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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. of 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 total volume 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 the total volume of their cargo 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 FedEx, DHL or another parcel service may be more convenient and cost-effective. LCL becomes cost-effective if you ship 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 for a reliable international moving company for your international relocation or shipping personal belongings from the USA overseas. With an international moving company, an estimator should visit you and estimate the cost of labor, 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 at 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 to pay attention to the second part of your shipping service agreement with the international moving company, which relates to procedures on your cargo recovery 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 moving, 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 professionally called CFS – Container Freight Stations. In this case, we'd suggest you ask the company if they are familiar with regulations in international cargo transportation 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 the improper packaging of your goods.

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 it, 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:

  • When you share a sea freight container for shipping from the USA goods packed in boxes, crates, or on pallets with other exporters, you pay only for the space used in the container. Then it is obviously more cost-effective compared to international shipping from the U.S. an entire 20 or 40-foot container using FCL freight (Full Container Load).

  • For cargo delivered directly to ocean freight carriers terminals (CFSs) for the shipping from the U.S. using LCL freight, freight rates typically calculated by the volume of cargo (per cubic meter or cubic foot). Not by the weight. Most of the time, weight in LCL freight is not a pricing factor but the overall volume of shipping cargo only. You may find more about dimensional weight in ocean freight and U.S. domestic LTL trucking on this website.

  • If you are shipping from the U.S. LCL, then you may save on inland trucking. If you self-deliver your shipping boxes, which can easily fit into your own or rented truck, to an ocean freight carrier's terminal (CFS), then you will eliminate pre-carriage expenses that are pretty high in your total international shipping cost. Pre-carriage expenses in international shipping from the USA may even exceed the cost of ocean freight.
     
    Note: In shipping cargo from the USA using LCL freight, the term Ocean Freight means the price paid for cargo transportation between international ocean freight carrier's terminals (called CFS - Container Freight Stations) in countries of origin and destinations.
  • You can deliver your boxes to a CFS loose. Then the CFS will palletize the loose boxes for a reasonable fee of $35-50 per pallet, including the cost of the certified pallet. By palletizing loose boxes, you make it safe for international shipping from the USA. It is much easier to handle light shipping boxes than heavy pallets. You can palletize loose shipping boxes and request to ship irregularly sized items separately. Then you should eliminate some adding-volume charges related to the palletizing.
     
    Note: International moving companies should box, crate, and palletize your shipping goods as well. However, international moving companies will charge you for the labor, materials, etc. on top of other charges related to international cargo transportation.

  • Shipping goods from the U.S. that are packed in cardboard shipping boxes complies with ISPM 15 regulations. You can purchase regular cardboard shipping boxes at U-Haul, Walmart, Office Depot, etc. For extra protection, you may use heavy-duty cardboard shipping boxes that are widely available online. Then you will palletize your shipping boxes on certified or plastic pellets.

    If you self-deliver loose cardboard shipping boxes to an ocean freight carrier's terminal (CFS), then most of the time, the CFS will properly palletize and shrink wrap your boxes for the shipping from the USA. The fee is typical $35-50 per pallet, including the cost of the certified pallet. Use the opportunity. Do not palletize shipping boxes by yourself. Deliver light shipping boxes to CFS and leave the palletizing to professionals. Besides, that loose shipping boxes are much easy to handle, you will transfer responsibilities on ISPM 15 compliance to the sea freight terminal (CFS). Then your shipping boxes should not face any problems related to ISPM 15 during the shipping from the USA.

  • By using LCL ocean freight service in international cargo transportation, you can ship boxes, crates, or pallets of any sizes and forms as long as it fits into a 40' ocean freight container. But please keep in mind that cargo that exceeds 7 (seven) liner feet must be pre-approved, and subject to surcharges.

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, sometimes, inexperienced first-time shippers, 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 make procedures in shipping such goods from the USA as easy, stressless, and predictable as possible. We are proud of our business. You can see AMID Logistics' customer reviews in 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 READING THE REST OF THE ARTICLE BEFORE YOU BEGIN YOUR INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING.

 

LCL freight basically designed for experienced exporters. We offer this service for ordinary customers as well. However, to gain benefits from shipping LCL, and avoid confusions, 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 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 are going to 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.

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 CONSIGNEE.

7. Door deliveries at destinations.

8. 75% deposit. 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. 

In order 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 to the international delivery.

You may self-palletize your shipping boxes, or you can request the ocean freight carrier to properly palletize and shrink wrap your loose boxes at the carrier's freight terminal. Ocean freight carriers' terminals called Container Freight Stations or CFS.

