International shipping is on a rise, thanks to increased e-commerce sales. Shipping overseas is slightly different than shipping locally. There are custom regulations, additional paperwork and extra procedures that you must be aware of.
Here are 8 factors that you must consider before shipping overseas.
- Customs and Taxes
Every product you ship must clear customs. This is to make sure that the product is allowed into the country and check if all the taxes and duties are correctly paid.
The fee depends on the value of the product and the country it is being shipped to. Any non-paper item will have a duty fee before it can be shipped to another country. Most shippers have the paperwork and duty information available on hand. You just need to fill out the paperwork and pay the required tax.
- Weight of the Package
Shipping overseas is not cheap. Since the shipping fee is based on the weight of the package, it is important that you weigh the product accurately.
Use weighing scale to determine the exact weight of the package. If the product is weighed incorrectly, you may end up paying extra.
Some shipping services need a specific weight or dimension requirement. Ensure the package fulfils all such shipping requirements of the shipper.
- Time of Transit
It is very important to determine the delivery date when you ship overseas. Check how long the transit time is and plan your shipment accordingly.
International shipments are more likely to get delayed due to a number of factors. Most countries might not even have the option of overnight shipping. The custom clearance might take a while depending on what you are sending. Determining the time will help you plan the shipment properly.
- Compare Prices on Shipping
If you are shipping several packages, compare prices on the shipping. Every company has a different shipping fee.
Go to their website to check their fee. Enter the dimensions and weight of the package you want to ship. This will give you an estimate of the amount that you will have to pay for the shipment.
Getting the paperwork right is essential for international shipping. The most common document is the Commercial Invoice. It is a detailed list of the sender, receiver and information of the products being shipped. It also includes the value of the products and country of origin.
Other important documents include Certificate of Origin, Electronic Export Information, Shipper’s Export Declaration and NAFTA Certificate of Origin. Learn about all these documents and check which ones you need for shipping your products.
When you have the paperwork in order, you can expect smoother shipment and on-time delivery.
- Medium of Transportation
You can ship overseas through 3 mediums – air, sea or freight. Regardless of which medium you choose, consider the cost, time and product you want to ship.
Shipping by sea is generally affordable but transit takes a long time. Air freight is the fastest but is the most expensive option.
You would not want to ship perishable and delicate goods via the sea as they can get damaged in closed containers. Determine which products are good to send by road. Once you know all the options, you can choose the best medium to transport.
- Identify the Restricted and Perishable Goods
Check if the item is on the restricted items list or not. It should not be on the restricted list of the country you live and where it is being shipped to. If it is found to be restricted, the customs personnel can prevent the product from leaving or entering the country.
Additionally, check if the goods are perishable or not. If you follow the best shipping practices for perishable products, you can ensure that the products don’t get spoilt during the transit.
No matter how careful you are, there is a risk of damage in international shipments. For this reason, you must insure the products for accidents and damages. This will save you money, especially if the product is valuable and expensive.
If your business is ready to step into international waters and take global orders, go right ahead. Shipping products internationally is not as overwhelming and tedious as it sounds. Keep the above-mentioned points in mind and you can ship any product internationally without worrying.
Kevin Hill heads the marketing efforts at Quality Scales Unlimited in Byron, CA. Besides his day job, he loves to write about the different types of scales and their importance in various industries. He also writes about how to care for and get optimized performance from different scales in different situations. He enjoys spending time with family and going on camping trips.