Logistics and documents

To be prepared for export, you need an overview of transportation that is associated with the export. This includes modes and duration of transport, as well as cost and insurance. This gives you an advantage in negotiations. Below, you will find information regarding logistics and documents to prepare.


It is important that you as an exporter communicate with your buyers regarding delivery time from the very start of a new business relation. Importers often plan a long time ahead and it may not be a problem that the delivery time is long, if this is made clear from the beginning of the cooperation.

The importer often pays for the transport but may want information and advice from you as an exporter for options. Therefore, it is important to research before you have a sales meeting or sales call, so you know some options of transport, time and prices. For example, it is crucial for exporters of food and other perishable goods to know exactly how many days it will take to transport to the buyer. This may also be the case for some clothing, especially seasonal clothing, like winter clothes. It is important that the goods will reach the intended market in time.


In global trade, incoterms set rules and gives guidance. The main purpose of using incoterms, is to minimise the risk of costly misunderstandings and disputes between exporters and importers. It provides clarity on areas of responsibility, risks and costs involved in, for example, transport of goods.

Incoterms are standards used in international sales. They are voluntary recommendations that can be applied by importers and exporters to define their obligations and responsibilities in an operation. Swedish importers normally refer to the Incoterms 2020.

Familiarise yourself with incoterms before starting your trade negotiations. The Incoterm that you choose will be reflected in the export price.
Incoterms on the International Chamber of Commerce website

Examples of commonly used incoterms

DDP: Delivered Duty Paid. The seller bears all the costs and risks involved in bringing the goods to the place of destination. 

EXW: Ex Works (named place). The seller make the goods available, suitably packaged, at the specified place, usually the seller’s factory or warehouse. 

FAS: Free Alongside Ship (named port of destination). The seller delivers when the goods are placed alongside the vessel (e.g., on a quay or a barge) nominated by the buyer at the named port of shipment.

FOB: Free on Board (named port of shipment). - The seller delivers the goods on board the vessel nominated by the buyer at the named port of shipment. 

CIF: Cost, Insurance and Freight (named port of destination). The seller arranges and pays for transport to named port. Seller delivers goods, cleared for export, loaded on board the vessel. Risk transfers from seller to buyer once the goods have been loaded on board. Seller also arranges and pays for insurance for the goods for carriage to the named port.

Which documents do you need to prepare?

It is very important that, before the time of export, you have talked to the EU importer in order to know which document you need to prepare. Below is a list of documents that may be relevant for you. However, please note that this list is not exhaustive.

  • Export declaration. This form is submitted by the exporter at the place of export. It provides information about the shipment, including type, number, and value.
  • Commercial invoice. This is a record or evidence of the transaction between the exporter and the importer. Once the goods are delivered, the exporter issues a commercial invoice to the importer in order to charge him for the goods. No specific form is required. The commercial invoice is prepared by the exporter and submitted in the original with a copy enclosed.
  • Packing list. This commercial document accompanies a commercial invoice and transport documents. It includes piece count, dimensions and weight per package, etcetera. The packing list is required for customs clearance as physical validation of the commercial invoice.
  • Freight insurance. An insurance is very important when it comes to transportation of goods because of their exposure during handling, storing, loading or transporting cargo. The freight insurance is a contract that covers the transport risks and regulates compensation if something happens during the transport.
  • Phytosanitary certificate. If you are planning to export plants or plant products to the EU, you will most likely need to have an official phytosanitary certificate that accompanies your shipment. The document certifies that the conditions of your plants and plant products complies with the requirements for entry into the EU, and that they are free of plant pests and other harmful pathogens. A national authority in the country of export issues the document. The certificate has to be made out no sooner than 14 days prior the date of export. When a shipment from a third country arrives in the EU, there will be compulsory inspections.
    Plant health and biosecurity on the EU Commission website
    Sanitary requirements on the EU Access2Markets website
  • Health certificate for animal products. This certificate must accompany all types of animal products when arriving to the EU. An official veterinarian från the competent authority in the exporting country, must guarantee that the conditions for import into the EU have been met. The veterinarian must sign the document. Upon arrival in the EU, the animal products and the accompanying certificates must be verified and checked by EU official veterinarians at a designated border inspection post.
    The European Commission website on animal products
  • CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora). If you intend to export certain species of animals and plants that may be considered as endangered you must be aware of the CITES-requirements. This also applies to products made from such species. Some species are prohibited to import into the EU, other must be accompanied by specific export and import certificates.
    More information on CITES on the EU Commission website
    Find the convention text on the CITES website
  • Certificate of Origin. This document determines the origin of the products in the shipment. The document provides the possibility for the products to be exported at a reduced or zero tariff rate.

Get further support

Feel free to contact us at Open Trade Gate Sweden if you would like to have more information about logistics and documents. Please, include as much information as possible about your product and conditions for export.

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