Airplane flying for international shipping

International Shipping Guide for Businesses: 2023 Edition

International shipping can be daunting, especially for first-timers or small businesses with limited experience. The anxiety of missing out on certain documentation causes shipping delays. The fear of miscalculating the declared costs, which might lead to fines. And the worry that the packages might get lost or broken. 

That’s why our Cargo Padala Express Forwarding Services Corp. (CaPEx) team created this comprehensive guide for navigating the world of international shipping.

Using our years of experience in logistics and cargo shipping, we created this guide for international shipping. This covers key points to remember when shipping items internationally. We created this to help first-time shippers and growing businesses prepare for their first international shipment.

International Shipping Regulations

The first thing you must consider when shipping internationally are the shipping rules and regulations from the country you’re located in and the country you’re sending the shipment to.

This knowledge is important because it saves you a lot of trouble that might lead to huge losses. 

Here are some common international shipping regulations you need to know:

Customs Duties and Taxes for International Shipments

Every country imposes regulations regarding customs duties and taxes on imported goods. These fees are based on the value, weight, and type of items. It’s essential to familiarize yourself with your shipments’ applicable duties and taxes to avoid unexpected costs or delays. 

Moreover, failure to properly pay customs duties might lead to customs withholding (or confiscating) your package/s. Moreover, you could be charged with smuggling if you undervalue, misclassify, or misdeclare your shipment.

If you’re a small business with limited access to lawyers who can help you navigate the various Customs duties and taxes, our CaPEx team would be able to help you manage your customs requirements for international shipping with our Customs Brokerage Services.

International Import and Export Licenses

You may need an import or export license depending on the type of goods you’re shipping and the destination country. Some products needing an import/export license are fruits, plants, technology, and medicine. Aside from import/export licenses, you might also need different clearances from various government offices to ship certain goods like plants. 

Not having the right licenses for the products you’re shipping would usually lead to confiscation of the package. If you’re a business owner, that might be a big hit for your business. That’s why it’s best to do your due diligence. 

International Cargo Item Restrictions and Prohibitions

Prohibited items for international shipping.

Each country has its own list of restricted and prohibited items that cannot be imported. In most cases, logistics and shipping companies like ours also have an extensive list of restricted items.

So, suppose you’re planning to ship parcels or products abroad. In that case, it’s crucial to check the regulations of (a) your logistics provider and (b) the destination country before shipping to ensure that your items are allowed. Some commonly restricted items include firearms, drugs, and certain types of plants and animals. 

If you are caught shipping prohibited items, mild to serious consequences can await you. Based on experience, here are the following outcomes that might happen when you ship restricted and prohibited items: 

  1. The package gets sent, but the logistics company discards the prohibited item.
  2. The shipping company confiscates and destroys your package.
  3. Your parcel will be returned back to the sender. 
  4. The package and the sender will be reported to authorities. 

When sending packages internationally, it’s best to comply with the restrictions and regulations of both the departing and destination countries to ensure your packages get delivered. 

Documents to Prepare Before Shipping Internationally

Proper documentation is crucial for a smooth international shipping process. Here are the key documents you’ll need when shipping internationally:

International Cargo’s Commercial Invoice

This document provides essential information about the goods you are shipping, such as the items’ value, quantity, and description. Customs authorities use the commercial invoice to assess duties and taxes and verify the shipment’s contents.

Packing List for Global Shipment

A detailed packing list outlines the contents of each package in the shipment, including the weight, dimensions, and any special handling instructions. This document helps customs authorities and logistics providers manage your shipment effectively.

International Shipment’s Bill of Lading or Air Waybill

The bill of lading (for sea/ocean shipments) or air waybill (for air shipments) serves as the contract between you and your logistics partner, outlining the terms and conditions of the shipment. It also acts as a receipt for the goods and proof of ownership.

International Package’s Certificate of Origin

This document certifies the country where the goods were manufactured, which is necessary for customs clearance in some countries. 

An airplane flying over a cargo ship

Best Practices for International Shipping

To ensure a successful international shipping experience, follow these best practices:

Package Your Items for Shipping Properly

Ensure your items are well-protected and secure by using high-quality packaging materials. This reduces the risk of damage during transit and smoothens customs inspection.

Accurately Declare the Value of Your Imports/Exports

Under-declaring the value of your items can lead to fines, delays, or even confiscation by customs authorities. As a business owner, these events are a big headache for you. So, always provide accurate and detailed information about your goods to avoid issues.

Plan Ahead for Your Overseas Shipments

International shipping can be time-consuming due to customs clearance, transit times, etc. Plan your shipping schedule to ensure they arrive on time and avoid any last-minute surprises. 

Stay Informed About Global Shipping Regulations

Laws and regulations can frequently change, so staying updated on the latest rules for your destination country are essential. 

Insure Your Global Cargo

While most logistics providers take every precaution to ensure the safe delivery of your goods, it’s always a good idea to insure your shipment against potential loss or damage. This gives you peace of mind and financial protection in case of an issue during transit.

Track Your International Shipment

Opt to work with a logistics provider like CaPEx that offers real-time tracking for your international shipments, allowing you to monitor the progress and status of your parcels and products. This helps you stay informed and address any potential issues or delays proactively.

Make International Shipping Easier with CaPEx’s Global Shipping Services

International shipping can be a tedious process, especially for businesses that are shipping products to multiple countries. There are tons of paperwork to be prepared, regulations to remember, and procedures to follow. 

Working with a reliable shipping and logistics company like CaPEx can streamline this process.

— At CaPEx, we provide guidance and support to help you calculate and manage customs duties and taxes.

— We can also help you stay on top of ever-changing rules and regulations on import/export and prohibited goods in different countries. 

— We also provide real-time tracking of your packages so you know their location and arrival schedule. 

At CaPEx, we aim to make international shipping from the Philippines to anywhere in the world as smooth and stress-free as possible. This guide provides comprehensive guidelines and best practices for international shipping. By following them, you will gain the necessary knowledge to navigate the complexities of international shipping with confidence. When you partner with us, rest assured that our skilled team will provide guidance and aid during the entire shipping process.

Partner with CaPEx for your international shipping needs, and let us help you expand your reach and grow your business globally.