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Freight from the USA
 

Shipping Household Goods from the USA overseas

This web page is written to help inexperienced first-time international shippers understand the difference between international cargo transportation from the United States with U.S. Freight Forwarders, versus shipping from the U.S. household goods and personal belongings using a parcel service (1), OR with International Moving companies (2).

AMID Logistics is a licensed and bonded U.S. Freight Forwarder. Information in this article mainly relates to international cargo transportation from the USA by sea. Particularly to shipping from the U.S. an LCL freight (Less than Container Load). In other words, shipping from the U.S. cargo in boxes and crates.

You may continue reading about the difference or SKIP TO MOST COMMON ISSUES related to shipping LCL freight that inexperienced, first-time international shippers should be aware of.

LCL freight starts to be cost-effective when you're shipping from the USA abroad a relatively sizable or heavy cargo. Let's say for international deliveries of several large shipping boxes or items that exceed 0.5 cubic meters (18 cubic feet) in overall volume or/and 250 lbs. Then, LCL freight becomes the prudent and economical way for shipping from the U.S. boxed, crated, or palletized goods that cannot fill up an entire 40-foot sea freight container.

1. Do not confuse LCL service with parcel services:

In LCL, there is a minimum charge of one cubic meter. I.e., if you ship a cargo of a total volume of less than one cubic meter, you will be charged for one cubic meter anyway. Certain destinations may have minimums of two or three cubic meters.
 
Sometimes people calculating the shipping cost in our online price calculator are wondering, "Why do changes in dimensions of shipping units not result in price changes?" That is because their cargo's total volume does not exceed the minimum charge on one cubic meter. As soon as the volume exceeds the minimum, the price begins to change.
 
What is more important that international freight is always subject to destination charges. Do not confuse freight (or the statement "freight prepaid") and destination charges (sometimes called local charges). Destination charges are not included in LCL quotes and must be paid by consignees (cargo recipients) at destinations. Follow this link to find more about destination charges.
 
In other words, if you ship small parcels, then using USPS, FedEx, DHL, or another parcel service may be more convenient and cost-effective. LCL becomes cost-effective if you ship many boxes that overall volume is about or exceeds one cubic meter or relatively large or heavy items.

2. LCL freight Vs. shipping with an international moving company:

Firstly, you should choose between convenience and price.

If within your budget, you can afford a convenience over the price, then you may seek a reliable international moving company for your international relocation or shipping personal belongings from the USA overseas. An estimator should visit you with an international moving company and estimate labor cost, cost of packing materials, freight cost, etc. I.e., the international moving company should estimate how much it will cost you to ship your goods from the USA overseas without any extra efforts on your part.

Some international moving companies offer "door to door" service. That means that they guarantee to dispatch your international shipping from the beginning to the very end. I.e., they promise that besides submitting your cargo to the shipping from the U.S., they will assist you in your cargo recovery in your destination country. They guarantee that they will work on your behalf with the destination country Customs and seaport authorities, collect and pay on your behalf all charges related to your cargo release, deliver and unload your belongings at the place you need. In this case, we'd recommend you pay attention to the second part of your shipping service agreement with the international moving company, which relates to your cargo recovery procedures at the destination.

However, the costs of using international moving companies on shipping household goods from the USA abroad are high. That's great if it is a business-related international move, and your employer pays the price. Otherwise, you may need to consider an alternative. The alternative is to ship goods directly with an international ocean freight carrier. U.S. freight forwarders should assist you in this task. 

Running ahead, you can always hire a domestic moving company to properly pack and deliver your goods at an ocean freight carrier's terminal. Such terminals are professionally called CFS – Container Freight Stations. In this case, we'd suggest you ask the company if they are familiar with international cargo transportation regulations from the USA. Particularly with ISPM15 regulations. It may be prudent to pay extra, but be sure you won't get in trouble at the end of your international shipping due to your goods' improper packaging.

3. Shipping LCL:

Yes, typically, you can ship from the U.S. household goods and personal items directly with international ocean freight carriers instead of hiring an international moving company.

If you can pack all your goods in boxes or crate them, then you should consider our Economy LCL Sea Freight Service. The freight service is designed for shipping relatively large cargo packed in boxes or crates. It is definitely less expensive than shipping goods from the USA overseas with international moving companies, and:

However, when shipping from the USA freight LCL, unlike shipping goods overseas with international moving companies, there are specific rules and limitations that you have to keep in mind.

