Proof of Delivery – POD in Exports and Imports

Importance of proof of Delivery in the procedure

Businesses associated with exports and imports are widely familiar with the term POD, an abbreviation of Proof of Delivery. It is the most important document that indicates that the goods imported overseas have reached the final consignee. It is also known as Port of Discharge.

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Content of POD

The document contains all the necessary information with reference numbers that can prove to the exporter that the cargo was delivered to the consignee. These include the description of cargo, its quantity, number of packages, invoice number and other reference numbers relevant to the particular import shipment, and the date and time of delivery, etc. In case the cargo is delivered via transport the POD will also contain the vehicle number. There can be other pertinent information mentioned on the POD, depending on the requirements of the company sending the goods overseas.


Treatment of POD

When an overseas cargo arrives at the importing country, the customs department examines the necessary documentations and fulfils the standard formalities as per the government rules and regulations of the country. Once the cargo gets clearance from customs, it is handed over the carrier, which takes the cargo to the consignee following the terms of delivery decided between the exporter and the importer.

The documents that the carrier will carry along with the consignment are DDU (Delivery Duty Unpaid) or DDP (Delivery Duty Paid) and POD (proof of delivery). After delivering the cargo at the specified destination, the carrier will collect the delivery duty if that is not paid and a copy of POD signed by the consignee or their authorized representative. The carrier is supposed to return the POD to the exporting company as an authentic proof of delivery of the consignment.


Types of POD

Previously, POD used to be of only one type, but now there are two ways of recording the Proof of Delivery.

The traditional method remains a paper invoice which the exporter sends along with the cargo for the receiver to sign and acknowledge receipt of the product.

The second type is an E-POD or Electronic Proof of Delivery. In this process, the receiver is to sign electronically on a device that the carrier agent carries typically with them. E-POD is a better option for its additional features like real-time status updates and geotagging. It saves paper, as well.

The customer receives a softcopy of the POD at their email ID, and it can be subsequently downloaded if need be there.


Importance of POD

  • Genuine proof of delivery of an overseas consignment to the consignee.
  • A document that helps the shipper to follow up for the payment with the importer.
  • A document that indicates the terms of payments such as ‘receipt of goods by buyer’ or ‘payment on delivery of goods.’

Useful Tips For Receivers Before Signing POD

  • Check the quantity and quality of the goods delivered before signing the POD. The customer may refuse to sign the POD if they are not satisfied with any of them. If POD is signed without this exercise, the customer cannot hold the exporter responsible for any damage or poor quality shipment.
  • The same process needs to be adhered to while accepting Return to Origin (RTO) delivery. If the customer finds any tampering on the outer packaging of the shipment, they should leave a comment on POD.
  • If the shipment is delivered in a damaged state or something is missing in the consignment, the customer must complain within 24 to 48 hours of receipt of the same for claims along with a negative remark on POD.

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