The time has come for you to prepare the negotiable documents that you will use to present to the bank to facilitate payment and the non-negotiable dcouments that you will send to the importer to allow him/her to take receipt of the goods and to clear them through Customs. The documents will be similar in nature; negotiable documents are marked as such and can be used to receive payment, while non-negotable documents (marked as such) cannot.
- You should now fax (or e-mail) a non-negotiable set of documents to the importer as soon as possible., This (a) informs the importer that shipment has taken place, and (b) enables him/her to make the necessary arrangments to take receipt of the goods and to clear them through customs. Some countries allow pre-clearing to take place and the sooner the importer has the documents in hand, the sooner he/she can get his/her affairs in order. You need to move especially quickly with air cargos (and even road cargoes going to nearby countries), as they could arrive the very next day (and occasionally even the same day). An importer will become very frustrated if the cargoes have arrived and you have not yet supplied the documents required to clear the goods through customs.
- The negotable set of documents you take to the corresponding bank in South Africa to obtain payment. The bank will scrutinise your documents very carefully for any discrepancies from what is stated in the L/C. If any discrepancies are found, the bank will inform you of these discrpancies and you will be required to make the necessary changes to ensure that dcouments are correct. Remember that this all takes time and by ensuring that the documents are correct, you speed up matters considerably resulting in quicker payment for your firm! If payment is against presentation of documents, then the bank will pay you immediately (transferring the payment to your local bank). If payment is at sight of documentation, then the South African corresponding bank will forward the negotiable documents to the issuing bank, who will require the importer to sign a bill of exchange as acknowledgement of debt.