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Export Operations

Question:

An exporter (based in Perth) of live-stock products (beef) sells an average of 500,000 tons a year. His buyers  are primarily located in four countries – A, B, C and D. The exporter’s ranch is inland about 1800km from his country’s main seaport (Fremantle). His products may be moved by road to alongside ship in the port of loading (Fremantle), passing through 3 major towns.  

Answer:

The purpose of this report is to prepare a detailed plan for the export operations carried out by the exporter based in Perth. The report gives extensive details on the various documentation procedures involved in exporting the livestock products in all the four countries. The report also studies on the type of payment facilities availed by the buyers,  customs clearance procedures, insurance of the cargo, export cost, packaging cost, details of the forward contract and a plan B for the export operations to all the four countries. The Incoterms discussed are in accordance with best to the procedures mentioned in the Australian customs cargo advice. The documentation process of both the importing and the exporting counties have been mentioned along with all the cost estimations for the same. The study also shows the various factors which needs to considered while exporting of the products to the four countries. The planning of the export operations has been done as per the challenges of the various countries, such as country A has well organized port and efficient rail service to support the various inland operations but known for labor discrepancies.  Similarly although country D has the most favorable condition for export of the live product, the policies for export of the livestock products is very strict.  Similarly in country C we can observe that the buyers are not reliable because of the declining economic conditions. Country B is known for congestion in its port operations, waiting time of more than 10 to 90 days but supported with efficient inland operations. Hence the report takes into consideration all the above mentioned challenges while preparing the documents and forwarding contract. It the cost component is also adjusted based on the aforementioned challenges of the four buyer countries. (Wabacha et al., 2014) 

International commercial terms

Incoterms are set of rules of prescribed by the International chamber of commerce (ICC). It consists of rules for of the standard international commercial transaction and procurement process.  The main purpose of incoterms is to clearly communicate the various risks and costs associated with the import and export operations involved in shipment procedure.  It is used to identify the responsibilities of both the buyer and sellers in any international contract.  The various applicability of specified rule varies according to the departure and arrival of the materials. (Coetzee, 2015)

According to Australian customs cargo advice the various norms of incoterms for any set of mode of transport is listed below as follows:

Ex- Works (EXW) - According to rule exporter is only responsible to make the goods available at the port facility and not responsible for loading the materials into vessel of the buyer. The seller is also not responsible clearing of the goods in any way. The buyer of the goods is responsible for taking the possession of the shipment from the point of origin and bear the relevant cost and risks associated to transportation process. (Kim & Jang, 2015)

Free carrier (FCA) - The exporter of the livestock items transfers the risk associated with damage of the products to the buyer. Free carrier is referred to as the point when the exporter is ready to hand over the livestock containers to the buyer’s vessel heading to Port Freemantle. In case the transportation is done by road, it is responsibility of the exporter to load the items into the truck and buyer is responsible for unloading the same at their risk (Johnson, 2013).


Free alongside ship (FAS) - This type of incoterm is ideal for shipments through water ways only. The risk of the damage of the products is transferred to the buyer of the livestock products. When goods are delivered alongside ship. The buyer has to pay for the handling charge of the cargo or the container on the board of the vessel. The exporter can use this form of incoterm in any country except for country B as the waiting time for ships varies from 10 to 90 days (Chung  & Lee, 2013).

Free on Board (FOB) – This rule is applicable only for water transportation shipments. The risks of the uncertainties are transferred to the buyer party as soon as the goods are loaded into the vessel. The exporter is responsible for bearing the handling costs. (Ioan, P., Gabriela, B. M., & Mihai, P. D., 2013).

Carriage paid to (CPT) – The CPT obligates the exporter of the livestock to make payment for the main carriage while sending to the main destination. Risk of damage of the material passes to the buyer as and when the goods are loaded into the main transportation vehicle (Stapleton et al., 2014).

Carriage and insurance paid to (CIP) – In this case the seller needs to pay for both the main carriage of the materials as well as for the insurance of the materials. The risk and uncertainties related to the damage are passed to the buyer as the goods are delivered to the main carrier (Rushtonet al., 2014).

Delivered at frontier (DAF) – According to this set of rules the exporter of the material is responsible for the transportation and incurring the damage to the named point at the place of the delivery at the frontier of the buyer countries. The incorporation of these terms ensures that the buyer of the livestock products is responsible for bearing the customs duties. This incoterm applies for all modes of transportation (Coetzee, 2012)  

Delivery ExShip (DES) - This applies only to the shipments related to the water transport. The seller is responsible for paying for the main transportation cost and insurance of the containers. The buyer takes the responsibility for the customs clearance and the risks associates to the carriage is borne by the buyer as and when the goods are made available on board the ship (Weems & Hwang, 2013)

Delivered Ex Quay (DEQ) – This incoterm is also only applicable to water transport. The risk of loss or damage of the livestock products are transferred to the buyer when the goods are cleared for import procedure in to the wharf of the destination country (Lane, 2012).

