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How to Send a Shipping Container Overseas

Are you wondering what is involved in shipping a container internationally? The overseas shipping process can seem difficult to understand if you’re not an international shipping expert. By partnering with an experienced and reliable shipping services company and finding out as much as you can about the process beforehand, the international shipping process can be straightforward and hassle-free.

Below, we’ll explore the ins and outs of shipping a container overseas.

What is International Container Shipping?

International container shipping is a method of transporting goods across international borders using standardized shipping containers.

These durable containers can be easily loaded onto different modes of transportation, such as ships, trucks, and trains, making this a very efficient and cost-effective method of overseas shipping.

How Do I Ship a Container Internationally?

The process of shipping a container internationally involves several key steps. So, let’s look at each of these steps in more detail:

1. Export Haulage

The first stage of international shipping involves moving the goods to be shipped from their place of origin to a packing center, where they are ready to be packed into a shipping container.

If you partner with a reliable and experienced international shipping company, they will organize all aspects of the shipping process for you, including this initial step.

2. Export Customs Clearance

Before your cargo can be shipped out of the country, it must undergo customs clearance to ensure that it meets all regulatory requirements, including tariffs, duties, and restrictions.

Customs officials may inspect your cargo to verify the accuracy of the customs declaration and to identify any applicable taxes. Successful customs clearance is essential for the timely and legal delivery of goods across borders.

3. Origin Handling

The origin handling process starts as soon as the goods are received, up until when they are successfully loaded onto a ship in a container.

During this stage, the goods are effectively prepared for shipment overseas. This may include consolidating the goods into one container alongside other cargo. Once containerized, the cargo is transported to the port, where it can be loaded onto a ship.

When packing your goods ready for shipment, you should think carefully about protecting them, particularly if they are valuable or fragile items. Shrink wrap can provide an additional layer of security and stability during transit.

All liquids should be properly sealed before being placed in the shipping container, and make sure the packaging materials that you use are moisture-resistant.

4. Ocean Freight

Ocean freight is the main leg of the shipping journey, during which the cargo is transported by sea to its destination country.

5. Import Customs Clearance

Once it arrives at its destination country, the cargo must be subject to import customs clearance. This typically includes activities such as completing import declarations, paying any applicable duties or taxes, and ensuring compliance with local regulations.

This process is often handled by expert customs brokers or freight forwarders who have expertise in navigating the specific requirements of the destination country’s customs authorities.

6. Destination Handling

Destination handling involves unloading, unpacking, and preparing the cargo for delivery.

During this stage, the transported goods are removed from the shipping container and prepared for the customer to collect.

7. Import Haulage

The final stage of the shipping process is known as import haulage. This includes the transportation of the goods from the destination port to the consignee’s final location.

Why is Partnering with a Reliable Shipping Company Important?

As you can see, there are many steps involved in shipping goods around the world, making international shipping difficult to navigate. Partnering with a reliable shipping company can simplify the entire experience.

An experienced shipping company will provide you with access to a team of experts who understand the shipping process in detail, helping you at every stage of the process.

Importantly, their expertise in handling shipping documents can help to avoid any unnecessary delays and ensure that all paperwork is completed accurately and submitted on time.

Choosing a Suitable Shipping Company

When choosing a suitable shipping company to partner with, you should research your options very carefully.

Firstly, make a shortlist of potential shipping companies operating within your area.

Next, conduct thorough research looking into each company. You should review feedback from previous clients as well as any online testimonials. Find out about the full range of shipping services that they offer and compare their overall shipping costs to those of other companies.

What Documents Do You Need to Ship a Container Overseas?

In order to successfully ship your container overseas, you will require certain documents. This includes:

  • Bill of Lading
  • Commercial Invoice
  • Certificate of Origin
  • Copy of Passport/ID
  • Power of Attorney Form
  • Packing List
  • Import and Export Licenses
  • Customs Declarations

A dedicated and experienced shipping company should be able to handle all the paperwork on your behalf and ensure compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.

What Volume Can You Ship Overseas?

Shipping needs can vary greatly. From shipping a few personal belongings or household goods to transporting pieces of furniture or large commercial items, container shipping offers a versatile and secure option.

Shipping containers are available in a variety of different sizes, with the most common being 20ft and 40ft. This means that they can easily accommodate different sizes of cargo.

Deciding Between LCL and FCL Services

When it comes to container shipping, you have two primary options: Less than Container Load (LCL) and Full Container Load (FCL) shipping. So, let’s learn some more about these two choices:

What is LCL Shipping?

If you are looking to ship smaller goods overseas, then it may be worth opting for a Less than Container Load (LCL) service. This cost-effective option allows you to share container space with other shippers and only pay for the space that you use.

What is FCL Shipping?

