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10 Useful Tips to Ship a Container Overseas

Published by Chris Townsend

10 Useful Tips to Ship a Container Overseas

When shipping a large number of items overseas, the most logical and cost-effective solution is to use a shipping container. However, given the possible risks as well as the packing and paperwork needed, the entire shipping process can be complicated and stressful each time you go through it. Therefore, if you're moving to a new city in another country, a moving company that ships containers internationally may be able to provide you with the services you need to make your move as simple and convenient as possible. They will assist you in better understanding the process and navigating this transition. Highlighted below are the tips to ship a container overseas.

1. Know what you can and can't ship

A shipping container can be used to transport practically anything. Personal effects, on the other hand, are the only items that are allowed to enter a foreign country duty-free and tax-free.

However, be cautious when it comes to quantity. Perhaps you purchased those two cases of your favorite household cleaning supplies several months ago. You think it's a terrific product, and you'd like to have a lot of it on hand to keep your new home clean. To Customs, though, it appears that you're bringing in goods for a cleaning company — a commercial import. Officials may let you get away with a few of these items, but the rest will be subject to duty.

Furthermore, Customs only deems an item to be personal property if you've possessed it for more than six months. Customs inspectors will not examine each item to determine its age. However, a significant item that appears to be brand new or that you put in its original box is likely to draw an agent's eye. If you're shipping a valuable item, be sure you have a receipt to verify when you purchased it.

2. Choose a reliable moving company that ships containers Overseas

Many container shipping companies claim to offer international shipping as part of their services. However, since practically every moving company has some restrictions on where they will deliver, this can entail a variety of things. Some of these moving companies will only deliver within the United States and Canada, while others will deliver to Puerto Rico and Alaska. These are classified as "International" or "Overseas" shipping in either scenario.

If you already know where you're headed, call the company and inquire about whether they ship to that country. You'll save a lot of time if you're proactive and make this one of the first things you do. Choose an international shipper with considerable experience in shipping containers overseas, such as Three Movers, to receive the best outcomes.

3. Select Your Preferred Container Size

When shipping items internationally, you must choose the appropriate container size. These containers exist in a variety of sizes, and on average, they occupy 20-50 ft of physical space. The large containers will, of course, be more expensive, but they will give you more room to pack your items in a risk-free manner.

4. Decide the Capacity of Your Load in the Container

Aside from container size, another issue to consider right away is the capacity of your load in comparison to the container you've chosen. People often choose a Full Container Load (FCL), which implies their belongings take up all of the container's space. This approach is significantly more uncomplicated for both you and the international moving company, as there is no doubt that all of the contents belong to one individual.

You can also choose Less Container Load (LCL), which implies your things will most likely be sent alongside those of other senders in the same container. Admittedly, this is a fantastic alternative for individuals on a tight budget or who will only be sending little packages. However, keep in mind that this poses potential challenges and complications in terms of logistics.

5. Get a Shipping Estimate

Even if you make certain decisions to reduce costs, packing items in a shipping container that travels internationally is still an expensive endeavor. Before you contact a moving firm, keep in mind that international moving costs might range from $2,000 to $3,000. The reason for this is that most shipping companies utilize the same set of criteria to calculate each customer's exact cost. To obtain a quick quote and calculate the cost of shipping your container overseas, go to the website of your preferred company. Here is the general factor that directly affects the cost of your shipping:

  • The dimensions of a shipping container
  • The goods' total weight
  • The volume, as well as whether you've chosen FCL or LCL.
  • The total distance that must be traveled for a shipment to be delivered.
  • The method of loading and delivering the container.
  • The shipping season – International shipping, like practically every other industry, has peak seasons, which are usually in the summer (from August to September). Another occasion when you can encounter peak season is right after Chinese New Year (between January and February).
  • The port of arrival – This could include additional fees for services and customs duties, which differ by country.
International Moving Company Barbados

6.Inspect the Containers for Damages

When the moving container comes, inspect it thoroughly for any visible signs of damage before signing the delivery receipt. While most moving firms have thorough knowledge about international shipping of moving containers, ships might encounter rough weather while in transit, and moving containers can be jostled if they aren't secured properly, so it's always a good idea to double-check.