Eventually, all these rules and limitations are quite logical. Follow common sense, and everything will appear in order. However, inexperienced first-time shippers sometimes consider shipping of sizable cargo from the U.S. abroad as mailing a postal card overseas. Unfortunately, in the end, they pay for mistakes. Sometimes it can be a significant price. 

We serve customers who send household goods and personal belongings from the USA overseas for about 20 years. We do our best to ship such goods from the USA as easily, stressless, and predictable as possible. We are proud of our business. You can see AMID Logistics' customer reviews at this link.

Regrettably, sometimes we receive complaints. Almost all the complaints are from first-time, inexperienced exporters. THAT'S WHY, IF THIS IS YOUR FIRST-TIME INTERNATIONAL FREIGHT SHIPPING FROM THE USA OVERSEAS, WE ENCOURAGE YOU TO READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE BEFORE YOU BEGIN YOUR INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING.

 

LCL freight basically designed for experienced exporters. We offer this service to ordinary customers as well. However, to gain benefits from shipping LCL and avoid confusion, inexperienced shippers should at least pay attention to the explanations published on our website.

Below we would like to draw your attention to the issues that most often arise during serving inexperienced, first-time international shippers in exporting goods from the USA LCL. All these topics are already covered in FAQ and references on this website. However, in this article, we try to concentrate on customers' confusions and provide examples.

PLEASE NOTE: All these requirements, regulations, and restrictions are standard in international cargo transportation LCL. No matter which company you will use in your international shipping from the USA, you have to be aware of at least these basic procedures. If you do not understand something before you are involved in international shipping from the U.S., do not hesitate to contact us or double-check with third parties.

1. Pack all your goods in boxes or crates. Palletizing.

2. Need a pickup? Then please, be prepared for the pickup.

3. If you deliver to a line haul terminal, then you may deal with palletizing.

4. Submit the necessary shipping documents.

5. Sea freight cannot guarantee transit time.

6. DESTINATION CHARGES ARE ON ACCOUNT OF THE CONSIGNEE.

7. Door deliveries at destinations.

8. 75% deposit. The actual shipping cost most likely will differ from the estimated quoted shipping cost.

9. A discrepancy in the numbers of shipping units.

10. Do not confuse LCL service with parcel services.

11. How far in advance should I book a shipment?

12. Please, first calculate a price quote online.

 

Shipping from the USA

 

1. Pack all your goods in boxes or crates. Palletizing. 

To use LCL freight for shipping personal belongings from the U.S. overseas, all shipping items must be properly packed: boxed or crated and labeled for international delivery.

Sometimes customers ask: "Can we ship unpacked items? Particularly pieces of assembled furniture such a sofa, chair, dresser, etc."

The answer is: "No. You can't. With LCL freight all shipping items must be boxed or crated. Otherwise, it can be damaged during the international cargo transportation."

After shipping goods are boxed, the boxes have to be palletized. I.e., they will be stacked on pallets in skids, and shrink-wrapped.

You can self-palletize your shipping boxes. Otherwise, an ocean freight carrier's terminal should properly palletize and shrink wrap your boxes. Ocean freight carriers' terminals are called Container Freight Stations or CFS.

The palletizing should cost you $35-75 per pallet, depending on CFS. The fee includes the cost of the certified pallet that complies with ISPM15 regulations. If you ship numerous boxes, then CFS may charge you for the labor hourly. The charge will be added to the sea freight.

Please keep in mind that palletizing increases the chargeable volume of your cargo. However, this is the only way to ship from the USA abroad a number of boxes safely, by protecting cargo from damages and loss. Ocean freight carriers may not accept shipping from the U.S. more than 3-5 boxes unless it is palletized. To decrease the "dead" volume, we recommend, if possible, use boxes of the same size, and ship an even number of boxes, that they completely filled rows of boxes on pallets. Then they should fit pallets evenly. Find more about palletizing on this website. If possible, follow this rule when considering the sizes and number of shipping boxes.  

At a glance, these palletizing requirements may look complicated. Not at all. Use common sense. Your palletized boxes will be handled by forklifts and professionally loaded and secured into a 40-foot multimodal sea freight container. Palletized cargo is protected from damages, loss, and thief at each stage during international transportation from the USA overseas. If you palletize your cargo, then you can pack shipping items in moving boxes purchased at Walmart, Home Depot, etc. Using heavy-duty boxes in shipping from the USA overseas is preferable.

