There is a significant opportunity available for businesses prepared to join the international shipping frenzy. Sales of products shipped to international destinations are growing exponentially, and perceptive companies work carefully to prepare marketing plans aimed at acquiring international business.
Preparing an international shipment requires a little more than just putting product in a box. The proper shipping crate is of the utmost importance, not only to meet regulations but also to protect your shipment.
Each import and export country has their own set of government requirements and customs regulations. To do business confidently in this global economy, it is essential you know what these requirements are.
Nothing makes a business look worse than shipments being delayed or turned back by customs. Occasional delays are to be expected due to fluctuating factors such as weather, but the grace period only lasts so long before your customers start to look for another supplier.
There is so much to know about the entire customs process. Therefore, before you start, it is best to consider where you will be shipping to. Without careful checking, there is the possibility of your customer being a restricted trading party or embargoed country.
Additionally, restricted and prohibited commodities vary widely between countries. For example, Vietnam considers it a crime to import calendars for commercial use.
Any documents for shipping crates internationally need precision and accuracy. The smallest mistake can lead to delays that cost both you and the customer money. The following documents are generally required for shipping so you should familiarize yourself with them, even if you are using a broker:
1. Bill of lading
2. Commercial invoice
3. Consular invoice
4. Inspection certification
5. Destination control statement
6. Certificate of origin
7. Certificate of insurance
8. Warehouse and dock receipts
9. Export packing list
10. Export license (if needed)
Should You Use a Customs Broker?
When you are first starting out, a customs broker may not be required. If you will be shipping internationally on a large scale, choosing a customs broker just makes good sense.
A customs broker is an expert in compliance rules, item classifications, various procedures, trade and tariff agreements, and other foreign restrictions. The biggest benefit is the time and money this will save your business.
They will take care of preparing all the proper documentation for each country. If any problems arise during shipping, or once the importing country has been reached, the customs broker will take care of them.
A good broker will also ensure your shipment reaches its destination as quickly as possible.
The “Bug Stamp”
Otherwise known as IPPC (International Plant Protection Convention), most countries accepting international shipping crates constructed from wood require this stamp. These rules apply to both supply and packing materials that contain wood.
Packaging material includes items such as wooden drums, crates, pallets, cases, and dunnages used as cargo cushioning.
The purpose of the ISPM 15 rules is to prevent the possible spread of various diseases and pests that come from plant-based materials. The introduction of pests from one country to another can potentially have devastating consequences and is a real cause of concern to the United Nations.
After the use of heat treatments or fumigation to kill fungi or insects, raw wood packaging may receive the stamp. Any shipment containing materials using raw wood will not be permitted to enter destination countries or cross borders of IPPC participants without inspection for the stamp.
Height and Weight
There are also restrictions on the height and weight of shipping crates and pallet containers. Forty-eight inches by forty inches by six inches is the standard size for U.S. pallets. The pallet height should not exceed five feet or sixty inches.
The most important consideration is the ability for forklifts to handle the skids or pallets easily. For example, there should be a minimum clearance of 3.5″ on two sides of the base to make them accessible to pallet jacks.
International LCL (Less than Container Load) shipping rules also require that skids on pallets must fit into a forty-foot standard or multi-model ocean freight container.
If they are unable to be moved from one location to another, your shipment will be returned or just sit on the dock.
Your shipment will likely require a prior approval permit from your shipping company if any of the following apply:
1. The skid exceeds more than one-thousand kilos or twenty-two hundred pounds in weight.
2. The skid is more than eighty inches in width.
3. The skid is in excess of one hundred nineteen inches in length.
4. The skids are more than seventy inches tall.
There is plenty to think about when shipping crates internationally: weight, height, construction materials, and paperwork.
If your intention is continued growth in your specific industry, it is to your company’s advantage to export. Learning how to do this properly will see all of your shipments go smoothly on the global stage.