However, if you have a lot of cargo to transport or are shipping large items, a Full Container Load (FCL) may be a better choice. An FCL service provides you with a dedicated container, ensuring your goods are transported securely and efficiently. This is ideal for relocating entire households, shipping commercial goods, or sending large items like vehicles overseas.

What Goods Can You Not Ship Overseas?

Certain goods are restricted or prohibited from being shipped overseas due to safety, legal, or environmental concerns. These restrictions vary from country to country, so it is best to check the specific regulations for your destination with your shipping provider.

Some examples of prohibited goods include firearms, weapons, fireworks, certain chemicals, and flammables.

Which Size Shipping Container Do I Need?

The size of the shipping container that you need will depend upon a number of factors, including the size and volume of your cargo, the nature of your cargo (for example, whether it is fragile or oddly shaped), the weight of your cargo, and your shipping budget.

Your chosen shipping provider will be able to advise you on the most appropriate shipping container size for your shipment. They can also provide you with useful guidance on packing and loading your container to maximize space and ensure the safety of your goods during transit.

Can You Ship Your Own Container Overseas?

Absolutely! You can choose to ship your own container overseas, and this is known as a Shipper Owned Container (SOC).

Using your own shipping container allows for greater flexibility and control over your shipment, especially if you have a large amount of cargo or unique items to transport. You can fill the container at your own pace and according to your specific needs, eliminating the constraints of carrier schedules and shared container space. Also, if you invest in your own shipping container, then you have the option of using it again and again!

How Much Does It Cost to Ship a Container Overseas?

The cost of shipping a container overseas can vary depending on several factors, including the size of the container, the specific origin and destination, the type of goods being shipped, and the chosen shipping method. Additional expenses, such as customs duties, taxes, and handling fees, can also contribute to the overall shipping price.

Another factor that you may not realize has an effect on shipping costs is the time of year. This can have an affect on costs due to seasonal demand, weather conditions affecting transportation routes, and fluctuations in fuel prices. During peak seasons or holidays, shipping costs may rise as demand for transportation services increases. Additionally, inclement weather or natural events can disrupt shipping schedules and lead to increased costs. It’s important to consider these factors when planning your shipment.

As a rough estimate, you can expect to pay anywhere from $1,500 to $10,000 or more for shipping a container internationally. Remember, when looking to ship a container overseas, you should request quotes from multiple shipping companies to compare costs and determine the most suitable option for your specific needs.

How Long Does it Take to Ship a Container Overseas?

The time it takes to ship a container overseas can vary significantly depending on several factors, including the distance between the origin and destination, the chosen shipping method and route, and any potential transit stops or delays.

Typically, shipping a container from one continent to another can take several weeks, with the exact time varying based on the distance and the efficiency of the chosen shipping route.

Your chosen shipping company will be able to provide you with an accurate estimated transit time for your specific shipment.

Do I Need International Shipping Insurance?

One thing that you should not forget about when looking to ship a container overseas is international container shipping insurance! Whether you’re shipping personal belongings or commercial goods, international container shipping insurance is highly recommended.

While shipping companies take precautions to ensure the safe delivery of your cargo, unexpected events can occur, including theft, damage, and natural disasters.

While most shipping companies offer limited liability coverage, this is often insufficient to cover the full value of your cargo. By purchasing additional shipping insurance, you can protect yourself from financial loss in case of unforeseen events.

Take the Hassle Out of Shipping Containers Internationally With CFR Classic

Are you planning a major international move? Or are you looking to transport some personal or commercial items overseas? If so, CFR Classic is here to help.

As a global leader in door-to-door containerized shipping solutions for any cargo, we offer our customers unparalleled expertise and competitive shipping rates. We have a wealth of experience, internationally shipping over 2000 cars every month from all over the world.

Contact CFR Classic Today

Contact CFR Classic today to discuss your individual shipping needs and discover how our expertise can help to simplify the process of international container shipping for you.

Joey has spent his entire teen and adult life in cars. Joey's father owned a Jeep store, and Joey had his own used car lot that he ran himself from age 22 until I was 30. At 30 years old, Joey got "out of" the car business and joined CFR Rinkens. Joey started when there were only 9 people at CFR, but the company grew to over 150 employees during his time there. When Joey started, CFR Rinkens was shipping about 40 vehicles per week from Los Angeles. Joey established locations in Houston, Miami, and New York and within the first year, CFR went to shipping 150 cars per week. Joey started as a customer service rep and later moved up to sales manager, operations manager, and marketing manager. Joey then moved to Europe for two years and spent the entire time traveling through Europe meeting with clients. In 2022, Joey and his partners purchased CFR Classic from CFR Rinkens and he returned to California to watch over the operation more closely.

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