Shipping cargo on pallets is the standard in LCL freight. Experienced international shippers are aware of that. However, sometimes inexperienced international cargo transportation customers are frustrated about the increasing chargeable volume after palletizing. Using our online freight calculator they accurately entering the dimensions of boxes, box by box. Then they expect that the final shipping cost should be based on the calculated total volume. That's not correct. Palletizing always increases chargeable volume and adds a fee to the freight cost. However, it's worth it.

People ask, "How can I know the chargeable volume after the palletizing?" The answer is: Unless your boxes are stacked on a pallet and shrink-wrapped, no one can predict the dimensions of the skid. However, CFS's employees are professionals in palletizing. They should do their best to make your skids as accurately and safely as possible. Also, you may read how to roughly estimate the chargeable volume on our website.

People ask, "Can we ship from the U.S. abroad goods in luggage cases, plastic bins, etc.?" The answer is: If you ship it loose, then no, you can't. However, if you palletize, then yes, you can. Just ensure that it is strong enough to keep the shape. We recommend labeling each unit in case your skid falls apart during international transportation. In our shipping instructions, we'll provide you with a web link to print your shipping labels.

People ask, "I want to send from the U.S. by sea some valuable for me items. Is it safe?" What should we answer? Almost everything you see in Walmart, Costco, etc., came by sea in 40-foot sea freight containers. Add extra protection to your unique items. Bubbles wrap it. Insulate it. Hire a professional packing company. The majority of sea freight shipments from the USA arrive at destinations without damage and loss. If you consider extra protection, then insure your cargo

Restricted and prohibited commodities:

To make it simpler to understand, when packing goods for delivery from the U.S. overseas, do not add items that are prohibited for shipping abroad in parcels, listed in your local USPS post office. Stay away from the shipping of:

If you are not confident that some of your goods are legal for international shipping from the USA abroad, do not put your entire shipment at risk. Leave it. Do not ship.

 

2. Need a pickup? Then please be prepared for the pickup. 

If cargo pickup is requested, we hire U.S. LTL domestic carriers, not moving companies. LTL cargo transportation primarily operates between commercial facilities with loading docks and forklifts. There will be only one driver in the pickup truck. So, on residential pickups, LTL drivers can refuse to handle too many boxes, oversized or heavy cargo, as it is labor and time-consuming. Therefore, at the pickup time, you have to be prepared to help the driver with your cargo load.

NO INSIDE PICKUP PERMITTED. Cargo must locate on a ground level with easy access to the pickup truck, such as porch, garage, etc.

If you're going to ship too many boxes then the pickup option may not be available. There is no particular limit in the number of boxes on residential pickups. However, in our practice, submitting more than 12-15 boxes becomes problematic.

If you are unsure about the pickup possibility, you may call the trucking company, which is assigned on your pickup in our shipping instructions, to discuss conditions in your pickup in advance. If they refuse to pick it up, you will need to request them to cancel the pickup. Then inform us to switch our shipping instructions to self-delivery to the nearest freight terminal.

You always can hire a local moving company to transport your cargo to the terminal on your behalf. If you hire a moving company, then it is recommended to follow them and control your cargo delivery into the terminal for further shipping from the USA overseas.

If you ship items heavier than 100 lbs, you may need a pickup truck with a liftgate. Liftgate trucks are subject to surcharges of $75-150, depending on a pickup zone. The surcharge is not included in quotes and will be added to our final invoice. Liftgate trucks are not always available. You will be able to discuss the needs by calling the LTL company’s dispatcher phone number provided in our shipping instructions.

Please keep in mind that the pickup time window is typically from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. You may call the trucking company's dispatcher on the day of pickup to find a more specific driver's arrival time. The dispatcher's phone number is in our shipping instructions. When calling, refer to the pickup reference number, which is in our shipping instructions. Do not confuse the pickup reference number with other numbers in the instructions. The pickup number contains only digits. There are no letters in it. It should look like 12345678.

If for any reason, you are not ready to meet the pickup driver on the scheduled pickup day, then that's OK. However, in this case, you must call the dispatcher of the trucking company in advance directly. Otherwise, an attempt pickup charge may apply. 

When calling, refer to your pickup reference number. Obtain a new pickup reference number. Notify us to track your pickup. No changes in your LTL bill of lading are required. Use the same LTL bill of lading that you received with our shipping instructions.

