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When you work with international trade and commercial freight, there are many shipping documents that come under your purview. One such shipping document is referred to as the “Certificate of Origin” which is used to identify the origin of the goods being freighted.  Many countries across the globe request for a certificate of origin and is one of the most important international trade documents that not only declares the origin of the goods in question, but also that they have been obtained wholly, produced, manufactured or processed in the country that has been mentioned.  A certificate of origin can either be a paper or electronic document and is often abbreviated as “COO” or “C/O” or even known as “Form A”.

A certificate of origin is important as it the origin country will reflect how tariffs, embargo and other trade policies applied on the freight in question. However, as we said before, only some countries require it, and not all exporters will need to undertake it. This is based on the destination of the freighted goods, its nature and the finances. To ensure the validity of a certificate of origin, the exporter is required to sign this shipping document and also countersigned by the local Chamber of Commerce.  With concern to a handful of destination countries, the Certificate of Original will also be required to be signed by a consulate.

There is also what is called non-preferential and preferential certificates of origin, whereby the former ensures that the goods do not benefit from any preferential treatment or any bilateral/multilateral free trade agreements. This type is considered the standard certificate of origin which Chambers of Commerce are authorised to issue. However, there are the preferential certificates of origin that will benefit from bilateral/multilateral free trade agreements such as those from the likes of the European Union, ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), and NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement).

It’s important to remember that country of origin and preferential origin is different from each other. For instance, the EU will decide the (non-preferential) country of origin based on the last stage of the manufacturing process also legally termed ‘last substantial transformation’. The FTA is the determining factor. Furthermore, there are some countries that have deleted customs authorities to issue preferential certificates of origin on behalf of the chamber of commerce, thus goods from the likes of Australia, New Zealand, Sweden and the United Kingdom fall under this lot.

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If you are looking to send shipments internationally, then you need to be aware that certain international shipping documents are needed to ensure that customs clearance occurs without a hitch. These includes the likes of the Commercial Invoice(CI), Certificate of Origin (CO), Bill of Lading, and  Proforma Invoice,  to name a few.

Proforma Invoice

A proforma invoice is essentially used when handling international trade transactions, whereby a quote is drawn up in the format of a Proforma Invoice which allows parties to arrange for financing or to open up a line of credit to facilitate the transaction, or even apply for an import license.  The necessary specifications of a Proforma Invoice as part of international shipping documents for shipment include information on the buyer and seller, detailed description of the goods being traded, the Harmonized System of classification for said goods, price, payment terms (expressed as an IncoTerm), delivery details and relevant costs, and currency quoted. It’s vital that the proforma invoice be dated and an expiry date is also included to reduce risk.

Commercial Invoice

A commercial invoice is raised once a Proforma Invoice is sent and the order has been received and goods need to be prepared. A Commercial Invoice will include the details of the entire export and is one of the necessary international shipping documents. The commercial invoice will often have the same information as a proforma invoice with additions such as the order number, purchase order number, or customer reference, and banking/payment information. If you are opting for shipping insurance, that should also be included.

Bill of Lading

There are three bill of lading documents for the different forms of freight; inland, ocean and airway.  An Inland Bill of Lading can be raised by the inland carriers which is essentially a contract of carriage between the export and shipper as well as where its destination is. Often, it also acts as a form of receipt of goods. When it comes to international shipping, the inland bill of lading is consigned to the carrier or forwarder who will consign the goods when ready. An ocean Bill of lading is required in the event of ocean freight which acts as a contract of carriage and a title for the cargo. There are two types; a straight bill of lading and negotiable bill of lading (which we will discuss in the coming weeks). An Air Waybill is when goods are shipped internationally by air freight whereby it acts as the contract of carriage between the shipper and carrier.

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The countdown will soon begin, and it will be that time of the year. With only a few short months to go till Christmas, a lot of us have started on the task of curating for Christmas gifts for loved ones. With that in mind, sending wrapped gifts internationally will require some special considerations.

One would be when to ship out your packages in advance so that they reach your loved ones in time to stick the gifts under the Christmas Tree. The other would be to know how to pack them so that when sending wrapped gifts internationally, you’re wrapped gift boxes are left intact and unharmed. Let us look at both of these factors so that sending wrapped gifts internationally can be done as seamlessly as possible.

