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Export-Import Cargo (Marine) Insurance

The term cargo insurance, popularly known as marine insurance, applies to all modes of transportation. The need for export (or import) cargo insurance often differs from exporter to exporter (or importer to importer) and from consignment to consignment. Unless the insurance is mandatory in a trade term, the exporter or the importer may opt not to insure the goods at his/her own risks. Depending on the international commercial terms, either the seller (the exporter) or the buyer (the importer) is responsible for insuring the cargo. The seller is obligated to insure the cargo in the CIF and CIP terms. The seller may opt not to insure the cargo at his/her own risks in the DDU and DDP terms. The trade terms DDU and DDP are often used in the turnkey projects where the amount at stake is large. In practice, the seller usually insures the cargo in the DDU and DDP terms.






Proof of insurance coverage is contained in a document known as policy or insurance policy. The format of insurance policy forms varies from insurer to insurer, but all essentially have the Institute Clauses and the same information as contained in the Insurance Application-Instructions (IAI). The policy must be issued and signed by an insurance company or its agent. If more than one original is issued and is so indicated in the policy, all the originals must be presented to the bank, unless otherwise authorized in the letter of credit (L/C). The sample letter of credit requires " insurance policy in duplicate ... as such the presentation of one original and one copy (both signed) will satisfy the requirement. Unless authorized in the letter of credit (L/C), the cover note issued by broker, which is a temporary insurance coverage pending the later issuance of an insurance policy, is not acceptable.

Insurance Policy versus Insurance Certificate

The insurance policy, either a specific policy or an open policy, is issued once by the insurer. In the case of the exporter holding an open policy, he/she cannot send that sole policy to all the buyers and for all the shipments made over a period of time. Therefore, in lieu thereof an insurance certificate---certificate of insurance---is issued by the exporter to each shipment. The blank insurance certificates are supplied by the insurer pre-signed and bearing the open policy number of the exporter. Unless otherwise stipulated in the letter of credit (L/C), the insurance certificate issued under the open policy is acceptable. If the L/C specifically calls for an insurance certificate, the insurance policy is accepted in lieu thereof. In practice, the insurance policy is often used. In the sample letter of credit the insurance policy is required, hence the bank will not accept the insurance certificate.

Open Policy versus Specific Policy

Open Policy The open policy---blanket policy or floating policy---is issued once by the insurer under contract to cover all shipments made by the exporter over a period of time (one year usually) subject to renewal, rather than to one shipment only. It is more often used by the large exporter. In an open policy the exporter is required to periodically (monthly usually) declare every shipment made to any location, covering any type of goods, and using any means of conveyance, including multimodal transport and transhipment, in order that the insurer may calculate the insurance premiums and invoice them accordingly. The exporter completes the insurance declaration form supplied by the insurer and/or supplies the copy of the insurance certificates (see Insurance Policy versus Insurance Certificate above) to the insurer. An insurance declaration form typically contains the information in an Insurance ApplicationInstructions (IAI).

Dock Receipt
The dock receipt---shipping note---when signed by the receiving clerk (cargo checker) at the container terminal or dock is a proof of the delivery of goods. Please see the sample Dock Receipt below. The format of the dock receipt varies, but the contents are basically the same. Some dock receipts may include the Commodity Code (of goods) field. In practice, the commodity code of goods may be entered in the "Description of Packages and Goods" field in the dock receipt. The dock receipt is made out by the customs broker following the instructions and information contained in the shipping order (S/O), B/L application-instructions (BLAI or the export shipping instructions) and packing list. The number of copies of the dock receipt required depends on the circumstances. Certain countries require a fixed number, where at least one signed copy is returned to the forwarding agent or the shipper as proof of delivery. The bill of lading (B/L) is issued in due course in exchange for the dock receipt. The bill of lading (B/L) is made out word for word according to the dock receipt. Therefore, it is very important that the shipper provides the correct information in the B/L application-instructions and packing list, and that the customs broker or forwarder does not make any errors and omissions in the dock receipt, otherwise a discrepancy may occur in the B/L and the bank will reject the documents. The phrase "only clean dock receipt accepted" in the dock receipt is to ensure that the receiving clerk (cargo checker) at the container terminal or dock puts a 'clean' or similar notation on the conditions of goods received. The dock receipt can be clean or foul (unclean, dirty or claused). If a dock receipt is clean, the bill of lading (B/L) issued in due course will be clean, otherwise the B/L will be foul (please refer to the Clean versus Foul Bills of Lading for more information).

Mate's Receipt The counterpart of the dock receipt that is used in the chartering trades is known as mate's receipt. The mate's receipt is signed by the mate (the deck officer) of the vessel.

Sample Form: Dock Receipt

(Shipping Note)


Customs Export Declaration

In many countries, export shipments valued below a minimum requirement may not require a formal customs declaration. The purposes of customs export declaration are to verify and regulate outgoing cargo (including re-export goods) and to collect the statistical data (of the product, quantity, value, and destination) for export references. The format of customs export declaration forms varies from country to country. The form typically contains the information found in the commercial invoice and the bill of lading or waybill. In addition, the form may include:

the business license number and/or tax account number and/or export permit
(license) number of the exporter

the business license number of the manufacturer from whom the export-trader
buys the export goods

the commodity code or category of goods the country of destination and its country code (a numeric country code may be
assigned to each importing country by the customs of exporting country for compiling statistics)

the name, address and code (or license) number of the customs broker or

the customs charges

The exporter normally must sign an authorization paper (the power of attorney) allowing the customs broker or the forwarder to handle the customs declaration. In certain countries, exporters may prepare the customs declaration forms by themselves and let the customs broker handle the rest of the customs formalities.