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International Freight Shipping: How Does It Work?

International Freight Shipping: How Does It Work?

November 18, 2022
Posted By
Kirsta Bowman

Shipments weighing over 150 pounds (70 kg) are considered freight shipments. Freight usually pertains to bulk and comes with its own guidelines and regulations with international shipping. Let’s go over a few important things to keep in mind with international freight.

Customs

Customs is a mandatory process when shipping internationally. Obtaining permission from a country’s government, through its customs authority, to either export or import, is crucial to international shipping.

Compliances and clearances at customs depend on a few factors, including country of origin, country of destination, and product. Besides a packing list, there are also required documents including….

International Freight Methods and Characterization

There are four ways freight is moved, by air, rail, ocean and road. What type of method(s) you will use will depend on a few factors:

  • Dimensions of Freight
  • Starting and Destination Points
  • Type of Freight
  • Costs and Time Affordability

Chances are, you will utilize multiple methods of international freight (or parcel shipping) to get your freight from Point A to Point B.

Full Container Load and Less Than Container Load

Containerized freight is shipping two ways, full container load or less than container load. With FCL, you pay a flat rate for the entire container. On the flip side, LCL, you pay, or ‘rent’ part of the container space with several other brands.
LCL is preferred when a company does not have enough product to fill and send a full container, also known as consolidation. FCL is more cost effective for larger shipments. Do your research to decide what is best for you and your brand.

Exporting

Shipping goods from one country to another is called exporting. As a brand, there are several considerations to be had while developing a compliant export strategy.

*For more information regarding regulations and restrictions .

If you are shipping from the United States, click here to learn more on navigating exporting regulations and compliances.

HS Code

Exporting and importing products come with extra steps. Harmonized System (HS) codes are commodity codes used to classify international inventory being shipped. It is a standardized system of classifying and identifying shipments around the world. Utilized by customs authorities across the globe, HS codes identify products when assessing duties and taxes as well as for gathering statistics. They are recognized in 98% of world trade.

Companies use an HS number to reference the classification with their customers, vendors and anyone outside of the U.S. HS codes are an integral part of international trade. If you have any questions you can reach out to an experienced 3PL.


Consignor and Consignee

Consignor

The consignor is the exporter of record for your shipment. The consignor is usually one of the following:

  • The factory where your goods are manufactured.
  • The sourcing agent who serves as the main point of contact for your export and takes ownership of the export, including finding your factory and arranging necessary documentation.
  • The origin location if different from the factory (ie, the factory’s warehouse).

Consignee

The consignee is the importer of record for your shipment. They are also responsible for paying duties and any additional freight charges.The consignee is usually one of the following:

  • You, AKA the buyer of the goods from overseas AKA the person who placed the booking.
  • Your client (if you represent someone who will serve as the final destination).

Note: A Third-Party Logistics company (3PL), like Atomix, is not considered a consignee.

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International Freight Shipping: How Does It Work?

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