The palletizing should cost you approximately $35-50 per pallet, depending on CFS. The fee includes the cost of the certified pallet. The charge will be added to the sea freight. Palletizing may increase 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 damage and loss. Reliable ocean freight carriers may even not accept to ship from the U.S. more than 3-5 boxes if not palletized. Find more about palletizing on this website.  

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 damage and loss on each stage during international transportation from the USA overseas. If you palletize your cargo, then you can pack shipping items in regular moving boxes. Using heavy-duty boxes in shipping from the USA overseas is preferable but not absolutely necessary.

People ask, "Can we ship from the U.S. abroad goods in luggage cases, plastic bins, etc.?" Yes, you can. Just ensure that it is strong enough to keep the shape. We recommend labeling each box 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 that 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 in destinations without damage and loss. If you consider extra protection, then insure your cargo

When packing goods for the delivery from the U.S. overseas, do not add items that are prohibited for shipping abroad at your local USPS post office. Stay away from the shipping of:

  • Perishable food products
  • Live animals, plants and seeds
  • Any medicines and drugs
  • Hazardous or dangerous goods shipping are restricted and subject to approval and special procedures
  • Aerosols
  • Liquids
  • Cash, Money orders, credit and  debit cards
  • Passports and other confidential documents
  • Valuable jewelry, art, and antique
  • If you're going to ship something that contains a battery (even a dry battery), the entire shipment may be considered a dangerous goods shipment. An example would be the international shipping of an electric lawnmower.
  • If you pack shipping goods into used boxes, then erase all the previous shipping labels. Pay extreme attention to dangerous goods labels.

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. 

With LCL sea freight service, when cargo pickup requested, we hire U.S. LTL domestic carriers, but not moving companies. There will be only one driver in the pickup truck. So, on residential pickups, LTL driver can refuse to handle a large number of boxes or bulky and heavy cargo, as it is labor, and time-consuming. Therefore, at a time of pickup, you have to be prepared to help the driver with your cargo loading.

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

Also, you may need to call the trucking company, which is assigned on your pickup in our shipping instructions, to discuss conditions in your pickup in advance.

If you're going to ship too many boxes (for example, you pack and ship from the U.S. an entire apartment or house), then the pickup option may not be available. You will need to self-deliver your boxes and crates to the nearest freight terminal. Otherwise, you can hire a local moving company to transport your boxes to the terminal on your behalf. If you hire a moving company, then it is recommended to follow them, and control your cargo delivery in the terminal for further shipping from the USA overseas.

Please keep in mind that the pickup time window is typically from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. You may call to the dispatcher of the trucking company on the day of pickup to find 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.

PLEASE NOTE: 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, refers 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 required. Use the same LTL bill of lading that you received with our shipping instructions.

 

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

In our online freight calculator, 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 it without questions asked. However, occasionally, they may request to palletize boxes or charge a small fee to palletize it. 

To avoid possible confusion, before delivering your loose boxes, you may contact the line haul terminal in advance and conduct the business. 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.

PLEASE NOTE: 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 fee of $35-50 per pallet, 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 the 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 the 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 delivered and stored at the CFS. 

IMPORTANT! 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.

Is it look too complicated? Not at all. 

Most of the time, all that you will need to submit to your international shipment is a commercial invoice. The commercial invoice 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, then you describe your shipping items and assign the value on your own. That's it. This document substitutes commercial invoices and 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 weblink to submit your Valued Packing List online. Find more about Valued Packing List in this link. See how your Valued Packing List will look like in this link

At a 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 it 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 the HS Code 4016.99.05 “Household articles not elsewhere specified or included.” Otherwise, shippers may find the U.S. Harmonized Tariff Schedule on the following websites: http://hts.usitc.gov/ or https://uscensus.prod.3ceonline.com/ or http://www.foreign-trade.com/reference/hscode.htm.

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, 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 weblink 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 the international transportation, each shipping item can be identified.

Depending on the destination country, the ocean freight carrier may ask shippers for some 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 the release for your goods 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). You can submit Shippers Export Declaration by yourself, or AMID Logistics will file it on your behalf for $35. In order to do so, we will need either shipper's EIN (U.S. tax ID) or a copy of the shipper's foreign passport. Read more about Shippers Export Declaration in this link.

IT IS ALSO VERY IMPORTANT TO UNDERSTAND that as soon as your goods are entered into 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 contact information of ocean freight carrier's destination agent. The agent should issue to your consignee an official arrival notice and guide the consignee in the complexity of import recovery. Read more about arrival notice in 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. 

