Best Practices for International Shipping

Best Practices for International Shipping

As a business, you may expand your operations by shipping products internationally. If so, it’s important to understand the best practices for international shipping so that your shipments are successful and cost-effective. International shipping has its own set of rules and regulations you need to follow and go by. Furthermore, each country is different, making it quite complex in some situations. However, with the right shipping company, you will have little to worry about. 

First, it’s essential that you understand international shipping regulations and get familiar with customs declaration forms and documents. You’ll want to consider packaging and labeling requirements as well. Also, shipping internationally is different than shipping locally. You’ll want to check with your insurance company or the shipping company to ensure you have proper insurance. Additionally, ensure all paperwork is properly completed, including choosing appropriate payment options.

What Paperwork Is Needed For International Shipping?

Shipping products internationally can be challenging due to customs regulations, carrier options, and paperwork requirements. To start, you’ll need to determine if the product can be shipped as intended. You can find many of these rules and regulations on  

Basically, you’ll first need to ensure you don’t need to acquire an ECCN number from the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) division if you intend to ship in larger quantities.  

If your shipment requires a validated export license or is worth more than $2,500, Electronic Export Information (EEI) must be filed through the Automated Export System (AES).

Keep in mind there are some things that are restricted from shipping. You’ll also need to ensure you are not shipping any of those items.

This all can be accomplished with the right customs broker. Don’t panic. You don’t actually need to know all of the ins and outs of shipping internationally. A customs broker can help.

Finding the Right Custom Broker

International shipping is a complex process, but choosing the right customs broker can make a big difference. A customs broker is a professional who helps with document preparation and goods clearance through customs. To select the best customs broker for your needs, follow these tips:

  1. Research and select a dependable partner with experience in domestic and international trade regulations.
  2. Calculate the cost of shipping and fees like taxes and duties associated with sending goods overseas.
  3. Verify suppliers’ compliance with international trade laws through detailed background checks and choose a carrier wisely to avoid delays and high costs.
  4. Understand carrier restrictions on shipped items outside the country and fill out documentation correctly to comply with current regulations.
  5. Ensure accurate completion of commercial invoices, packing lists, bills of lading, and export documents to avoid delays or violations of law.

What to Expect from Your Shipping Carrier

When choosing an international shipping carrier, consider the transit times, rates, service options, and reliability. Look for carriers offering freight forwarding or consolidation services to save money.

After pickup, pay duties and taxes associated with imports/exports and clear items through customs control. Additionally, your carrier should use tools to provide real-time information to their customers and regularly communicate updates regarding shipment status. Ensuring compliance with regulations and customer satisfaction are crucial for successful international shipping.

Gathering Important Information

Your customs broker will need proper documentation filled out. You should prepare to have this come to you. You’ll need to know a few things, such as:

  • What is the purpose of your shipment?
  • Are you shipping a commodity or document?
  • What is your commodity’s value?
  • What is your commodity country of manufacture or origin?
  • What’s your shipment’s Harmonized Code?
  • Do you have any taxes or duties you are responsible for?
  • Who are you shipping to?
  • Who is responsible for the charges of duties, taxes, and shipping?

Let’s go over these in a little more detail. 

Purpose of the Shipment

The purpose of your shipment is a pretty easy one. Is this for personal use or reasons? In many cases, with businesses, it’s not. It is for commercial purposes or returns and repairs. The options will be listed for you. You just need to be honest about which one you choose. This will have an effect on the customs cost.

Shipping Commodity or Document

Documents are exactly what you would expect, a document for some purpose. This isn’t a tangible good and, in many cases, has no commercial value. However, commodities are products that do have value and will need to be taxed accordingly. 

Value of Your Commodity

Here you will need to put the value of the shipment. This will be used for insurance purposes as well as taxes and duties.  

Manufacturer or Country of Origin

This one is pretty easy; where was the product made or grown? 

The Harmonized System Code (HTS Code)

To properly analyze tariff and product classification, international trade requires the use of Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) codes, which importers and exporters require. Unfortunately, locating the appropriate HTS code can be challenging, especially for first-time importers. However, there are helpful resources out there that can be utilized. This is a good resource for that:

Taxes and Duties That Are Your Responsibility

This will most likely be determined by your customs broker. They calculate this based on the information you provide.

Who is the Buyer?

This is pretty easy for most exporters. You will need the buyers’ information.

Who Will Pay for the Shipping

This usually has already been agreed upon between the seller and buyer but simply needs to be declared.

Call PM Logistics Services Today!

International shipping can be daunting for businesses. However, with the right knowledge and logistical solutions, you can offer your customers timely and affordable goods. To start, familiarize yourself with the shipping rules and regulations, researching the costs involved and lead times.

When packing, use appropriate materials to protect items from damage and ensure accurate and up-to-date documentation.

Work with reputable shipping carrier suppliers. These carriers should be up to date with the latest in technology. This will ensure that you have very little to worry about when shipping internationally.

If you want to break into the international shipping market, contact us today at PM Logistics Services to learn more.

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