Delivered duty unpaid (DDU) – This incoterm is applicable to all mode of transportation. The exporter needs to incur the costs excluding the import duties to the destination port. The risk of the damage in this case is transferred to the buyer as and when the goods are made available to the destination port and the duties are unpaid (Maes & Brett, 2015)

Delivered duty paid (DDP): It deals with the seller’s responsibility for delivering and handling of the goods at the named destination. The seller takes the additional responsibility of clearing the containers for the import procedure and paying the customs duty. The import duties are paid before the occurrence of the uncertainties and the risk of the loss of the materials passes on the buyer on the quay (Bergami, 2013)

The chart given below shows the various conditions of incoterms 

The risk transfer process from has been shown with the diagram as follows:

Essential elements of a seller’s contract

The main information of the export contract includes name and address of the parties involved in the contract. It is also specified if the buyer party has paid in full payment or partly payment.  The product standard and specification and technical names are clearly specifies in the export contract.  The quantity of the products ordered should be clearly mentioned in the export order. As the exporter intends to sell 500000 tons on an average every year each country needs to be assigned with 125000 tons of cargo every year.  The export contract also contains information on the nature of items to load so that inspection can be envisaged as per the requirements. (Davidson, 2016)

According to Seyoum, (2013), In this foreign buyers of the product may plan their own inspection procedure.  The total value of the contract is clearly specified in the export contract. The export contract also consists of the terms of the delivery as per the delivery terms laid in the incoterms. The taxes included in the export contract may have to be borne by the buyer country and thus it defined the various buyers responsibility related to the delivered items. The export contract will also contain the delivery date and the delivery location in the buyer region. The contract also features the part shipment and Tran’s shipment consolidation policies of the cargo.  If any partial payment is agreed on the seller’s side then it should be clearly specified in the export contract. The export contract also contains various details regarding packaging, marking and labeling of all the containers.  It should also specify the requirement of the documents such as insurance of the goods. (Sampsa, 2015)

Essential elements of the buyer’s contract

The buyer’s copy of contract consists of the information related to port information of the seller. It also consists of the product description which is delivered by the exporter, quantity supplied, packaging and price agreement for the consignment. In the terms of the contract it is clearly mentioned which international commercial terms is associated with the export of the product. It also mentions the risks associations. That is whether the risk of damage of the goods is borne by the seller or the buyer party. The various agreements made for the payment related to the consignment payment, letter of credit or advance payments. All this components are mentioned in the buyer’s agreement of the contract. (Sampsa, 2015)

Contracts agreed between buyer and seller

The terms of the sales contract contains both the buyers and sellers obligations. Under the sellers contract it is clearly mentioned about the terms of payment agreement which has been agreed between both the parties. It is clearly mentioned whether the payment are made in full or partly.  The general components such as agreement of the price, warranty offered by the seller, limitation of the liability, and disclaimer of the consequential of the incidental damages which may be a result of the various challenges discussed in the four countries. The contract agreement also contains s the necessary information related to the credit terms, taxes of the importer and exporter country. The contracts also consist of the various obligations of the delays which might occur in the port of country B (Defever & Suedekum, 2015). 

A sample of the buyers and seller agreement contract has been below as follows:



 

Figure 3

Source: (Marsnik & Thompson, 2013)

Planning of the export procedure

Incoterms

The understanding of the incoterms plays an important role for the proper planning of the shipment. As discussed above the incoterms will be used in planning of the cargo. In both Plan A and Plan B the incoterms will be used as per the challenges existing in the four countries. (Metzger, 2014).

Key Challenges

The following table shows the various problems of the four countries. It has been also observed that except for country D the problems related to other countries are discrete in nature. This should influence the planning process in terms of the export contract, documentation of the cargo, payment procedure and customs clearance.