 

3. If you delivered boxes to a line haul terminal, then you may deal with palletizing. 

In our online freight calculator, the domestic U.S. LTL line haul terminals are listed in lowercase with an asterisk (*). For example, Orlando, FL*.

On the one hand, unlike ocean freight carriers' terminals (CFSs), LTL line haul terminals are not obligated to palletize cargo. On the other hand, most of the time, they temporarily palletize loose boxes to handle cargo by forklifts. However, they do not follow ISPM15 rules since the rules do not apply to U.S. domestic cargo transportation.

According to our experience, typically, line haul freight terminals accept loose boxes and temporarily palletize them without questions asked. However, occasionally, they may give you a pallet and ask you to stack your boxes on the pallet, charge a fee, or even tell you to bring your own pallet. Please be prepared for the worst.

Sometimes it is a good idea to bring ISPM15 stamped or plastic pallets with your boxes, if possible. Then, upon delivery of your skids to CFS, you don't have to pay for re-palletizing onto ISPM15 stamped pallets for shipping from the USA overseas. 

Also, before delivering your loose boxes, you may contact the line haul terminal in advance and conduct the business to avoid possible confusion at the time of delivery. When calling, always provide the LTL bill of lading number attached to our shipping instructions in a PDF file. Otherwise, the terminal will not recognize your shipment and not be able to assist you. The format of the LTL bill of lading number should be like 123-123456-X.

Do not confuse palletizing shipping boxes at LTL U.S. domestic line haul freight terminals with palletizing at ocean freight carriers' terminals (CFS). In our online freight calculators, CFSs are listed in uppercase and highlighted. PHILADELPHIA, PA, for example.

CFSs should always offer to palletize or re-palletize and shrink-wrap an internationally shipping cargo for a $35-75 per pallet fee, including the cost of a certified pallet to obey ISPM15 rules. Find more about palletizing. CFSs typically do not accept cash on palletizing. The fee will be added to the carrier's freight.

 

4. Submit necessary shipping documents 

All ocean freight carriers follow the same rule: "No docs, no ship." That means that your cargo cannot be released to international transportation from the USA unless all necessary export documents are in order and submitted to the ocean freight carrier. If the cargo is already at the container freight station (CFS), but some documents are missing, it will remain on hold at CFS until all the necessary documentation is present. Otherwise, the shipper must take the cargo back.

Free storage time is limited. Depends on CFS, free storage time varies from a week to a few weeks. After that, storage charges will begin accumulating. If a shipper decides to take the cargo back, then to get the terminal's release, he/she must pay an "in-out fee" on top of storage charges.

Do not delay your export documents. Prepare and submit all documents in advance, or the latest, on the day after your cargo is delivered and stored at the CFS. 

Do not enclose or attach any shipping documents to your cargo. Do not write a list of the shipping items on boxes. It may attract thieves. All documents must be submitted on our website or via email. Then we'll provide it to your carrier electronically.

Is it look too complicated? Not at all. 

Most of the time, all you will need to submit to your international shipment is a commercial invoice or purchase receipt. The document should list items that you are shipping from the USA abroad and the value of the items in US$.

People ask, "I'm shipping household goods from the USA overseas. How can I get a commercial invoice?" 

The answer is, "It is easy." If you ship from the U.S. household goods or personal belongings, you describe your shipping items and assign the value yourself. That's it. This document substitutes commercial invoices and is called a Valued Packing List.

With AMID Logistics, upon your booking and deposit, you will receive an email with shipping instructions. The instructions will contain a web link to submit your Valued Packing List online. Find more about Valued Packing List at this link. See how your Valued Packing List will look like in this link

At the time of submitting your Valued Packing List keep in mind that you have to list all your shipping boxes, no matter either you are going to palletize them or not. However, to save time, you can combine several boxes of about the same commodity, the value, and the weight in one line in your valued packing list.

International cargo transportation regulations require providing harmonize codes (HS Codes) on shipping documents. At least the first eight digests. In respect of international shipping from the USA of mixed household goods or personal effects, if there is no major commodity described, we may suggest HS Code 4016.99.05 “Household articles not elsewhere specified or included.” Otherwise, shippers may search the U.S. Harmonized Tariff Schedule on the http://hts.usitc.gov/ 

When you create a valued packing list for shipping from the U.S. household or personal belongings, please keep in mind that you do not have to list every single spoon and fork. Provide a general description like used tableware, clothes, disassembled furniture, etc. 

