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Paperwork means a routine clerical or record-keeping work often incidental to a more important task.[1] The paperwork, in the frame of the complex channel of international logistics, is presented by a flow in both directions (from a seller to a buyer and vise versus) of “paperwork” items (the items may be on paper, or increasingly in electronic form) of documents, data, information, and instructions/commands. Paperwork exist not only in seller-buyer communications but between the both and all other transaction stakeholders involved; such as, bank, forwarder, freight forwarder, marketing intermediary (agent, broker, distributor, consignee), trade or trade & industry chamber, arbitration court, customs, regulating, controlling and inspecting, government and non-government agencies (involved into export/import formalities and procedures, issuing corresponding licences and certificates), communication providers, etc. The flow of tipical main documents (from U.S. practices in international trade[2]) in the frame of the international logistics paperworks coud be split into five groups (Table 1. below):

Main Documents in International Logistics Paperworks

Invoices Export Documents Import Documents Transportation Documents
  • Export Licenses
  • Export Controls
  • Shipper's Export Declaration
  • Export Taxes
  • Export Quotas
  • Certificate of Origin
  • Certificate of Manufacture
  • Certificate of Inspection
  • Certificate of Certification
  • Phyto-Sanitary Certificate
  • Certificate of Analysis
  • Certificate of Free Sale
  • Import License
  • Consular Invoice
  • Certificate of Insurance
  • Bill of Lading
  • Uniform Bill of Lading
  • Intermodal Bill of Lading
  • Air Waybill
  • Charter Parties
  • Packing List
  • Shipper's Letter of Instruction
  • Shipments of Dangerous Goods
  • Manifest

While EDI protocol (Commercial Electronic Data Interchange) has sufficiently facilitated and accelerated the paperwork in international logistics, a very large number of documents involved in international transactions (many more than in a purely domestic exchange) makes the papework chaos is a major problem in most small (not only) businesses. However, with current network technology and cloud computing, it's possible inexpensively install a paperless office system and eliminate paperwork chaos. Business immediately becomes more productive in your business.[3] Currently, paperwork skill in international logistics is considered as one of strategic core competencies because well organized and properly executed paperworks save time, minimize a risk of fatal errors, and, last but not least, creates a goog image or reputation for a business.


  2. David, P., Stewart, R. International Logistics: The Management of International Trade Operations - Thomson: Mason, Ohio. 2007. - Ch.9.
  3. How Can Outsourcing Eliminate Paperwork Chaos? |
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