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Article 3 – Export process

Have you read Article 1 and Article 2 of this shipping blog..??

Before we start with Article 3 which is the export process, lets look at some definitions/explanations :

Shipper or Exporter : Companies that are authorised by Customs and Govt authorities to export cargoes from South Africa to various countries..

Place of Origin : A place from which a certain cargo originates in order to be shipped to a certain destination as per the contract of carriage.. This place of origin could also be an inland destination..

Port of Load : A seaport from which the cargo can be loaded on board a ship..

Port of Discharge : A seaport at which the cargo is discharged from a ship..

Place of Delivery : A place to which the cargo is to be delivered as per the contract of carriage.. This place of delivery could also be an inland destination..

Stack Dates : A period of time (usually about 3-4 days) specified by the port authorities for a particular ship, within which period, all containers that are planned to be loaded on the ship have to be brought into the port/terminal..

Operations :

  • Shipper requests a rate to a certain destination from the shipping line that offers a service to that destination..
  • The shipping line provides the rate to the shipper..
  • Once the rate has been accepted by the shipper, he requests the shipping line to make a booking to that destination..
  • The shipping line provides a booking reference which in general cases is also the reference for the release of the empty container for the packing..
  • Based on the stack dates nomianted for the ship, the shippers nominated transporter goes to the empty depot to pick up the empty container..
  • The empty container is taken to the shippers warehouse for packing.. Once the cargo is packed, the full container is taken to the port/terminal within the stack period..
  • If the for any reason the container cannot be brought into the port/terminal within the stack period, at the discretion of the shipping line or port/terminal a LATE ARRIVAL request may be processed for upto 24 hrs after the original stack period is closed..
  • The container then waits at the port/terminal for it to be loaded on the nominated ship..
  • Once the container is loaded on board, the shipping line normally advises the client of the same and sends their freight invoice in order for the client to fetch his bills of lading..

Documentation :

  • Once the container has been packed by the client as above, a shipping instruction (also known as bill of lading instruction or SI) is sent by the shipper or his agent to the shipping line..
  • This is sent in order for the shipping line to prepare the bill of lading..
  • The SI is generally sent in shipping lines template updated on the website in case of lines working on e-commerce (Safmarine / Maersk)..
  • Once the SI is captured by the line, some of them send a draft copy of the bill of lading to the shipper for it to be checked..
  • Once the draft is confirmed, then the shipping line prints the final bill of lading for release..
  • The shipper or his agent should produce the cheque or proof of payment of the lines invoice, the Bill of Entry and the Cargo Dues copy for the shipment..
  • Only once these docs are provided, the shipping line will release the bill of lading to the shipper..

This essentially completes the export process between the shipping line and the client with both of these entities following their individual processes further on..

Further process being :

  • The shipping line has to consolidate all the bills of lading released for a particular ship into a cargo and freight manifest and distribute/despatch the same to their agents at the discharging ports for them to file the manifest at their relevant ports..
  • The shipper on the other hand may have to forward his docs including the original bill of lading and other associated documents (generally – commercial invoice, packing list, certificate of origin, F178 etc) to his bank (in the case of L/C) or to his consignee in order to claim his monies..

Please subscribe to my RSS feed (link on the top right side bar of this and all other articles) for further updates and links to the other Articles..

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Hariesh Manaadiar
Hariesh Manaadiar
I am Hariesh Manaadiar, the Founder of Shipping and Freight Resource.. I have been in the dynamic shipping and freight industry for over three decades and have worked in several sectors.. I share my experiences and knowledge of the industry through this blog for those looking for help in the industry.. Stay subscribed for more free useful content about shipping, freight, maritime, logistics, supply chain and trade..


  1. Dear Sir, Pls provide us switch bill of lading process. Reason for switching bls and required docs need to be submit to shipping line.

  2. Dear Sir, Well written valuable blog. It is very helpful to all in shipping trade. I will visit on this site again and again.
    Once again thanks a lot !
    Sandesh Thakur

  3. Dear all,

    I really appreciate all the information shared on this blog, thank you so much.
    Please can you advise on all the export documents required to ship to India and all compliance/taxes/required certifications etc.

    kind regards.

    • Hello Yash, when I started this blog, it was started around SA exports.. But apart from some specific documentation, this process is more or less common to all exports around the world.. Do you have any specific queries..??

  4. Good day sir

    Thank you for your interesting resources. this represent a great help for beginners (like me) in import export world.
    Hope you continue.

    Best regards

  5. Hi,
    I have a query, if the shipment is on DAP term can the consignee be TO Order of the Bank, If Yes, then
    1. Why?
    2. Can you change the Consignee Name to actual buyer in case the earlier Notifying Party had refused to take the delivery?

    • Hi Rajesh, whatever terms are used, the bill of lading and the contract of carriage must be fixed in advance.. Here, the consignee can be anyone that is mutually agreed between the buyer and seller.. The Incoterms doesn’t affect who is shown as the shipper or consignee or notify..

      Terms of shipment and Contract of Carriage are two different things and should be looked at individually..

  6. Howzit Hariesh,

    Thank you for these blog entries, I can’t tell you what a help they have been thus far. There is still so much to read but you are making my transition to this industry that much smoother. I have been based in China for 6 years and am finally moving into sourcing, as I am a South African your blog is particularily relevant to me and I will no doubt be using it as a foundation now and a reference in the future. Thanks again for your efforts in putting together such a well written valuable blog.


  7. Hi Joy, since you are sending this back on your cost, presume you can use a CIF term.. However, that really depends on what the agreement is with your client on how the costs would be split if any or any other costs unaccounted for..

  8. HI, Hariesh,

    Think your site is great… very helpful as well.

    I have a question re exports:
    We are an importer & exporter.
    We have imported certain item but need to return it to the supplier at our costs. items initially came in on CFR terms. If we return at our costs which terms should we use.
    NB: items were duty free.
    Supplier is in Europe.
    THank you…

  9. Hi Mike, i presume you are asking at which stage the B/E is processed with customs..?? If so, it should be generally done before the cargo is packed into the container..


  10. Hi,

    Thanks for the interesting pages. I have a question for you – where in the export operation is the Customs Bill of Entry tenmndered for processing?

    I look forward to your response.




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