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Get Your Docs in a Row: Integrating Global Trade and Transportation Execution

Global trade and transportation requires lots of paperwork. In this QAD Precision Report we look at how integrated solutions simplify the export process.

The Benefits of Integrating Global Trade and Transportation Execution 

Whether you sell circuit boards or cosmetics, getting your goods to your customers is critical. All manufacturers of physical products have one thing in common — the need for transportation. Transportation links buyers and sellers, as well as goods with markets. 

Human beings have engaged in trade for a very long time — not just locally, but globally. Think of the Phoenician ships sailing throughout the Mediterranean, trading textiles, glass, wine, oil, dried fruit and nuts, or the merchants travelling the Silk Road. As long as humans have engaged in global trade, we have needed a reliable way of transporting goods over long distances. 

Over the centuries between then and now, transportation options have changed — but not by that much really. Ships are bigger and can travel greater distances at quicker speeds, but a significant number of goods still reach their destination by sea. Trucks are certainly quicker than horse-drawn carriages, but the need for well-maintained road networks remains the same.

Our merchant forebears may not have had air freight, or express carriers, or drones for that matter — with the exception of carrier pigeons! On the positive side, these traders had to deal with a lot less paperwork.

Transportation Documentation

The modern world runs on paperwork — whether physical or electronic. When goods travel across town or around the world, they travel with reams of documentation and labels. These can include:

  • Accredited carrier labels

  • Tracking numbers

  • General purpose shipping labels

  • Address labels

  • Return labels

  • Packing lists

  • Bills of lading

  • Dangerous good notes

  • Driver manifests

Not all of these will be necessary for every shipment — but a lot of them are crucial. Done manually, even a simple shipment — let’s say a digital camera body and two lenses — requires quite a bit of time to complete. At scale, manually creating all the requisite documentation for every shipment becomes an onerous task. 

Having said that, shippers cannot afford to have incomplete documentation. If required documents are missing or incomplete then delayed, returned or destroyed shipments may result. Plus there is the possibility that shippers will be liable for the cost of extended customs storage, penalized with fines or that customers may withhold payment if they don’t receive their goods in a timely fashion.

Export Documentation

When you ship goods internationally, the number of documents required to complete a shipment can rise exponentially. Let’s take a look at some of these:


Governments often use commercial invoices to calculate the customs duties due on a particular shipment. In addition, governments may require that you prepare the commercial invoice in a specific format, language and so forth. Therefore, a company exporting internationally may not be able to simply include their own standard commercial invoice. This means they need a way to generate appropriate commercial invoices for different destinations.


In simple terms, a customs declaration is an official document detailing the goods imported or exported. However, in legal terms, a customs declaration places goods under a particular customs procedure. These include export, free circulation, transit, temporary admission, inward and outward processing and so forth. Governments use customs declarations to control the goods entering a country and to assess duties. 

Certain jurisdictions may require extra documentation alongside the customs declaration. For example, in the US, you will need to include a Shipper’s Export Declaration if you export a commodity with a value in excess of $2,500. 


Certificates of Origin identify the country of manufacture of goods. These certificates are not always needed — some countries require them for all products or only for certain goods. In addition, some countries require notarized certificates of origin, while others will accept a simple statement of origin on the manufacturer’s letterhead. Certificates of Origin are always needed when claiming preferential treatment under a free trade agreement. 


The bill of lading is a document that lists the shipper and the consignee, as well as the type and quantity of the goods transported. In simple terms, the bill of lading is a  contract between the shipper and the carrier for domestic or international shipments. The bill of lading states what goods are being shipped, along with the shipment origin and destination. 


Goods classified as dangerous and must be accompanied by a Shipper’s Declaration for Dangerous Goods. This is a requirement of the International Air Transport Association (IATA). Exporters must ensure the accuracy of the details supplied. In addition, they must meet IATA requirements in respect of packaging, labelling and so forth.

How QAD Precision Can Help: Integrated Global Trade Management and Transportation Execution

If you ship internationally, an integrated solution for global trade management, documentation production and transportation execution such as QAD Precision simplifies the export process. With our integrated solution, all major functions (shipping, trade documentation, and compliance) are done through the same solution, and built using the same software.

Integrated solutions promote on-time delivery while reducing compliance exposure. From the beginning of the export processes, QAD Precision will vet the transaction, alert you to critical export shipping and/or regulatory controls, including export screening and license determination.

QAD Precision also automates documentation production and customs reporting. As a result, global shippers have all of the documents needed to complete a shipment, prepared correctly and presented in the right format and language. This includes all export documentation as well as carrier compliant labelling and transportation documentation.

As a result of QAD Precision’s integrated system architecture, 95 percent of information for each shipment transaction is automatically provided. This dramatically increases productivity, while reducing errors and streamlining the shipping process.

About QAD Precision – Trusted Global Trade and Transportation Execution

QAD Precision (Precision Software), a division of QAD Inc., provides industry-leading global trade management, transportation execution and multi carrier shipping software solutions from a single, integrated platform. Preeminent industry leaders in every region of the world rely on QAD Precision’s global support centers to leverage thousands of carriers and manage millions of shipping transactions every day. Our open architecture easily integrates with Enterprise Resource Planning, Warehouse Management Systems and legacy solutions. An ISO-certified company, QAD Precision assists companies to minimize shipping costs, optimize first mile and last mile deliveries, automate free trade agreement compliance, avoid customs delays and mitigate the risks associated with dynamic trading environments to maximize their competitive advantage. QAD Precision’s customers span multiple industries including banking and finance, life sciences, high technology, retail, industrial, automotive, higher education and public sector as well as logistics providers. For more information about QAD Precision, visit www.qadprecision.com.


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