one of the most frequently generated trade document in international trade.

A proforma invoice is issued by an exporter at the beginning of an export transaction. It certifies the commitment of the exporter to sell specified goods for a certain price and at certain terms in a formal manner.

Once the proforma invoice is received by the importer, the terms and conditions stated on the proforma invoice should be checked.

By sending back a signed proforma invoice to the exporter, importer confirms the order.

On one of my previous articles, I have already explained "What is a proforma invoice, how does it work and how to prepare a proforma invoice." If you need further information regarding this subject, please read my previous article, before reading further this page.


Today, I would like to share export proforma invoice templates with you in excel format, completely free of charge for download.

Proforma invoice templates, that you can download from this page, are prepared according to most common Incoterms: Ex works, FOB and CIF.

What is a proforma invoice? How does it work?

Proforma invoice can be defined as a compact form of an international sales contract.

In other words, it is a lite version of the international sales contract.

Proforma invoice is expected to be issued by the seller, also known as exporter in international trade, at the beginning of the transactions.

Contents of the proforma invoice may change from industry to industry, customer to customer or country to country. There is no fix and single format available.

What is a proforma invoice? | How does a proforma invoice work?

But in general terms, by preparing a proforma invoice; exporter mainly defines and conveys following information to the importer:
  • the price of the goods
  • description of goods
  • quantity and quality of the goods 
  • packaging
  • delivery terms 
  • delivery period 
  • modes of transport   
  • payment method

FOB or CIF: Which one is better for importers?

Incoterms 2010 defines 11 delivery terms, 4 of which designed to be used in only sea shipments, whereas 7 of which could be used with any mode of transport.

The most frequently used two Incoterms, FOB and CIF, are restricted to be used in sea shipment only. They are so popular that, their usage most probably surpass remaining 9 Incoterms' usage.

But, the main question remains: Which one is better when importing goods into one country? FOB or CIF.

On this article, I will try to explain whether FOB or CIF is a better option for importers.

FOB | CIF | Incoterms | Better | Importers | Picture

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