7. Make Sure Your Shipping Paperwork Is Readily Available

Since transporting a container overseas involves a great deal of unique documentation, the company should work with you to complete this stage ahead of time. While planning an international move, you'll need to keep a few important documents on your person. Among them are:

  • Your Passports and Visas
  • Inoculation records
  • Important shipping information, such as the name and address of the international mover, number of units, your container number, and seal numbers
  • The sailing date for your moving container as well as the anticipated arrival date
  • Credit cards and cash

8.Ensure Your Items Are Packed Properly

Given the delicate nature of delivering goods by sea and air, as well as the value of your belongings, knowing how to pack your belongings properly is essential. In general, using packaging material such as shrink wrapping to protect your furniture and breakable goods is a good idea. If you want to store anything with a high moisture content, it is also highly suggested, and in some cases, required, to line the walls and ceiling of the container with moisture-absorbing paper (e.g. cocoa beans). All items should be double-checked to make sure they're tightly sealed, and all boxes and packing materials should be moisture-resistant if possible.

As you begin packing, there are a few regulations to follow about the weight of your container. To begin, do not exceed the allowable weight indicated on this container. Second, do not exceed the weight restriction that applies to secondary transportation on the road, which is regulated by several countries.

Also, keep in mind that appropriate weight distribution is important and that no more than 60% of the entire weight of your belongings should be stowed within half the length of your container. That means making sure the weight is distributed properly throughout the container floor, with smaller boxes not facing heavier boxes to avoid the risk of your cargo toppling over.

9.Understand Customs Regulations

It's critical to understand customs procedures for both the country of origin (where the container is sent) and the country where the shipment is dropped off before sending out a shipment. For instance, unique laws may apply to the importation of certain commodities, such as the requirement in the United Kingdom for e-cigarettes to go through further clearance. As a result, double-check that you have the correct set of customs forms to fill out, one for each nation. These forms, along with all other associated paperwork, should be kept together.

10. Follow the Guidelines on Labeling

This is where you'll want to be extra cautious about following the instructions to the letter, as the specifics are crucial. Try to follow the shipping company's labeling procedures as closely as possible. Containers should typically be completed and labeled with information such as the customer identification code, port marks, gross and net weights, and other information. As a general rule, never specify the exact contents of any container on the label, as this may attract theft. Hiring an experienced shipping business means they should be able to assist you in properly resolving these issues.

Wrap Up

If you've made it this far in our international shipping guide, you already know that shipping a container to another country is a complicated process involving dozens of details. However, a lot of individuals can do so without difficulty. The trick is to engage with a professional company that has handled door-to-door international container shipments for many years. To start planning the best strategy for shipping your container overseas, contact Three Movers today.

Chris Townsend is a moving professional and relocation expert that has more than 10 years of experience in the moving industry. With a background that includes working in virtually every aspect of the company, he has distinguished himself as an integral part of our operations with expertise in all things related to moving. Chris has a keen eye for detail and brings intelligence and passion to every project he’s involved with.

While getting his degree in communications from Santa Clara University, Chris started out with the company working in the field as part of our team of professional moving associates. Following graduation, he was promoted to our main office, where he has thrived in a role that involves increasing responsibility and requires him to wear many different hats. Some days, you may find him answering the phone and providing moving estimates, others he may be writing for our moving blog, and another day he may be coordinating a large corporate moving job or helping us with our marketing efforts. Chris has authored many of our in-depth moving guides, as well as provided our clients with information and advice to handle the complexities of their upcoming moving plans. Simply put, there’s nothing he can’t do and we wouldn’t be where we are today without him.

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