Cargo Agents Network - The Shipping Process

Check out the following to locate your shipping / Forwarding agent: 

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact us.

  1. First, of all decide what you want to ship. 
  2. Then decide on the shipping line or freight forwarder that you wish to use. 
  3. Go over their terms and conditions. 
  4. Agree on a shipping rate with them and the method and routing of your shipment. 
  5. Fill it out the forms required. 
  6. Some of the documents needed for an export shipment are as follows:



DOCK RECEIPT: This document's function is to instruct & advise the receiving terminal of the disposition of your vehicle (i.e. where it is to be shipped what vessel to load it onto, when it is to be loaded, etc). At least 3 Dock Receipts must accompany the vehicle when it is delivered to the pier.
Bill of Lading

Bill of Lading or Waybill Master (Instructions): The function of these documents is to instruct & advise the steamship line of the disposition of your vehicle. They are not much different from the Dock Receipt, except that they are designed to furnish more information concerning the ocean conveyance segment of your vehicle's transport, whereas the Dock Receipt is designed to furnish more information about the inland segment & the transaction between the delivering carrier & the pier. The only difference between the two is that Bill of Lading Master & the Datafreight Receipt Master is that the Bill of Lading Master instructs the steamship line to produce a physical document called a "Bill of Lading" which acts like the new Title document to your vehicle. If original Bills of Lading are produced then you will be required to have those specific documents when you arrive at the overseas pier to receive your vehicle. The other document, the Datafreight Receipt Master, instructs the steamship line NOT to produce Bills of Lading but to simply release the vehicle overseas to the Consignee upon proper proof of identification. The advantage to using the Datafreight Receipt method is that it reduces your shipping cost by eliminating the expense of document couriers & it reduces the chance of delays due to lost documents. It is the forwarder job to submit at least one of these documents directly to the steamship line and as a courtesy to you, they should provide you with a copy for your records.


SHIPPER'S EXPORT DECLARATION: This document's function is to advise the US Department of Commerce of details of your shipment. They, in turn, use the information to compile their quarterly trade statistics. (When you hear or read about the "trade deficit" in the national news, this is how that figure was derived.) They normally don't provide Shippers with a copy of the Shipper's Export Declaration because 1) it doesn't concern them and, 2) The information that is on this form can also be found on all the other forms that they furnish to them.

For Automobiles being shipped: In addition to the above listed documents US Customs requires that one of the following sets of documents be submitted to them 3 business days prior to the vessel's departure from the port: your vehicle's Original Title document along with 3 photo copies of both front & back sides; OR, 4 (in some cases such as to the US Virgin Islands) 5 Notarized copies (front & back sides) of your vehicle's Title; OR, Originals and 4 copies (front & back sides) of your vehicle's MSO; PLUS 4 Notarized copies of the Dealer's Purchase Order; AND (if applicable) Original and 4 copies of a letter of authorization from all lien holders which authorize you to export the vehicle overseas. 

Each shipment's circumstances are different so they will advise you directly regarding the disposition of your Title documents (i.e. whether to retain them or to send them to me.) FYI -they try to avoid using your vehicle's Original Title document at all costs, however, some ports, like the port of Miami, Florida, insist on seeing the Original document. Most times the reason is due to an excessive number of stolen vehicles that pass through a particular port. They offer this only as an explanation to satisfy any curiosity you might have.

  • If you are the party to deliver your vehicle to the pier then you will need to know the following procedures. If not (if you plan to utilize an auto transporter to deliver the automobile on your behalf) then you can skip over this portion of the procedures. 
  • If you are the delivering party, please insure that you have your vehicle thoroughly inspected upon delivery. Walk around the vehicle with the surveyor at the receiving terminal to itemize each item (floor mats, radio antenna, spare tire, jack, spare tools, cigarette lighter, etc). The line will manifest every item that is an integral part of the vehicle. They will also manifest every existing ding, dent, scratch, mar, chip in the paint, etc. The pier will refuse to receive your vehicle for shipment should there be any personal items left in the vehicle so REMOVE ALL PERSONAL ITEMS FROM THE VEHICLE PRIOR TO DELIVERY TO THE PIER. After the inspection is completed both the delivering carrier & the surveyor should sign the survey & both should retain identical copies. 
  • A US Customs inspector will usually want to see your vehicle (to visually verify the VIN #) but then again the inspector may just elect to inspect your documents. Either way they will eventually get to the point in their process where they stamp or perforate your documents noting that they have had the opportunity to inspect. They will then retain one set for their files & return the other sets back to the delivering party. The sets that they return are the sets that should be delivered with the vehicle evidencing to the receiving terminal that the vehicle has been through the Customs process.

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