International shipping is crucial to businesses that need to send or receive goods overseas. The global economy relies on the seamless movement of goods across borders, and international shipping makes it possible.
However, shipping internationally comes with unique challenges, such as delivery time delays, changing shipping costs, and customs regulations. Learn how to navigate these challenges and make your international shipments a success with this comprehensive guide to international shipping.
Types of International Shipping
There are three primary types of international shipping: air freight, ocean freight, and road freight. Each has its benefits and drawbacks, depending on the type of freight being shipped.
- Air Freight: Air freight is the best option for urgent shipments that need to be delivered quickly or for small goods. This shipping method has shorter delivery times compared to other service options.
While air freight times depend on the product type, size, and destination, a typical delivery time can range from a few hours to seven days. Air freight by international shipping companies is more expensive than other delivery options because of the speed and priority of the delivery.
- Ocean Freight: Ocean freight is ideal for large international shipments that are not time-sensitive. It is the most cost-effective shipping option for goods that do not require fast delivery. Ocean freight has longer delivery times, with a typical delivery time of 15-65 business days.
- Road Freight: Road freight is used for shipments that need to be transported overland, such as between neighboring countries. Road freight can take a few hours to several days, but traffic delays and other factors can affect transit times.
International Shipping Documentation
International shipping requires specific documentation to ensure that shipments comply with regulations and arrive at their final destination. Some of the essential documents required for international shipping include:
- Bill of Lading: This document serves as a receipt for the cargo and includes details such as the type of goods, the quantity of goods, and the destination.
- Commercial Invoice: This describes the goods, the value of the goods, and the terms of sale.
- Certificate of Origin: Required for customs clearance, this document verifies the origin of the goods being shipped.
- Packing List: This provides a detailed list of all items included in the shipment.
- Customs Declaration: This document includes all the additional information on the goods being shipped, the value of the goods, and the country of origin.
International Shipping Regulations
International shipping is subject to various regulations that must be followed to ensure compliance. These regulations include:
- International Trade Regulations: International trade regulations oversee the movement of goods between countries. They ensure that goods comply with international trade agreements and that the movement of goods is legal and regulated.
- Customs Regulations: Customs regulations govern the import and export of goods and require compliance with customs procedures, duties, and taxes. Compliance with customs regulations is necessary to ensure that goods are cleared through customs and allowed to enter or leave a country.
- Import and Export Regulations: Import and export regulations govern the movement of goods across borders. These regulations include requirements for licenses, permits, and other documentation necessary to import or export goods.
International Shipping Costs
Shipping costs are a critical factor to consider when choosing an international carrier. Costs such as freight, insurance, and customs duties can impact your bottom line and can affect the success of your business. Some key costs to consider include:
- Freight Charges: Freight charges are applied when transporting goods from one location to another. They are calculated based on the size and weight of the shipment and the chosen shipping service. For example, road freight costs may be determined by cost-per-mile in addition to volumetric weight.
- Insurance Charges: Approximately $223 million worth of goods were stolen in 2022, and around 11% of goods arrived at warehouses and distribution facilities with signs of damage. Loss, theft, and damage in transit can cost businesses significantly and damage their reputation. Insurance protects shipments against loss or damage during transit. The insurance cost depends on the value of the goods being shipped and the level of coverage required.
- Customs Duties and Taxes: Customs duties and taxes are imposed by the destination country and cover the cost of importing goods. The local tax laws of the destination country determine the amount charged.
International Shipping Tips
If you ship goods internationally, there are several important tips to remember to ensure your items are protected and all documentation is submitted so your goods arrive safely and on time.
- Packing Tips: Use sturdy packaging materials such as foam, poly bags, and bubble wrap to pack items securely to prevent damage during transit. If you ship perishable goods, such as food or medicine, use temperature-controlled packaging to prevent spoilage.
- Labeling and Marking Requirements: Ensure that your shipment is appropriately labeled and marked with the correct shipping information, including the recipient’s name and address, the shipment’s weight and dimensions, and any special handling requirements.
- Shipping Dangerous Goods: When shipping hazardous goods, such as chemicals or explosives, comply with all safety regulations to ensure the safety of people and the environment. Also, inform the carrier about the nature of the materials being shipped to ensure they are handled correctly.
- Tracking and Monitoring Shipments: Use a reliable shipping service that provides tracking and monitoring capabilities to ensure that your shipment arrives at its final destination on time and in good condition.
Ship Internationally With Asiana USA
Asiana USA is a dependable and cost-effective option for all your international shipping requirements. Our comprehensive international freight forwarding services include air, ocean, and drayage shipping, warehousing, order fulfillment, and customs clearance to ensure timely and secure delivery to your final destination.
We leverage our vast network of carriers to provide competitive international shipping rates and service options to simplify the international shipping process. Contact Asiana USA at (855) 500-1808 to learn more about our international shipping services.