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Top 10 Things to Keep In Mind When Shipping Overseas

This is a guest post by Celina Jones – who as the owner of a shipping consulting business,  has quite a lot of experience in helping organizations send shipment overseas to several different countries. She sees the emergence of websites like Verschiffung USA as a new trend, with shipping facilities going out of their way to make sure that their target markets abroad are well informed of the current rules and regulations. 

When shipping products internationally, many things need to be considered; procedures are far more complex than for local shipments. There are a lot of additional custom regulations that should be followed and a huge amount of paperwork that needs to be sorted out. Moreover, you also need to consider the shipment costs and time it will take for the shipment to reach different destinations.

thinkAs it wished to develop its presence on the German market, the Port of Montreal created a website in German, Verschiffung USA, where prospects could find all the necessary information. It was designed to help prospective clients make sure they had everything sorted out if they decide to ship a product to the US through Canada. The ten main things to remember when sending an overseas shipment are as follows:

1.           Custom Regulations

The very first thing to consider when you are sending online shipments is the custom regulation. All products that are shipped internationally, regardless of the medium of shipment, will be required to clear customs. You will also be required to fill out the appropriate paperwork, usually two custom forms; one for the country where you reside and one for the country where the product is being shipped.

2.           Custom Fees

When products are being shipped internationally, a fee is charged by the custom department. Depending on the value of the product and the country where it is being shipped to, this fee varies widely. You will have to pay more fees if your product is of high value. Therefore, it is necessary to check the custom fee rates of different countries before shipping your product.

3.           Shipping Tariff

This includes the shipment fee that will be charged by the shipping company and any other additional freight taxes that are applicable on certain products. For this rate, you will have to check out several shipment companies and their tariff rates. Companies that provide shipment to particular countries such as Verschiffung USA are likely to have different prices as compared to companies that provide worldwide shipment.

4.           Time of Transit

When shipping products internationally, it very important to determine the date you want them to be delivered and plan your shipment carefully. In international shipment, there are far more chances of your shipment getting delayed. For some countries, the option of overnight delivery may not be available at all. Also, depending on what you are sending, the custom clearance can take a long time as well, so prepare accordingly.

5.           Packaging

Depending on the country where your shipment is being sent, you will be required to handle the packaging accordingly. The goods should be carefully packed and labelled accurately. If you are unclear about what you have to do, you should consider hiring a shipment company that handles packaging as well.

6.           Medium of Transportation

Another thing that needs to be considered is the medium of shipment that you want to use which mainly includes sea or air freight. Three things should be considered here; time, cost and product. Air freight is the fastest method but an expensive one. Sea freight on the other hand is quite affordable but take a lot more time. Also, sea shipment is often not considered appropriate for delicate items which cannot endure trips enclosed in cargo containers.

7.           Restricted Items

A lot of items are restricted in some countries so you should consider this before you send your shipment. You need to check the restricted items list of both the countries; where you live and where the shipment is headed. If the item you are sending is on the list of any one of the countries, the custom personnel will likely restrict it for an indefinite period.

8.           Shipment Rules of Perishables

If you are sending goods that are perishable, there are some definite rules in that case which you will be required to follow. The type and quantity of product allowed to be shipped varies depending on the country of shipment and your own country.

9.           Shipment of Animals and Plants

If you are shipping animals and/or plants, there are several addition shipment forms that need to be filled out beforehand. Also, the shipping company you select will have to be more reliable and experienced in handling shipment of living creatures, taking good care of them throughout the journey.

10.     Insurance

The risk of damages is quite high in international shipments. Therefore, it is far safer to get your shipment insured for damages and accidents, especially if they are highly valuable. Even if you think it is unnecessary, it is a financial safety net that can save you from a lot of potential problems.

Keeping these points in mind, you can make sure that the process of international shipping goes flawlessly for you. If you are aware of the essentials and get them out of your way in the right manner, international shipping can get relatively easier. The first time you send a shipment abroad would be the hardest to sort out; after that you will know exactly what to do, and a good shipping company like Verschiffung USA can make it much easier!

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Hariesh Manaadiar
Hariesh Manaadiar
I am Hariesh Manaadiar, the Founder of Shipping and Freight Resource.. I have been in the dynamic shipping and freight industry for over three decades and have worked in several sectors.. I share my experiences and knowledge of the industry through this blog for those looking for help in the industry.. Stay subscribed for more free useful content about shipping, freight, maritime, logistics, supply chain and trade..


  1. Dear Celina – thank you for a great article. If I should add one point, it would be the importance of getting a commercial agreement in place between buyer and seller early in the process where it is 100% clear who pays for which part of the shipping process. There are always a number of steps which take place in the shipping process:

    – export haulage
    – export customs clearance
    – origin handling
    – freight
    – destination handling
    – import customs clearance
    – import haulage

    and for every single shipment, all these need to be arranged and paid for by either shipper or consignee. Obviously, Incoterms is a good place to start – but advise would be for first time shippers to really understand each part of the process and to know which costs to expect to avoid any negative surprises later in the process.


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