Transportation and Delivery Terms

The following are common terms used in packing, labeling, transporting and delivering goods to international markets. They are in addition to the above INCO terms.

Bill of Lading (Ocean or Airway)

A contract prepared by the carrier or the freight forwarder with the owner of the goods. The foreign buyer needs this document to take possession of the goods.

Certificate of Origin
A document that certifies the country where the product was made (i.e. its origin). A common export document, a certificate of origin is needed when exporting to many foreign markets.

Commercial Invoice

A document prepared by the exporter or freight forwarder, and required by the foreign buyer, to prove ownership and arrange for payment to the exporter. It should provide basic information about the transaction, including description of goods, address of shipper and seller as well as delivery and payment terms. In some cases, the commercial invoice is used to assess customs duties.

Customs Declaration

A document that traditionally accompanies exported goods bearing such information as the nature of the goods, their value, the consignee and their ultimate destination. Required for statistical purposes, it accompanies all controlled goods being exported under the appropriate permit.

Customs Invoice

A document used to clear goods through customs in the importing country by providing documentary evidence of the value of goods. In some cases, the commercial invoice (see glossary entry) may be used for this purpose.

Ex Factory

Used in price quotations, an expression referring to the price of goods at the exporter’s loading dock.

Export Permit

A legal document that is necessary for the export of goods controlled by the Government of export country, specifically goods included on the Export Control List.

Freight Forwarder

A service company that handles all aspects of export shipping for a fee.

Insurance Certificate
A document prepared by the exporter or freight forwarder to provide evidence that insurance against loss or damage has been obtained for the goods.

Landed Cost

The cost of the exported product at the port or point of entry into the foreign market, but before the addition of foreign tariffs, taxes, local packaging/assembly costs and local distributors’ margins. Product modifications prior to shipment are included in the landed cost.

Packing List

A document prepared by the exporter showing the quantity and type of merchandise being shipped to the foreign customer.

Pro Forma Invoice

An invoice prepared by the exporter prior to shipping the goods, informing the buyer of the goods to be sent, their value and other key specifications.


An offer by the exporter to sell the goods at a stated price and under certain conditions.