How does International Package Shipping Work?
International shipping always stands as a matter of worry for many, considering the fact that every country has different shipping rules to be followed. There are many factors that need to be considered before disposing of an article in a new destination. The primary among them includes analyzing the restrictions pertaining to items that are to be shipped, preparation of documents for customs clearance, selecting the provider based on the article to be shipped, finding the best quote available, tracking the consignment online and appropriate delivery of the package at the destination. The work of the company shipping the product includes picking the package from their warehouse, sorting it, adding the postage based on the country and finally handling the order till it reaches its destination. Moreover, customs duties and additional charges should also be kept in mind before sending a package.
Steps to send an International Parcel
1) Follow the rules- Before you decide on the item to be shipped, it is necessary to check whether the item purchased is allowed to be exported out of the country or can be imported to your own destination. Every country has their individual list pertaining to restrictions, special provisions and licensing of items that can be imported. Additionally, there is a list available that states the worldwide prohibited items.
2) Online registration- Once the article has been decided, enter all shipment details including address, description of items, and select the service provider.
3) Getting customs clearance- International shipping involves correct documentation and a clearance from the customs officials. This process is undertaken to safeguard inventory from unnecessary clearance issues. Customers need to ensure that all information required for customs clearance in terms of Export Control Classification Number, description, system code and value of the article is mentioned clearly. Moreover, commercial articles require anexport license for thedispatch of goods, so that also needs to be pipelined for convenience.
4) Evaluating the charges- After the custom related documentation has been done, it is vital to determine the party that will be receiving the consignment as the importer of record might be some other dealer. In commercial consignments, the party that will be clearing off the duties and taxes also needs to be realized beforehand. Finally, the total costs that need to be paid including taxes and duties have to be evaluated.
5) Processing the package- The international shipment providers offer a host of services that include acollection of the article, packaging the article in the most eco-friendly manner, deciding the time of pickup and delivery. Moreover, the customer has the option to choose budget-friendly services also, so that international shipping doesn’t prove to be costly.
6) Track your package- Once the service provider takes your package to the warehouse, you can easily track the whereabouts of your package online. There isa number of tools offered by service providers to monitor international shipments easily. Moreover, along with the status track of your article, providers also give an option to nickname consignments for quick reference and filter information you want to see.
What Happens When A Package Goes Through Customs?
Almost all countries in the world will export and import goods. These flow of goods need to be checked for various factors and this is done by an agency of authority in every country and is known as customs. For this the exporters and importers need to pay some tariff at the entry and exit points of the country like the seaports, airports and also borders. This tariff is generally termed as customs duty.
The regulations and laws regarding customs for every country may be different. So what and how does this customs clearance take place. What happens to the packages that go through the customs then?
Quite a journey ahead
Every package that passes the international border has to get customs clearance. There are officers appointed by the customs department for this work. Each of these packages or parcels goes through an exciting activity or adventure you can say. The journey ahead for this package is big.
Scanned and scrutinized
Once the package leaves your hands it goes to the local storehouse. When all packages for the day are collected they are sent to the airport according to the destination they are being sent. At the airport it has to go through customs. During this process each parcel needs to be scrutinized and scanned. This is done mostly passing it through an x ray machine.
In case the package contains any of the banned or restricted items they will not be allowed to go further. Each of the packages that are being passing through the customs needs to carry a form filled by the sender. So the customs officers will check if the forms contain the correct details of the goods mentioned too.
Correct information necessary
So everyone needs to fill the forms correctly and mention all the details clearly. In case there is a mismatch the package will not pass the customs clearance. When they do not pass the customs clearance the owner of the parcel is called for and asked to explain. If the customs official finds the explanation valid he or she may allow a second scan and then clear it through customs.
Sometimes the customs officials may open the package and check the items when they are not satisfied with the details furnished by the sender.
Secondary scan necessary
Some customs office follows a secondary screening process. This is the RASCO-remote air sampling using canine olfaction or the REST- remote explosive scent tracing. These screening tests are usually undertaken if there is a doubt that the package contains certain explosives which are a banned commodity for export and import.
After each package is securely scanned they will be sent to the correct aircraft. Here your parcel along with all the other packages will be boarded on the aircraft. Many a time if the cargo is less then it will be sent via a passenger airplane. However when the volume is high the cargo will be sent by cargo airplanes.
Flown safely to destination
The cargo is kept safely in the airplane in the cargo cabin where the temperature of 7 degree Celsius is maintained so that there is no risk of any kind for any of the packages to get damaged.
After arriving at the destination each package is screened again and then delivered to the delivery depository and then sent to the receiver via a courier service. This is the journey a cargo undergoes from a sender to the receiver.