At Transco Cargo, we offer our shipping dates schedules on our website for our clientele to make arrangements and understand estimate delivery of shipments based on the final cut-off date of when our branches will be accepting drop offs or pickup of personal shipping boxes or crates for shipping.

The following includes dates for shipping to Sri Lanka;


Month Final Cut Off Date Estimated Arrival
September 2018-09-01 2018-10-08
September 2018-09-08*** 2018-10-17
September 2018-09-15 2018-10-22
September 2018-09-22*** 2018-10-31 ***
September 2018-09-29*** 2018-11-05 ***
October 2018-10-06 2018-11-14
October 2018-10-13*** 2018-11-19 ***
October 2018-10-20 2018-11-28
October 2018-10-27*** 2018-12-03 ***
November 2018-11-03 2018-12-12
November 2018-11-10*** 2018-12-17 ***
November 2018-11-17 2018-12-26
November 2018-11-24*** 2018-12-31 ***
December 2018-12-01 2019-01-07
December 2018-12-08*** 2019-01-14 ***
***Note: Cut off only held at Campbellfield, Dandenong & Hoppers Crossing Transco offices.


Similarly, you may find other shipment dates to India and Fiji. With concern to the rest of the world, Our cut-off dates usually occur on Monday, Thursday and Friday for the following countries;

Monday Thursday Friday
New Zealand



South East Asia

Persian Gulf







if you are looking for cut-off shipping dates for USA, Canada, and the Pacific Island (except Fiji), please speak to our Transco Cargo representatives.

Now, onto the packing element of sending wrapped gifts internationally, it is important to know that there are certain items that cannot be shipped, and one should make note of this prior to sending out gifts. Food items, or any flammable substance is usually restricted but these may differ from country to country. You are able to check on this list by visiting our page on Restricted Items.

Thereafter, what you need to do is actually get down to packing your wrapped gift boxes into shipping boxes. You can opt for two main options; one being wrapping each individually in small boxes and including the in a shipping crate if they are being sent to the same address based on the size of the goods. You are also able to opt to simply send each item individually in a shipping box for each wrapped gift. Follow our guide on how to Package your gift for Shipping Overseas for the proper way on how to pack when sending wrapped gifts internationally.


Featured Image Credit -Packhelp

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With Christmas soon approaching, for those whose family and other loved ones are residing overseas, it is important to find economical means of sending your gifts for shipping overseas. This usually means that your gifts will be sent via sea cargo freight and that means that you are required to package your gifts for shipping overseas. With Transco Cargo offering a means of door-to-door delivery, you are able to package your gifts accordingly either in individual gift boxes, or package your gifts for shipping overseas in larger shipping boxes or crates. Regardless, if you are planning wrapping these gifts before you ship them, you need to know how best to package your gifts for shipping oversees. In this blog, we break it down for you into a few easy steps!

Choosing the box you wish to transport your gift box is crucial. If you are have wrapped your gift up, then that usually means that the contents within are secure. In order for the exterior box to provide maximum protection during transport via sea freight, it is vital that the gift wrapping in the interior box and not the exterior. This will preserve the look of what is meant to be stuck under the Christmas tree. You can also opt for a gift bag which would make customs clearance easier.

Once you have placed your gift box within the shipping box, ensure that there is a fair gap between the interior box (gift box) and the exterior box (the shipping box).  Thereafter, fill in this empty space between those two boxes with packing peanuts, chips, or even newspaper to ensure the interior box does not move around.  We recommend using the two- box method mentioned above so that you are able to provide extra cushioning and also preserve the gift wrapping. Thus, when you package your gifts for shipping overseas, keep this in mind.

Once you have enough cushioning between the two boxes, make sure to reinforce any hinges, or flaps with packaging tape so that nothing come undone. This is very important if you are recycling an old or used box for shipping. You can also acquire new boxes via Transco Cargo too along with packing peanuts and other cushioning materials for shipping.

