The world keeps getting smaller and smaller due to the power of globalization and international air travel. This also means that shipping goods internationally is becoming as easy as mailing a letter to your friend the next city over.
Millions of packages whiz across the world, arriving on time, and safe and sound, due to the miracle of fulfillment companies like FedEx, Purolator, and more. UPS and FedEx combined shipped a total of 34 million packages in 2018. Phew!
And this is only within the United States. Millions more get shipped internationally. But as you can imagine, the process for shipping goods out of the country is much more stringent and restrictive than shipping goods out of state.
Let’s read on to see 7 steps that will ensure that shipping goods internationally will not be a monumental pain in your behind, and your international package will arrive without a scratch to its intended destination.
Ensure Your Item Can Be Shipped and Received
Many items cannot be shipped from one country to another due to differences in laws or due to criminal issues. For example, even though marijuana is legal in Canada, it cannot be shipped across the border into the United States.
Depending on the contents of your package, shipping goods internationally might need you to apply for an export license.
An export license has to be obtained far before you decide to ship your items, as you will need to comply with the Export Administration Regulations (EAR).
You also have to ensure that the party you are shipping to can receive international packages, and isn’t restricted somehow, due to various reasons.
A Customs Broker Can Help Make Shipping Goods Easier
If you think that shipping goods internationally is too complicated for you to handle, or too filled with headaches, then hiring a customs broker is definitely a great idea.
A customs broker knows the ins and outs of the US customs process, ensuring that your shipment won’t get delayed due to you missing or forgetting a form here or there.
Depending on the value of your goods, the shipper you are working with might be able to provide their own customs broker. Or you can choose your own, especially if you are going to be doing many of these shipments.
If there are any issues with the shipment, instead of you going out to solve them, a customs broker can help you deal with it, and expedite the process of shipping goods internationally.
Gather All the Information Necessary for Your Customs Document
There are many pieces of information that you will need to put together before you can even start creating your customs document. Of course, if you have a broker, they will do all this for you.
But without a customs broker, the onus of filling out the documentation correctly falls upon you. Even a minor error in the documentation can result in your package being delayed or even sent back.
To avoid this, collect the following pieces of information first:
- The purpose of your shipment
- Is it a commodity or a document?
- The value of your shipment in total
- Country of origin of your commodity
- The commodity code in the Harmonized System (HS)
- Estimated duties and taxes
- Who is the receiver or importer?
- Total transportation charges and who will pay for them
Create Your Customs Document
Once you have gathered the pieces of information above, it will be quite easy for you to fill out all customs documentation that is needed for shipping goods internationally. The most important document being the Commercial Invoice.
Some other documents that you might need as well, would be the Pro Forma Invoice, and the Certificate of Origin and Packing List.
Create Your Shipping Label
The international shipping label creation process is a bit more complicated than mailing a letter abroad. This is because the shipping label will need not only your own information as the exporter but also the complete information of the importer.
Also, you will be placing all these labels into a clear white plastic pouch on the surface of the shipment, along with copies of any other customs documents necessary, like the Commercial Invoice, and such.
Package Your Item
Nowadays, due to the sheer volume of packages being shipped all over the world, exporters are inclined to take extra care in packing their items. You will need to do the same.
Try plastic wrap to ensure that your package is safe and sound, and protected from any damage while in transit. Shrink-wrapping your goods will ensure that even if the handlers are a bit rough with them, nothing will break inside or spill out from the box.
Get Your Item Over to Your Shipping Agent
No matter if you are using a private shipper, or a commercial one, like FedEx, or Purolator, you have two options when getting your packed commodities over to them.
Either you can ask them to pick it up from your place of business, or home, or you can drop it off at their location directly.
Since the package is ready to go with a shipping label and all, all you need to ensure is that they put it into their system, and you are good to go.
If you are concerned about the documentation or have any questions, you will be able to ask them while you are dropping off your package. This way you have covered all avenues.
Shipping Goods Internationally Doesn’t Have to a Scary Process
Once you go through the process of shipping goods once, you will be a pro at it. It’s really quite simple and is getting simplified as time goes on, because of the sheer volume of packages being shipped hither and thither.
Do not feel intimidated – there are dozens of resources online to help, and of course, your shipping agent or customs broker will be a font of information for you to take advantage of.
If you liked this article, please do check out all the other informative posts on our website.