However, avoid too uncertain descriptions like "17 boxes with mixed household goods. The total value is $2,499". It may be OK to get your goods released for shipping from the USA. However, the destination county's customs may ask your consignee (recipient of your goods at the destination) for a more detailed list. 

In our shipping instructions, you'll receive a web link to print your shipping labels. Even though all your boxes will be palletized, we'd recommend you labeling each box. Write in your shipping labels like Box 1 of 20, 2 of 20, 2 of 20, etc. Then, in the event, if your skid will fall apart during international transportation from the U.S., each shipping item can be identified.

Depending on the destination country, the ocean freight carrier may ask shippers for additional documents like copies of photo IDs, tax info, etc. However, there should be nothing difficult to submit the necessary documents. Freight Forwarder should inform and guide you in the documentation necessary to obtain your goods' release to depart from the USA.

IMPORTANT: If, in your valued packing list, you assign the total value of goods US$2500 or higher, then according to the U.S. CBP regulations, you must submit the U.S. Shippers Export Declaration (SED in ACE). You can submit Shippers Export Declaration by yourself, or we will file it on your behalf for $35. To do so, we will need either shipper's EIN (U.S. tax ID) or a copy of the shipper's foreign passport. U.S. passports or SSN are NOT accepted. If you are a U.S. citizen you must obtain EIN. Read more about Shippers Export Declaration at this link.

IT IS ALSO VERY IMPORTANT TO UNDERSTAND that as soon as your goods are entered into the commerce zone of your destination country, all issues related to the import recovery, including providing all required by the destination's customs import documentation, is consignee's responsibilities (in respect of dealing with customs, consignees called "importers of records"). Neither freight forwarder nor ocean freight carrier will be able to assist you in it. 

However, with LCL freight, you are not alone. With LCL, your bill of lading always contains the ocean freight carrier's destination agent's contact information. The agent should issue an official arrival notice to your consignee and guide the consignee in the complexity of import recovery. Read more about arrival notice at this link.

Please understand that you are the one who is sending the cargo from the U.S. abroad. Freight forwarders and carriers are only assisting your needs. Therefore, it is you who is responsible for providing proper documentation in shipping your goods from the U.S. overseas, but no one else.

 

5. Sea freight cannot guarantee transit time. 

Typically sea freight shipments depart and arrive as scheduled. As soon as cargo is in carriers' possession, carriers always do their best to ship it ASAP to free storage space. 

However, delays may occur. Reasons for delays are not just severe weather conditions. Your multimodal LCL shipment's transit time depends on cargo and documents cutoff at CFS, trucking or rail traffic, hubs and seaports conjunctions, and many other factors during your cargo transportation from the United States to the place of delivery in your destination country.

Please understand that as soon as a shipment is processed by the carrier, there is nothing a freight forwarder can do with that. As soon as we receive updates from carriers, we forward the updates to customers. If there are significant delays, we do our best to find a reason with the carrier and providing explanations to our customers. Please be patient.

Shipping from the USA with trans-shipping: If a port of discharge in your bill of lading differs from the place of delivery, then the ETA in your shipping from the USA may not be the ETA to the place of delivery but to the port of discharge, where your cargo should be trans-shipped to the place of delivery (the final destination).

There are different modes of trans-shipping. Cargo can be either re-loaded on another vessel, or there can be ground transportation by rail or truck, or both. So, it will take additional time for your cargo to reach the place of delivery, as stated in your bill of lading.

If it is ground transportation from a port of discharge to a landlocked city, it can take 10-15+ additional days. If it is a hub-seaport, from Europe to Africa or from Asia to Oceania, for example, then it may take 25+ days to reach the final destination.

U.S. CBP inspections: In addition to the routine delays associated with different factors during cargo transportation from the USA overseas, we would like to note separately a possibility of delays associated with cargo quarantines by the United States Customs Border Patrol. Such delays are extremely rare. However, if the CBP flagged a container for the examination, then the delay may take an uncertain time. Until the hold is released, the cargo will not be able to sail on a vessel.

Furthermore, there will likely be additional charges due to the exam, equally divided into all cargo owners loaded in the container. No one can help with that. All complaints should be directed to the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.

Please keep in mind that sea freight cannot guarantee transit time. If you ship sea freight, then sometimes you may experience delays. In some cases, there may be significant delays.

 

6. ALL DESTINATION CHARGES ARE ON ACCOUNT OF THE CONSIGNEE. 

Once you have decided to ship your goods from the U.S. abroad, it should be clear that once your goods leave the U.S. commercial zone, U.S. laws will not apply to your freight.