Make sure you also fill out the paperwork properly, as this will aid Transco Cargo in a smoother customs clearance procedure.   Packing lists should be mentioned and included with the box when handing over to the Transco Cargo representative.

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More often than not, the two terms are interchanged and unfortunately, that is not the case, as these two shipping terms are not synonymous. When it comes to purchasing items from ecommerce websites, you often see additional costs for the likes of “packing and packaging” or “post or postage”. Often these two are paired together because they are part of the process of getting a delivery dispatched, however, that does not mean that they are one and the same. Let us break it down for you.

What is Packaging?

Packaging is the terms used in commerce terms for wrapping product SKU in branding to make it distinguishable when covered in its special material. At this stage, packaging can include a picture of the contents with graphics used to represent the product in its real-time use. The term branding or wrapping is also utilised for packaging as it will almost always feature the brand name, the product name and more, which is used as a means of a display element in the retail and shipping industry whilst also acting as a protective component. Whilst packaging and packing are both essentially a means of covering a product or products with a protective element, the stage at which it is done and why play a big role in its distinction.

What is Packing?

Packing is usually the term used during dispatching of an items or several items when bundled together. For instance, let us take a product that has been packaged with colourful branding wrapping or covering. This can be in a clear plastic film coat or in the instance of it being an electronic item, such as a laptop, this box will be put into an shipping box or crate with proper cushioning material so that the external packaging of the laptop will not be dented or damaged during transport. The crate or shipping boxes will be the “packing element” of packing and packaging” whereas the laptop box which it comes in is the “packaging” itself.

How does Packing and Packaging affect the Supply Chain

Whilst packaging is the first course of action to get a product ready for the retail world or for shipping purposes, it is often important to protect this layer of covering by including the packaged items in another covering for shipping purposed alone. For instance, if you were to take individual boxes of personal computers which needed to be loaded into a container for shipment, these personal computers will be packaged individually in their own boxes and thereafter, stacked together and then wrapped with protective cushioned and secured to a pallet that will then be wheeled into the container for shipping.

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The condition of your cargo during transport is heavily reliant on how well you pack it into the boxes or crates.  The type of packing you choose will also be based on the goods you are dispatching, the mode of transport and the condition you want to receive it at the destination point.  The type and also the nature of the packing for your cargo is based on a few factors.  These include the type of product(s), the mode of transportation for dispatching your cargo, the route and the final destination, the climatic conditions, the customs duties and the freight rates, the cost of the materials for packing for your cargo, and the pallets.

The type of product will mean you need to choose the packing for your cargo accordingly as size and weight and nature will play a factor. Large and heavier object are usually shipped and packaged in crates, whereas you may choose the likes of wooden cases or cardboard boxes for small to heavy cargo items. Whilst these are ideal for containerisation options, you may choose to use bags for the likes of powder products (cement), plastic drums or containers for liquid products such as oil, or bales for bulkier products such as cotton.  Some products such as electronics are always best packed with moulded packing materials which are then placed into the boxes. If you do not possess the original moulds, then using packing foam would be best to ensure that your electronics do not move around during transport and does not affect the stability of the exterior packing of your cargo.

The mode of transportation, that is, whether its air freight or sea freight, may also determine the amount of packing for you cargo that is needed. Air freight requires less, whereas containerised shipments will require even less than non- containerised cargo.

The route of your shipment and the final destination will also play a factor in how you go about choosing the packing for your cargo. If it’s a high risk destination, it’s always better to pack diligently to avoid mishandling and pilfering. Consider the distance and the transfers.

Climatic conditions are also important when choosing packing for your cargo. High humidity areas can sometimes affect the integrity of your cargo and not to mention the working conditions. Thus often, little bags of silica are packed with the cargo.

If the customs or freight rates are based on the weight of the cargo, then less packing will be best for cost effectiveness. Opt for lightweight packing materials to ensure proper packing without the added weight increase.

Packing materials are an added charge and based on your requirement, you need to purchase those separately. Choose from our shipping boxes and crates, and inquire with us to find out what other packing materials are ideal packing for you cargo.