Key Concerns Country A Country B Country C Country D

Inland Operation  

Labor Disturbance  

Delayed Port Operations  

Poor economical conditions  


Payment Procedure

The exporter needs to frame both the plan on the basis of risk involved in the terms of contract. Hence it is important to understand the risk involved in the payment procedure relating to both the exporter and importer country. (Blecker & Ibarra, 2013)

Payment Procedure Risk Table

  Least Secure Less secure More Secure Most Secure

Exporter Consignment Open Account Letter of Credit Cash in advance

Importer Cash-in- advance Letter of credit Open Account Consignment


Customs Clearance

According to Helseth & Coulson, (2013), the exporter should also look to plan his shipments for an amicable way when dealing with the customs officer of Department of immigration and border protection of the buyer countries. The exporter needs to ensure that the details of the cargo have been accurately entered into the integrated cargo system (ICS), which will ensure the customs officer to track the shipments and assess the risk involved in the outbound cargo. In order to ensure a smooth customs clearance procedure the exporter should ensure that the products are categorized under Open General License. In the customs clearance procedure at first the exporter party is intimated about the export of the goods from the factory premises. The empty container are picked from the port and transported to the factory location for loading which is situated 700 km away from the port terminal. The loading of the containers are supervised by the export officials. The exporter party then needs to present the export documents which had been prepared as per the various challenges in the importer country. The customs officer then ensures proper marking of the containers and the quantities of the goods, before sealing. The filling procedure of the documents is done at the gateway port and the final procedure involves moving the containers to the point of vessel loading area. Once the Import general Manifest (IGM) have been filled the customs broker assigned by the buyer files necessary documents with customs authority for the said imported of the goods. The form is filled as per the Import general manifest by the exporter in the arrival of the shipment. In case of any discrepancy of the import general manifest the customs procedure can be preceded. The export and import documents should match with Import general manifest (IGM) (Kletzer, 2014). 

On the importers side it for the importers to decide whether he intends to clear the customs formalities with a customer broker. The importer should be also aware the customs broker is sage guarded by the power of attorney. Hence in case the importer fails to make payment for the customs clearance of the goods he can take help from the terms listed in the power of attorney as it is in his favor. (Gupta & Dasgupta, 2014)

The following image represents the power of attorney letter safeguarding the interest of the customs broker. 

 

Figure 4

Source: (Johnson, 2015)


Documentation Procedure

The common documentation procedure for any sort of shipment consists of the following details. The documentation procedure includes various commercial documents, financial and cost related documents, insurance of the cargo, transport document and international trade related documents. 

Documents prepared by the exporter

According to ALSTON & Kelly, (2012), the first requirement for commercial documents includes quotation. It is that document which accurate states about the details of the price, quality, trade terms, terms of delivery payment and quantity. The second most important document is sales contract. It states the various details of the transaction are legally advisable according to the Australian port authorities. The next set of important document to be prepared by the exporter is the pro forma invoice. The document is provided by the supplier before the shipment of the merchandise, it informs the buyers the kind of the quantity of the good which is to be sent along with the shipment. The pro forma invoice contains details of the volume of product and characteristics of the product to be exported. This particular document is not need while making the payment but during the applying for the license or arranging foreign currency needed for the funding purposes. The next set of documents prepared by the exporter is commercial invoice. This particular document consists of the information related to important information of the goods sold, terms of the payment. The document is the list of packing. This document consists of the detailed information of the goods packed for the shipment. The inspection certificate can be prepared either by the inspection company or the exporter. Australian inspection companies such as Intertek can facilitate the inspection activities of the various items which need to be prepared for the purpose of the export.  The exporter needs to get a health certificate as the products being dealt are livestock products which are related to agricultural or food products. The phytosanitary certificate ensures that the products delivered are free from any diseases which may raise quality issues after the export. 

According to Haichao et al., (2016), the exporter needs to prepare consular invoice, this document shows the information related to the shipment party like the consignor details, consignee details and the value of the items which is to be exported.  This document is very crucial as the customs officer need to verify the details of the quantity and nature of shipment with a single important document.  The exporter is also responsible for the preparation of the bill of exchange which is also known as draft. It is an unconditional order in written format in which buyer addressed to and required by the exporter to make payment on demand or at a future date.

The pro forma invoice has been shown below as follows

The entry of immediate delivery form has been shown below

A sample of letter of credit has been shown below as follows:

Documents prepared by the Insurance agent or the insurance broker

The insurance agent/ broker is responsible for preparing the insurance policy in which it is clearly stated about the details of the insurance coverage and evidencing policies in case of loss or damage of the cargo. The insurance agent is also responsible for preparing the insurance certificate as per the terms agreed between the buyer and the seller (Ostrager & Newman, 2012)

Documents prepared by the shipping companies

The shipper’s documents are interrelated with each other and the documentation process is based on a particular series. The shipping order is the most important document prepared by the shippers. It acts as the basic documents required for making the other transport documents such as bill of lading.  The dock receipt is prepared by the shipper which states the conformation of the cargo from the seller’s factory to the Freemantle port area. This document is also known as the import general manifest (IGM).  The shipper then further prepares the bill of lading. This document acts as an evidence of the agreed contract between the exporter party and the importer. The bill of lading can be either straight bill of lading which is non negotiable in nature and it can be of shipper’s order bill of lading. This document is a vital document need by the buyer as an evidence of the possession of the goods after the shipment procedure has been completed. The shipping company is also responsible for preparing the seaway bill which is a receipt of the agreement contract between both the parties and this document is non-negotiable in nature. The final important document prepare by the exporter is the customs invoice document. The customs invoice document consists of the particulars about the importers country regarding payment perms, cost of freight and selling price which is used for determining the customs value by the customs officials (Bishop, 2016).