You should clearly understand that the recovery of importing goods at the destination and all costs associated with the import recovery are the responsibilities of your consignee and on account of the consignee. Neither U.S. freight forwarder nor ocean freight carrier will be able to manage your import recovery overseas. The ocean freight carrier's destination agent should guide you in your import recovery. However, the agent is not a U.S. business. If you face a problem with your cargo recovery at the destination, no one but your consignee (in respect of import recovery professionally called Importer of Records) can be aware of and work on issues that lead to the problem. 

Yes, International Maritime Laws should apply to your freight. However, depending on the country you ship to, the laws may be interpreted differently. Do not say about other subjective factors peculiar to your destination country. 

Typically, with LCL freight, you do not need to hire a destination country's customs broker. Carrier's destination agent is the customs broker as well. However, in case of problems with your import recovery at the destination, we suggest that your first step is to seek an independent customs broker licensed in the country.

DESTINATION CHARGES: Any import is subject to destination charges. No matter, either you ship commercial cargo or you're sending from the USA household goods or personal belongings. Destination charges (sometimes called local charges) occur at the destinations. Therefore they are not considered freight charges. We inform shippers about destination charges during the process of initiating every single shipment. At the time of booking, shippers must agree with this statement: 'I understand that Destination charges are payable by consignee...'. Otherwise, shipments cannot be initiated. Find more about destination (local) charges in this link.   

Skilled exporters are aware of and always consider destination charges in their business. However, sometimes, inexperienced international shippers do not pay attention to the fact. Then, upon arriving of their goods into the destination, they are frustrated of, or even complain about the arising charges. Actually, the destination charges are the main reason for inexperienced exporters' frustration. If you are involved in international freight, regardless of the mode of transportation, always keep in mind the destination charges.

If you want to estimate destination charges you may try to contact the carrier's destination agent in advance. Typically carrier’s destination agent contact information is in our shipping instructions. The shipper may contact the agent before proceeding with a shipment. If shippers would like to estimate the charges before booking a shipment, then having a quote obtained in our online freight calculator, they may ask us about the contact information of the prospective carrier’s destination agent. After that, they may contact the agent to find about cargo recovery procedures in the destination and estimate the charges.

If contacting, you should inform the agent about the U.S. consolidator (indirect carrier, NVOCC) that considers in your international shipping from the U.S. It is not AMID Logistics. AMID Logistics is a U.S. Freight Forwarder. We will determine the consolidator upon your quote obtained in our online freight calculator and advise.

Please keep in mind that while processing your international shipping, the carrier may change their agent. The agent's contact information must be reconfirmed in your bill of lading. However, typically the procedures on your import recovery and the destination charges should remain about the same.

Please understand that we cannot see your shipment routing without a quote or booking reference number. Then before requesting an ocean freight carrier's perspective agent contact information, you should obtain a quote or booking reference number on our website.

Also remember that depending on your destination country customs regulations, a part of or all destination charges may be required to be paid at a port of entry, but not at the place of delivery, as stated in your bill of lading. In this case, cargo will continue traveling to the place of delivery cleared with customs. Otherwise, it may be transferred to the final destination in bond and required to be cleared with customs at a bonded freight terminal (destination CFS) at the place of delivery.

Sometimes destination charges may be divided by separate invoices related to particular parties involved in import recovery.

What can we suggest if you will experience problems with the recovery of your goods at the destination?: 

  1. If, for any reason, you will not be contacted by the sea freight carrier's destination agent on/in a few days before ETA (estimated day of arrival), do not wait and contact them first. The contact information is on your bill of lading.
  2. Always request a legal Arrival Notice. Your arrival notice must be dated and contain the agent's letterhead and destination charges breakdown. Phone calls or random emails are not enough.
  3. Work properly with the sea freight carrier's destination agent. Respect the agent's job. Their business is to get a release for your goods as quickly as possible. Follow the agent's instructions. Pay destination charges (sometimes called Local Charges) and possess your released goods.
  4. If you face a problem with your shipping from the USA, do not hesitate to contact us. However, if you do not provide a copy of your legal arrival notice, we will most likely be unable to work with the carrier on your behalf. I.e., we will always need a copy of your arrival notice.
  5. Finally, if you still experience problems with the recovery of your importing goods at the destination, or would like to dispute the destination charges, you should seek assistance from a customs broker licensed in the destination country. 

