When the need arises to ship any cargo to an international destination, there would be a number of things that would need to be kept in mind. Procedures for international shipments are generally more complicated than local freight. There would usually be a great deal of Customs regulations which would need to be followed and a good amount of formalities of paperwork that would need working out. In addition to these, one would also need to concentrate on the cost of shipment and the actual time it would take for such a shipment to reach their respective destinations.
In this article, we will try and list the eight most important things you must know before you ship any cargo overseas :
1. Rules and Regulations of Customs
The first thumb rule one needs to focus on when shipping internationally are the Customs rules and regulations. All goods that are shipped to different countries do require to clear Customs, irrespective of the mode of shipment. One will also need to complete the requisite paperwork. Generally there would arise the need for two Customs forms, one for the country from where the goods are being exported and one to where the goods are being sent.
2. Fees at Customs
Goods that are shipped to international destinations attract a fee that is charged by Customs. The value of the goods shipped and the destination to where they are being shipped decides the amount of Customs fee that will be charged, and this may differ widely. One may need to pay higher value of the fee if the goods are of high value. Thus it becomes imperative that one checks for the fees charged at customs of various countries to decide on the total cost of shipment.
3. Tariff of Shipping
This will ideally consist of the fee of shipment that is to be raised by the company that ships your goods and any remaining extra taxes for freight that might be applicable on certain categories of goods. One should ideally compare multiple quotations for costs and applicable rates of tariff. This will ensure competitive pricing for the exporter and also fair practices amongst shipping companies.
4. Transit time
When you are to ship cargo internationally, it is very noteworthy the you are certain of the delivery date of a particular shipment and plan your shipment details accordingly. There are multiple reasons why a shipment can get delayed beyond schedule when traveling on international waters or skies. Delivery overnight might not be an option at all for several destinations across the world. Then again, some particular categories of products may take much longer getting cleared from Customs than others, so you need to prepare and ship with time in hand.
5. Packaging of Shipment
Your nature or category of goods beings shipped, its perishability, its fragility and tensile strength, along with the country to which your goods are being shipped will be the main deciding factors of the requirement of the kind of packaging you will need for your product. The cargo needs to packed carefully and accurately labelled so that they may not get damaged or lost during transit. It is best usually to hire the services of a reputed packaging and freight forwarding company that is adept at handling such jobs.
6. Medium of Transport
A major issue that needs to be sorted is the mode of transportation of the shipment that you would ideally use. This would majorly always be either air or sea. Type of product, cost of shipment and time taken to ship are usually the three things to be considered while deciding on a particular option. Air freight is obviously the quickest means but tends to work out to be very expensive. Sea cargo transport is usually very affordable, but takes a lot of time. Heavy machinery and other heavy goods are generally best sent by sea freight. On the other hand, delicate and perishable items are always best shipped by air.
7. Shipment of Restricted Items, Perishable Items and Animals/Plants
There are many goods which are restricted in many countries, so the shipper needs to have a comprehensive idea about the list of banned or restricted goods, both from the country of the exporter, and to where the goods are being shipped to. Customs clearance usually is very difficult to come by in the case of restricted goods.
If one needs to ship perishable items, then you need to determine the exact rules governing the shelf life, nature and permitted quantity of such goods, because such rules may often differ between your own country and the country to where the products are being shipped.
When it comes to shipping of live animals/plants, there are many additional customs requirements and clearances which need to be met, depending on the country. Also, it is usually prudent to choose a freight forwarder and a shipping line that is well-versed in the carriage and care of live animals and plants during transit.
There are always risks involved regarding damages, breakages, pilferage and destruction of cargo when they are being shipped internationally, so it is always a safe bet to have the shipment insured with a reliable international insurer. Choosing the correct insurer, depending on the nature and value of goods, rules of insurance and possible claims and terms and conditions carriage are things one needs to take care of judiciously while making a shipment.
If you keep these eight above mentioned pointers in mind, shipping cargo will become much easier and hassle-free for you. You can minimize your risks and maximize your profits, while making sure that your goods have a safe and incidence-free transit.