Documents prepared by the importer

In the instruction details the importers need to clearly specify airway bill number, the exporter’s country, the origin of the goods, the details of the manufacturer’s ort the shipper. The importer also needs to prepare the sales contract similar to the exporter. The importer is required to prepare the promissory note which obligated the buyer to make the payment to the seller on time and agreed terms, such as paid in advance or paid by the importers bank in case of letter of credit. The importer prepares the customs broker form which consists of the information related to delivery information of both the importer and exporters country. The importer is further responsible for preparing the trust receipt (T/R), this document releases the merchandise order by the bank to the importer, although the bank retains the title of merchandise, it is the buyer who obtains the goods for processing is further obligated to maintain the goods which are distinct from the remainder of the goods (Seyoum, 2013)

The exporter’s declaration and the importer’s endorsement for, has been shown below as follows:

 The importer’s letter of instruction to the customs broker has been shown below 

Transport Documents 

Some of the additional transportation documents include:

House Air Waybill- Issued by the forwarding agent

Certificate of Origin- Trade and Industry Department

Import / Export Declaration - Trade and Industry Department

Import / Export License- Trade and Industry Department/ customs department

International Certificate  for import (IIC)- Trade and Industry Department

Delivery Verification Certificate- Trade and Industry Department

Landing Certificate- Census and Statistics Department

Formulation of Plan A and plan B

The details of the planning process of the shipment procedure for the four countries have been shown on the basis of plan A and plan B.

Plan A

The plan A for country A should involve the flowing characteristics:

Country A

As country A is suffering from the problems related to labor discrepancies the exporter should secure his goods with a letter of credit. The letter of credit (LC) will ensure that even if there are issues related to the labor discrepancies the payment of the goods will be made by the importer bank. The only problem related to issuing letter of credit is to get the LC confirmed. Even if the buyer is willing to extend the terms of payment due to labor discrepancies the exporter is guaranteed to receive the payments as per the contract. The shipment of the goods can be done as per Ex works terms of delivery, where the seller is only responsible for making the goods available at Country A, while buyer bears the risk of transportation of the goods and its unloading process. Hence in the contract document it is clearly mentioned that the payment will be made by the importers bank and the handling of the cargo will be done by the importer party. The exporter need not carry the burden the additional expenditure on insurance as the inland operations are free from any hindrance. The packaging of the containers is the responsibility of the importer and the various customs charges for clearance of the goods shall be borne by the exporter. Special precaution should be taken while packaging of the materials due to the existing discrepancies of labor (Stapleton et al., 2014).

Country B

The plan A suggests the plans for transportation of the goods by seaways. In the given scenario country B suffers from delayed port operations hence the customs broker plays a vital role in this regard. The customs broker is responsible for handling the delayed unloading operation and making the payment to the exporter. The ideal incoterm for the type of situated is free alongside ship (FAS). This mode of incoterm is only applicable for water transportation. The buyer needs pay for lifting of the cargo and the risk damage or any form or delay is shifted to the buyer of the goods. As the other conditions are favorable the insurance of the deliverables is not mandatory. The seller may avoid spending huge amount on insurance. The ideal mode of payment for this type of shipment can be based on consignment payment. This type of payment is a type of open account payment. This is considered to be the safest mode of payment option for the buyer party as the exporter will receive the payment only after the goods have been sold to the importer has sold the livestock products in the market. In this form of payment services the exporter may get a competitive edge in terms of faster delivery of the goods and thereby reducing costs of managing inventory and storing the livestock products. (Besson et al., 2015)

Country C

The country C suffers from economical issues so the exporter need to be cautious in terms of receiving the payment. The incoterms which can be used for this type of situation is carriage paid (CPT); this incoterm obligates the exporter to make payment for the primary carriage operations to the destination port. The terms are applicable to both sea and roadways of transportation. The risk of the damage of the goods can be borne by the importer. In terms of modes of payment the exporter should ensure receiving the payment through letter of credit. In this way even if the country is facing economic crisis it can easily receive the payment from the importer’s bank. The promissory note should be duly confirmed by the customs broker (Schwenzer et al., 2012). 