Remember: Import recoveries are time-sensitive! As quickly you begin working on it, as less probably that you will face deadline penalties: storage, demurrage, Customs penalties, etc.

If you are not aware of specific import regulations in your destination country, then you may contact the consulate of the country in the U.S. or a customs broker licensed in the country in advance. You may find some certain import regulations and limitations in your particular country listed in this link.

 

7. Door deliveries at destinations. 

Often people ask us for "door-to-door" service. With LCL freight, there is no "door delivery" service included in the shipping cost quoted. 

At the origin, in the United States, you can self-deliver your boxed or crated cargo to a freight terminal. Otherwise, we can arrange a pickup of your boxed or crated cargo "from your door."

However, your goods will be shipped to a bonded warehouse located within the greater area of the designated city in your destination country assigned in your booking request and your bill of lading after that. Not "to the door." 

A bonded warehouse (CFS) means a freight terminal under the destination country's customs supervision. If cargo did not get the CFS's release, it is still out of your destination country's commerce zone.

Ocean freight carrier's destination agent assigned in your bill of lading should contact you on/in a few days before your shipment arrives with an arrival notice, guide you in your import recovery, and get the release for you.

Please keep in mind that an Arrival Notice is NOT a freight release document. Arrival Notice is a document that allows the consignee to file an entry of importing goods into the commerce zone of the destination country and initiate the import recovery under the law of the country.

Also, please keep in mind that, due to Customs regulations, the carrier's destination agents typically contact you upon arriving your cargo at a port of entry, but to the place of delivery as in your bill of lading. Then you have to begin working with the agent to get your cargo to the place of delivery without delay.

Typically the agent is a customs broker as well. All you will need is to follow the agent's instructions, pay destination charges, and obtain the release. Cleared with customs and released by the destination CFS, your cargo will be ready to be picked up at the CFS by the consignee. 

Most ocean freight carrier's destination agents and CFSs offer delivery services for an additional cost. Then, you will be able to order a "door delivery" and pay for the service at the destination directly to them. Otherwise, your consignee may hire a local cargo transportation company and arrange a pickup of released goods "to the door."

 

8. 75% deposits. The actual shipping cost most likely will differ from the estimated quoted shipping cost.

Sometimes people ask us about COD (Cash on Delivery) or Freight Collect service. They probably confuse international cargo transportation with a sale of goods by mail order where payment is made on delivery rather than in advance. If the order is not paid, it returns to the retailer. 

If you are a first-time shipper with us, then we are welcome you to use our service. However, you have to pre-pay at least 75% of the estimated shipping cost calculated based on weight/measurements (w/m) information provided by you in your quote and booking request.

Please keep in mind that at the time of quoting and booking, most of the time, it is difficult to provide the exact sizes, weight, and a number of your shipping units. Do not be frustrated. That's OK. Just roughly estimate. The actual volume, weight, and the number of your shipping from USA items will most likely differ from the number and measurements you have provided at the time of booking. Upon your cargo delivery to the ocean freight carrier's terminal (CFS), the CFS will calculate and reconfirm your shipped units' actual number, overall volume, and weight. 

Also, keep in mind that you will receive our final invoice, less the deposit already paid, NOT upon arrival of your cargo to the destination, but at a time when your cargo is departed from the USA. I.e., we will invoice you at a time when your sea freight bill of lading, which is the title for your shipping goods, will be generated. Occasionally, if transit time is short, we may invoice you upon a rated proof of your bill of lading received from the ocean freight carrier. You may find more about the sea freight bill of lading.

Once again, please: Your invoice will be based on the actual weight/measurements of cargo you have shipped but not on the estimated shipping cost calculated at the time of quoting and booking. The invoice may also reflect unaccounted costs from the carrier not included in the initial booking (if any). It can be charges related to palletizing, fumigation, GRI that occurred during the shipment, etc. In other words, you pay for what you actually have shipped, but not that you had estimated to be shipped. If you have overestimated your w/m, then you pay less. If you have underestimated your w/m, you pay more. That's why we request a 75% deposit, but 100%. Please note that such a billing practice is common in the industry.

You can find more about the unaccounted costs that may arise during shipping from the US by following this link.

 

9. A discrepancy in the numbers of shipping units.
 
The above is already explained discrepancies in weight/measurements.
 
