Cash Against Documents (CAD)

What is
Cash Against Documents (CAD)

"Cash Against Documents (CAD)" which is also known as Documents Against Payment (D/P) or Sight Draft, is a payment arrangement where the seller retains control over the shipment until the buyers pays for the goods. The seller ships the goods, but instead of sending the shipping documents directly to the buyer, they are sent to a bank. The bank releases these documents to the buyer only upon payment. Essentially, the documents are exchanged for cash, ensuring that the seller receives payment before the buyer gains control of the goods. 

Cash Against Documents (CAD): A Key Trade Finance Mechanism in Freight Forwarding 

In the dynamic world of freight forwarding and supply chain management, particularly within the realms of ocean and air freight, the term 'Cash Against Documents' (CAD) holds significant importance. CAD is a common payment method in international trade, offering a balance of security for both the seller and the buyer. Understanding CAD is essential for professionals involved in global trade and logistics. 

Role in Freight Forwarding 

  • Risk Mitigation: CAD helps mitigate the risk of non-payment for the seller. Until the buyer pays, they cannot claim the goods, as the necessary documents for customs clearance and taking possession are withheld. 
  • Simplified Transactions: This method simplifies the transaction process in international trade. By involving banks, both parties have a trusted intermediary, reducing the complexity of direct international financial transactions. 
  • Flexibility and Control: CAD provides flexibility and control for both the buyer and the seller. The seller has control over the goods until payment, while the buyer can inspect the documents to ensure the shipment is as per agreement before making payment. 

Impact on Supply Chain Management 

  • Cash Flow Management: For suppliers and buyers, managing cash flow is crucial. CAD provides a clear timeline for payment, which aids in financial planning and cash flow management within the supply chain. 
  • Supply Chain Efficiency: Efficient use of CAD can enhance supply chain efficiency. It ensures that goods are shipped and payments are made promptly, keeping the supply chain moving without unnecessary delays. 
  • Documentation Compliance: Ensuring that all necessary shipping documents are accurate and complete is vital in CAD transactions. This compliance is key to avoiding delays in the release of goods upon payment. 

Challenges and Best Practices 

  • Understanding of Terms: Both parties must have a clear understanding of the terms of CAD, including when payment is due and the exact documents required. 
  • Bank Reliability: The reliability of the involved banks is crucial. Both parties should work with reputable financial institutions to facilitate the CAD process. 
  • Timely Communication: Timely communication between all parties, including banks, sellers, and buyers, is essential for the smooth execution of CAD transactions. 

Technological Integration 

Leveraging technology in CAD transactions can greatly enhance efficiency and security. Digital platforms can facilitate the secure exchange of documents and communication between parties, reducing processing time and the risk of errors. 


Cash Against Documents is a vital mechanism in the world of freight forwarding and supply chain management, particularly for international trade in ocean and air freight. It offers a balanced approach to risk management for both sellers and buyers. Understanding its nuances, ensuring accurate documentation, and effective communication are key for leveraging CAD effectively in global trade. As technology continues to evolve, integrating digital solutions into CAD transactions will further streamline the process, enhancing efficiency and security in international trade finance. 

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