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When you are sending freight overseas, your options are either air freight or sea freight. The selection process of how you choose which way to dispatch your cargo oversea is based on a few criteria. The deciding factors  are many including the level of urgency of the cargo, the physical nature of the cargo and its contents,  the budget and cost for shipping and freight, special requirements for handling, the value of the cargo, the frequency of such deliveries, and not to mention, the weight and volume of the cargo. All these factors will decide how you choose to dispatch your cargo.

In certain instances, there may be times that these factors may conflict with each other, in which case you, as the shipper, need to make an executive decision. For example, whilst you may require the goods to be sent urgently, the goods in question may not be authorised to be dispatched via air freight due to regulations or there may not be enough funds in the budget.

If we were to consider the factors to consider when choosing how to dispatch your cargo, the following are to be considered.

Nature of your Cargo

Depending on the nature or type of cargo you are planning on dispatching, the choice of transport is determined. If you are planning to dispatch your cargo which is perishable in nature, then the obvious choice is air freight, whereas, the likes of dangerous goods such as fertiliser cannot be sent via air freight due to regulations and must be dispatched via sea freight.

Geography and Travel

The distance and geography between your point of origin and destination will decide on how you dispatch your cargo.  Road, rail or sea freight may be the obvious choices for surface shipments, if not air freight will be your go to.


The urgency of your delivery and based on how much priority should be given, your cargo may need to e dispatched by the fastest means possible, which is air freight, but that does not warrant for a cost effective solution.  When planning procurement and supply chain, it is always a good business practice to allow for shipment in the timeline to avoid rush shipments which could be costly.


The cost of your shipment will be based on size & volume, and also timeliness. Based on these factors, you may choose sea over air. A good rule to follow would be to group small shipments together.


High valued shipments are often sent over air freight even if there is no time factor due to the fact that the journey will be less vigorous. Proper packing practices should always be taken, it’s always advisable to undertake the added fee and get professionals to do the packaging for you to avoid damage and also take on shipping insurance.

  • A general rule of thumb that shippers or freight forwarders use, is that if the cargo is relatively of high value or high volume, then dispatch your cargo via air freight.
  • If the cargo is relatively of low value or low volume, then opt to dispatch your cargo via sea freight.


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Figuring out the different processes that is involved when shipping and to and from India is something that we undertake on your behalf.  To avoid any delays when shipping to and from India, knowing the basics is the best course of action. At Transco Cargo, we have put together a quick guide and introduction on shipping to and from India, whether it’s parcels or boxes. There a few specific factors we have to look at when shipping to and from India, and those are namely; prohibited/restricted items, shipping documentation/customs clearance, personal effects/gifts, and shipping to/from remote areas.

Every country, as does Australia, has their own set of restrictions and regulations that one must follow. It is the same when you partake in shipping to and from India. Prohibited items when shipping to and from India include the likes of pornographic and obscene content, maps/literature indicating incorrect external boundaries of India, ivory, whereas restricted include second hand goods, medicine (of any quantity), used electronics to name a few. For the complete list of prohibited/restricted items, visit “Restricted Items for Imports – DGFT”. Whilst when you opt to ship parcel/boxes/chests to and from India, documents shipping are exempt from such restrictions. It’s extremely important that one adheres to the list and avoid any issues that could arise due to the type/nature/category of your cargo goods.

In the spirit of shipping to and from India without a hitch, it’s important to ensure that documentation and customs clearances procedures along with its relevant documentation is carried out with due attention. At Transco Cargo we not only take care of the shipping documentation required for shipping to and from India, but also are experienced to handle customs clearance/customs brokerage services.

When it comes down to personal effects/gift items that would usually be sent via courier or parcel post, regardless of which option you opt for, there are still some restrictions of what can be send via parcel post or courier shipping to and from India. These include the likes of the following which are restricted personal effects/gift items that come under scrutiny when sent via courier/post; aerosols, dairy items, furs, ivory, fresh food items, animals, cash, nail polish, perfume, plants, tobacco and even seeds. Furthermore, there are certain gift items that are exempt from duty and taxes. The gift exemption is listed as INR 10,000 for both gifts and up to 10 business samples of the same kind. It should be noted that the recipient is responsible for paying duty/taxes on such items, but if you are sending a gift, you can request for those charges to be charged to the sender and not the recipient.