However, after a shipment is booked on a certain number of shipping items and our shipping instructions are already emailed, customers frequently ask, "There are changes in the number of items I’m going to submit to the international shipping. Should I request changes in your shipping instructions?"
 
For example, you booked to ship 16 boxes and received our instruction on shipping 16 boxes. However, after you finished packing, you ended up with 12 boxes. Should you request us to change the number of shipping items in your dock receipt or the LTL bill of lading (if applicable)?
 
The answer is, "NO,  YOU DON’T." Keep and use the document initially received in our shipping instructions.

When submitting your cargo to the freight terminal or the pickup driver, have at least two copies of the document. Then ask that the person who accepts your shipment:

Keep the signed copy of the document on your records. It is the proof of delivery (POD) of your shipping units' actual number to the international shipping from the U.S. overseas. Upon delivery of your shipping items to CFS, we will email you an update that proves verified by the CFS weight/measurements of your cargo.

It should also be a good idea to picture the document and email the picture to us for further tracking.

 

10. Do not confuse LCL freight with parcel services. The minimum charge of one cubic meter. Destination charges.
 
LCL service designed for shipping from the U.S. overseas relatively sizable cargo. In LCL, there is a minimum charge of one cubic meter. I.e., if you ship a cargo of a total volume of less than one cubic meter, you will be charged for one cubic meter anyway. Certain destinations may have minimums of two or three cubic meters.
 
Sometimes people calculating the shipping cost in our online price calculator are wondering, "Why do changes in dimensions of shipping units not result in price changes?" That is because their cargo's total volume does not exceed the minimum charge on one cubic meter. As soon as the volume exceeds the minimum, the price begins to change.
 
What is more important is that international freight is always subject to destination charges. Do not confuse freight (or the statement "freight prepaid") and destination charges (sometimes called local charges). Destination charges are not included in LCL quotes and must be paid by consignees (cargo recipients) at destinations. U.S. freight forwarders do not connect to destination charges.
 
In other words, if you ship small parcels, then using USPS, FedEx, DHL, or another parcel service may be more convenient and cost-effective. LCL becomes cost-effective if you ship many boxes that overall volume is about or exceeds one cubic meter or relatively large or heavy items.
 
 
11. How far in advance should I book a shipment?
 
We recommend booking and pay deposits in 5 to 15 days before your intended shipping day. We’ll then book your international ocean freight on the nearest available vessel with the latest cargo delivery day (cutoff) based on the shipping day in your booking.
 
However, you can book and pay a deposit up to a month in advance. We will then confirm your payment, but to ensure the vessel schedule, we can delay your booking and/or pickup (if the pickup was requested) about ten days before the requested shipping date.
 
If you delay and miss the cutoff, we will automatically roll your shipment over to the next available vessel without additional notice. Typically departing in a week later. The first rollover is free of charge. $35 per rollover thereafter. Refer to our Return Policy.
 
 
12. Please, first calculate a price quote online.
 
We continuously receive inquiries about shipping goods from the USA without particular information related to the shipping. Slightly exaggerating, it sounds like this, "I'm moving overseas. I want to ship from the U.S. overseas my personal belongings. How much does it cost?"
 
With all due respect, we are unable to answer such questions. We value your business. We want to assist you in your international delivery with all our best efforts. However, to get you particular answers, we need at least a necessary minimum of information about your shipping, including a rough estimation of the number of shipping items, dimensions, and weight.
 
That's why, before beginning to discuss international shipping, we always ask our customers to calculate a price quote on our website.
 
To avoid confusion and misunderstanding, we do not offer any price information over the phone. We do not calculate quotes on customers' behalf. To ensure that customers understand the business, quotes must be calculated by the customers themselves.
 
Having a quote in our online freight calculator means that you could answer a minimum of basic questions to get you the estimation on your international shipping. The minimum that any professional transportation company should ask you before providing a price quote.
 
If an international transportation company does not ask you such questions, then be alert. That means that their quote is not fair. They just involve you in the deal. After they get your cargo at their disposal, they most likely change the price. Otherwise, seek service from an international moving company, where an appraiser will visit you and provide you with a shipping cost without your calculations.
 
Therefore, if you seriously intend to ship goods overseas without an international moving company's help, please be specific in your inquiries. The best way is to get a price quote on our website before you begin a discussion about details in your shipping from the U.S. overseas.
 
Please note that you will easily request quotes from other international transportation companies once you formulated the minimum of information necessary to get a quote in our online freight calculator.
 
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