Country D

As the country D is having the most favorable condition for exporting the cargo, the best incoterm which can be used in this form of situation is Delivery duty unpaid (DDU). This mode of payment is applicable to all modes of transport. The exporter needs to bear all the costs except import duties of the destination port. In this form of carriage contract the risk are to borne by the buyer only when it is made available at the buyer’s port. The best payment option to be availed in this situation is consignment payment, as all the conditions are favorable. In this way the exporter will be able to save cost to a great extent. The packaging can be maintained according to high standards and insurance costs can be reduced in this case. The cost associated to country D is expected to be low, as the terms of contract and payment can be made flexible due to favorable export conditions (Rosal, 2016).

Plan B

Country A

The alternative plan to export the product in country A is per the international commercial terms of Free Carrier. This can be used with either mode of inland transport and the risk of damage of the goods is transferred to the buyer like ex works. This is particularly ideal to resolve the issues relating to labor discrepancy. In this planning the company may consider the need to insure the goods against any loss due to labor discrepancies. The exporter can ask the importer party to pay the amount in advance. As this is the most secure method of receiving the payment and it also ensured that the goods are prevented against any form of loss due to labor discrepancies. In the contract document it should clearly stated that the payment is to be made in advance.  The customs clearance needs to done as per the agreed contract and it can be borne by the importer. The international contract of CIF (cost, insurance and freight) can be used for plan B.  The FCA incoterm is also ideal as the country has excellent inland and rail operations. In this case the seller needs to make the payment for both the carriage and the insurance amount. As the labor discrepancies exist in country A this incoterm is ideal (Aragonés, 2015)

Country B

As the country suffers from delayed port operations which may last from 10 to 90 days, the sea route to this country can be completely avoided and the exporter can take the advantage of efficient inland transport operations. The international commercial term of free carrier (FCA) can be used in this type of situation. The inland road or rail operation does not have any hindrance so this form terms and conditions are ideal for country B.  Moreover the risk of damage of the goods can be completely shifted to the seller. The payment terms considered for plan B may be done as per cash payment in advance. The open account payment should be avoided by any means as the delay in sales operation will create additional delay in receiving of the payment.  The cost allocation may be higher due to the increasing demurrage charge which needs to be paid to the charter of the vessel for the delay. In order to avoid demurrage charges the exporter needs to know the number of free days granted to the freight forwarder. As the transportation process will be through road ways there should be an alternate trucker in case the initial assigned trucker is unable to pickup up the cargo on time (Foltos, 2014)

Country C

As the country is suffering from economic downfall, it may happen that the exporter is unable to make timely payment. In such a situation the exporter may ask payment in form of consignment payment. Hence the party needs to pay only after selling of the products. In order reduce the uncertainties of the terms of payment the seller may assign only a small amount of average volume for this country. The ideal use of incoterms in this form of situation would be carriage and insurance paid (CIP) where the risk of carriage and the insurance amount is borne by the exporter party. The goods needs to insured against damage or any form of uncertainties Park & Jeong, 2016).

Country D

The plan B may be used as per the terms of Delivered Ex ship (DES).  The risk of damage needs to be borne by the buyer, when the goods are made available on board of the ship in the destination port. The importer is responsible for customs clearance. The payment contract can be done as per open account. In the open account terms of payment the party needs to pay only after selling the livestock products. This form of payment is best suited for country D due to absence of any sort of labor discrepancies, delay in port operations and economic turmoil. The exporter can be still be assured of receiving the payment in full and allocated more sales volume than other three countries (Schwenzer et al., 2012) 

Conclusion

The report gives extensive details of the incoterms and the entire documentation procedure in import/export operations. The various terms of the contract and documentation procedure related to both e exporter and the importer has been discussed in this report. In order to plan the shipment to four destinations it is important to understand the modes of payment associated in import/export operations. The various risk related to the modes of the payments has also been discussed in this report. In order to plan the shipments based on the challenges of the three countries. The various issues related to custom duties and insurance of the cargo have been discussed. Brief reports on the cost and average volume for shipment have also been stated. The plan A and B differs in terms of mode of transportation service, selection of international commercial terms and modes of payment agreement in the contract. The cost estimation prepared for both the plans shows that company will be able to save more if implements plan B into its export operations while in Plan A it will be able to gain in terms of volumes traded. The risk considerations in both plans differ from each other. While planning for shipment in country A the risk considered for shipment is much more in compared to when the plan B. Thus the risk and cost savings is high as per plan B but the volume traded is low (Chopra & Singh, 2015).  

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