Shipping Terminology

Commercial Invoice

A commercial invoice is required by customs to determine the true value of goods being imported or exported, for assessment of duties and taxes. The document must identify the following information

  • Date and terms of sale
  • Quantity, weight and dimensions of shipment
  • Packaging type
  • Description of goods
  • Unit value and total value
  • Insurance, shipping and other charges

Why is it needed?

It is the primary document used by most foreign custom agencies for import control, valuation, and duty determination. If you are arranging your own freight that is travelling between countries, you must provide a copy of this to your broker.

Download Blank Commercial Invoice

Purchase Invoice

A commercial document or bill provided by the seller as proof of payment for a good that has been purchased. You receive a copy of your purchase invoice when making a payment to Coast Machinery Group, either online by credit card or in-store. If you have paid by other means, you can request a copy of your commercial invoice by emailing

Why is it needed?

A purchase invoice serves as a proof to indicate the total amount of goods purchased and how much was paid for it.

Bill of Lading (BOL)

The Bill of Lading is a receipt issued by a freight carrier to the shipper as a contract of carriage of goods, and serves as a proof of ownership of the cargo. It may be issued in a negotiable (used in letter of credit transactions; ) or non-negotiable form and must include the following information:

  • Cosigner’s & Consignee’s name
  • Name of the ports of departure & destination
  • Name of vessel
  • Dates of Departure and arrival
  • Itemized list of goods
  • # of packages
  • Weight and dimensions
  • Freight rate and amount

Why is it needed?

The document must be readily available for taking delivery at the destination. In the case of damage, delay or loss of goods, a BOL is required in documenting any claims.

BOL is provided to us on pickup

Certificate of Origin (NAFTA)

The certification of origin is a certified document indicating the country in which the goods or parts were originally manufactured in.

Why is it needed?

A certification of origin allows the exporter/importer to obtain a preferential tariff treatment and pay a lower duty rate.

Download Blank NAFTA

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