One last thing to mention when shipping to and from India is the fact that India is a large sub-continent with a diverse geo landscape. There may be a surcharge when shipping to such remote locations to ensure delivery.

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A freight forwarder is an important part of the cargo industry that transports trillions of goods annually. By working closely with your freight forwarder, you can ensure the best experience in shipping globally. If you are in business, by partnering up with a great freight forwarder, you can expand and grow your trading business.

One of the many processes of a freight forwarder is to understand the ins and outs of international trade and logistics, along with the many regulations that come with global scale trading. Whilst to business traders, expanding onto an international level can be daunting especially with the many rules and regulations of the country’s you are dealing with, a freight forwarder will help with navigating through them with ease and expertise.

Acting as middle men, the processes of a freight forwarder involves being the parties that deals with the companies (or individuals) sending cargo overseas and the shippers that are responsible for transporting the cargo. It is important to remember that freight forwarders are not shippers as a more specialised service is offered. With their understanding of international trading and its regulations, one of the processes of a freight forwarder involves facilitation of goods shipping internationally successfully.

The processes of a freight forwarder are extensive, where representatives of a freight forwarding firm have a great command of the laws and regulations of global trading, the paperwork involved with sending/receiving logistics. From taking care of the cargo manifests, to shipping insurance & claims, taking care of shipping goods on internal bills of lading,  there is much that a freight forwarder undertakes.

The processes of a freight forwarder can be broken into several stages;

1st Stage: Export Haulage – transporting goods from the warehouse to the designated warehouse of the freight forwarder

2nd Stage: The 2nd stage of the processes of a freight forwarder entails the receiving of the cargo and thereby checking and ensuring that all the cargo goods are ready for transportation.

3rd Stage:  The documentation stage of the processes of a freight forwarder that involves dealing with customs clearance, whereby the submission of  documents is required prior to sign-off of the goods before leaving the country of origin, that is, Australia.

4th Stage:  The 4th stage of the processes of a freight forwarder includes the receipt of the goods within the destination country and the often the offer of customs clearance on this end is also provided by the freight forwarder should you need it.  Once having cleared through the destination country’s customs and all paperwork handled along with payment, your cargo goods will be transported to the warehouse which is known as import haulage and thereafter delivered to address as required.

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Are you looking to import into Australia? Looking for more information on the import process flow? We have you covered! Keep reading for essential information on the Australian import process flow when importing goods into Australia.

First and foremost, you should be advised that any good being imported into Australia that is valued over AUD$1000 will need to enter the country with an “Import Declaration” which can be made in a number of ways; through the   ICS (Integrated Cargo System), or via the B650 Customs document.  Based on various factors pertaining to the type/nature of the goods, certain fees may be generated. As the importer, you should remember that you will be required to pay Goods *& Services tax (GST) when it arrives in Australia.

At Transco Cargo, we recommend you take us on as your Customs Brokers to make the Australian import process flow better and easier on yourself, as we can assist you in all matters including that of filling out the Import Declaration form. Furthermore, we can also undertake other aspects of the import process to make it a hassle free experience such as looking for cost-efficient customs tariffs.

It’s important to also remember that there may be specific Australian import process procedures and formalities such as with importing medicine, waste, plants or live animals. By speaking to Transco Cargo about your goods, it will allow you to understand where your cargo goods are classified. In the event you are importing commercial samples, you may acquire an ATA carnet which will classify it as a free sample that cannot be sold and allow you certain benefits such as not needing a customs declaration and not needing to pay a deposit in the country of import.

As previously mentioned, the Australian import process customs threshold from which tariffs are required lies at A$1000 and in terms of average customs duty it lies at 5%. However, for other goods such as automobiles, textiles & shoes, they will carry a higher customs tariff (17.5% on average and up to 25%). There are preferential rates when dealing with imports from Pacific countries and Papua New Guinea.  The customs tax base Is usually based on the valuation of the imported  goods, whereby the tax will be payable to as soon as your customs brokers, Transco Cargo, has cleared your cargo through Australian Customs.

Get in touch with Transco Cargo to facilitate your Australian import process by inquiring through our website.