If your shipment is time-sensitive, then upon receipt of a freight quote, you may ask for the nearest vessel schedule. 

Most of the time, sea freight shipments depart and arrive as scheduled. 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.

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 and Border Patrol. Such delays are extremely rare. However, if the CBP flagged a container for the examination, then the delay may take 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 owners of the cargo 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.

 

6. ALL DESTINATION CHARGES ARE ON ACCOUNT OF CONSIGNEE. 

The above is already explained about responsibilities on providing proper documentation in international shipping from the USA. However, as soon as exported from the USA, goods will reach the destination, providing adequate documentation is not the only issue. 

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

Also, you should clearly understand that the recovery of importing goods at the destination and all costs associated with the import recovery are 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. 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 that you ship to, the laws may be interpreted in different ways. 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, we suggest that in case of problems with your import recovery at the destination, 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 a 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 through all the process of initiating of every single shipment. At a 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 aware of and always consider destination charges in their business. Typically carrier’s destination agent contact information is in our shipping instructions. Shipper may contact the agent before proceeding with a shipment. If shippers would like to estimate the charges in advance, then upon receipt of a quote in our online freight calculator, they may ask us about the contact information of the prospective carrier’s destination agent. Having the information, they may contact the agent to find about cargo recovery procedures at the destination and estimate the charges. Note that during processing your international shipment, 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 keep in mind that without a quote or booking reference number, we unable to see your shipment routing. Then before requesting an ocean freight carrier's perspective agent contact information, you have to obtain a quote or booking reference number on our website.

Please note 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. Then cargo will continue to travel 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 at the place of delivery.

Also, note that sometimes destination charges may be divided by separate invoices related to particular parties involved in import recovery.

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

  1. If, for any reason, you will not be contacted by sea freight carrier's destination agent on/in a few days prior 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, most likely, we will unable to work with the carrier on your behalf. I.e., we will always need a copy of your arrival notice.

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 about 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." 

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

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 to 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. Then all that 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 service 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."

You may find more about destination (local) charges in this link.

 

8. 75% deposits. 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 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 a time of quoting and booking, most of the time, it is difficult to provide the exact sizes, weight, and the 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 most likely will differ from the number and measurements that 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 the actual number of your shipped units, the 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 in the destination, but at a time when your cargo 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. Sometimes 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 a 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 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%. Note that this 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 booked on a certain number of shipping items and our shipping instructions 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.

  • On self-delivery to a CFS, it is your Dock Receipt in a weblink with our shipping instructions.
  • On self-delivery to a line-haul terminal or pickup, it is your LTL U.S. domestic Bill of Lading attached to the instructions.

At the time of 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:

  • Write on your copy the actual number of items received;
  • Put any comments on it, if necessary;
  • Date and sign it.

Keep the signed copy of the document on your records. It is the proof of delivery (POD) of the actual number of your shipping units to the international shipping from the U.S. overseas.
 
Also, it should 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 total volume 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 the total volume of their cargo 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. U.S. freight forwarders do not connect to destination charges. If you would like to estimate the charges, then request a quote in our online freight calculator first. Then reply to the quote and ask us about the contact information of the prospective carrier's destination agent. Having the information, you may contact the agent directly to find more about your cargo recovery procedures and estimate destination charges. Note that the carrier's agent may be changed during processing shipments. The information must be reconfirmed in your bill of lading. However, most of the time, cargo recovery procedures and destination charges should be about the same.
 
In other words, if you ship small parcels, then using FedEx, DHL or another parcel service may be more convenient and cost-effective. LCL becomes cost-effective if you ship relatively large or heavy items.
 
 
11. How far in advance should I book a shipment?
 
We recommend to book and pay deposits in 3 to 10 days before your intended shipping day. Then we’ll 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. Then we will confirm your payment, but to ensure the vessel schedule, we can delay with your booking and/or pickup (if the pickup was requested) up to about ten days before the requested shipping date.
 
If you will delay and miss the cutoff, then 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. to my country some of my personal belongings. How much does it cost?"
 
With all due respect, we unable to answer such questions. Please understand, we value your business. We want to assist you in your international delivery with all our best efforts. However, to calculate a price quote for you, 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 by themself.
 
Having a quote in our online freight calculator means that you were able to answer the 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 for a 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 the help of an international moving company, 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 once you formulated the minimum of information necessary to get a quote in our online freight calculator, you will be able to request quotes from other international transportation companies easily.
 
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