International shipping is worlds away from local deliveries by car or van. As shipments cross the border into other countries, you will need to consider the customs clearance and border controls put in place to safeguard the destination country’s health, safety and security concerns.
Dimensions & Weight
To begin with, get to know your cargo’s packing & dimensions. All transport modes (sea, land and air) will all require this. Need help? Check out our helpful tools.
These codes define the treatment of the goods leaving or entering a country during customs clearance. Knowing the tariff (also known as HT or HS Codes) codes helps you understand the applicable permits, duties, taxes and supporting documents as well as any restrictions for import/export. More on tariff codes
Packing & temperature
If you are shipping food items or dangerous cargo, you need to be vigilant about your packaging and the temperature range in which your goods will remain in good condition. Dangerous cargo will also require a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) which contains important information about the cargo & how to manage the item in emergency situations. For general cargo, you need to ensure your packaging is seaworthy especially if you plan on shipping fragile goods.
Last but most importantly, are the incoterms upon which you agree with your customers. You need the utmost clarity on the terms, as it not only determines your cost, but also the responsibilities of each party along each link of the supply chain.