Benefits of UPS/FedEx versus the Post Office
With e-commerce gaining ground, shipping carriers have been kept busy as they have become the de-facto for delivery of goods. The big three- USPS, FedEx and UPS are the most popular carriers offering customers choice shipping options, especially during the holiday season. The bottom line is that everyone is on the lookout for reliable, cheap and convenient shipping options.
FedEx and UPS are private global couriers that offer delivery service while the United States Postal Service (USPS) is an entity that is run by the Government. While USPS is considered to be one of the least expensive mailing and shipping services, it doesn’t compare well with its more expensive rivals when it comes to reliability and speed of delivery.
Let’s see how FedEx and UPS score over its more subdued but longer-armed rival- in terms of price, reliability and delivery time.
When it comes to small businesses, USPS offers the most competitive rates, a wide range of packaging and pick up options, while delivering to the most remote locations. With Saturday delivery and extremely affordable pricing for anything that’s lightweight, USPS leaves UPS and FedEx standing. However, if you want to ship heavier items, then UPS and FedEx can actually prove to be cheaper.
However, when it comes to reliability and delivery of service, USPS lags behind. Even a Priority next day mail and so called ‘express’ deliveries can take anything from 2 days to 2 weeks, depending on the location. In the absence of ‘morning delivery’ time dependent packages tend to suffer. It’s here that FedEx and UPS edges USPS out. FedEx and UPS can be counted upon to deliver as per schedule and this includes morning deliveries as well. Though this does come at a price, delivery is guaranteed within their time window.
FedEx and UPS offer a money-back guarantee in case of package delays. Such a guarantee is also available at USPS, but only on Priority Mail express packages- an overnight service that by itself is rather expensive. When it comes to customer satisfaction, FedEx and UPS score higher than the Postal Service and enjoy “A+ ratings from the Better Business Bureau”.
When it comes to tracking your package, both FedEx and UPS let you know the exact location of the packet at any point of time and can provide detailed tracking- point to point- for up to 30 packages. Such tracking options are available in USPS only for its Priority Mail Express and First class mail. For other USPS options, tracking options are not available for parcels in transit but only for packages that are delivered.
If you are using insured services, USPS will reimburse the amount- though claims take a while to settle. Customer support is minimal and hunting down lost packages is a nightmare with USPS. This is relatively easier in FedEx and UPS.
USPS delivers to post office boxes, army post offices and other remote locations that are not reachable by FedEx or UPS. In fact FedEx has a tie-up with the Postal service for the last leg of final delivery in places where it cannot deliver.
FedEx and UPS may be great carrier options but USPS is still a popular choice for millions across the United States.
Tips To Ship Fragile Items
Shipping fragile items requires careful and proper packing so that they arrive at their destination in one piece. Fragile items could be chinaware, glasses, statues or any other stuff that can be damaged due to improper handling. It is important to pack these items in such a way so that they can withstand falls, vibrations, humidity, water or snow. Here are some tips that would prove helpful in packaging and shipping such items.
Assemble all the packing material in one place
Before you start with the packaging ensure that you have all the packing material with you. You would need the following things:
The packing box should be sturdy enough to withstand item + packing material weight. The size of the box is also important. It should be large enough to fit the item and packing material snuggly. If you are using a recyclable box then remove unwanted details from the box from any previous shipping. Keep your item, packing material and box at an uncluttered place where you can do the packing easily.
Start with packing the item
First the item itself needs to be packed properly. If it is a statue then delicate parts like the nose would require special packing. Wrap these places with tissue paper or bubble wrapping material. Secure the tissue paper or the bubble wrap with a tape. Then wrap the whole item with tissue paper and tape it. Use bubbles wraps over the tissue and tape it again. In case of glass or chinaware each item would need to be covered by tissue paper and then wrapping bubble. Then tape them securely.To protect the item from water put it in a Ziploc bag or cover it with some plastic or shrink wrap material.
Pack the space around the item
Before you put the item in the box you would need to put enough packing peanuts in the box. Then lower your packed item inside the box. The packed item should be protected with packing peanuts from all sides.The peanuts should be enough to fill any empty space in the box.
Pack the box
Once the item is secure inside the box you would need to seal the box. Though it is important to have enough packing peanuts inside the box, make sure that they are not so much that they are making sealing the box difficult. The peanuts should not de-shape the box in any way. Once you are satisfied, start taping the box securely. Use lots of tape and secure the box properly. In order to let the handler know that the item inside is fragile and needs to be handled with care, write “Fragile” on all the sides of the box.
Safeguard the labels and any other documents
Any labels or documents would need to be taped on the box. Tape the whole label with a transparent tape so that it is visible as well as protected from water.
Now your item, however fragile, is ready to be shipped to its destination.