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Things You Should Know About Shipping If You Export Goods To Other Countries
If you are a business engaged in shipping products to various different countries, there are several things you should know about international shipping companies that could cost you dearly if you don't.
As an example, a German manufacturer of bespoke T-shirts a few years ago wondered why its' shipping costs were so high. It started an investigation and found that it was spending around £45,000 a year on products that were not deliverable because the customers' addresses were incorrect. The shipping company would then charge for shipping the product back to the factory, so the company was paying two sets of customs and shipping charges for products that could not be delivered in the first place.
Errors such as these are often learned the hard way, and in this case the manufacturer found that it could use an online checking service for customers addresses in 132 countries at a cost of less than 4p each.
There are a number of things which can go wrong, such as shipments which are not correctly packaged. For instance, some countries regulate wood pallets and wood packaging in order to control pests. They might require companies to adhere to certain standards, and if you are not aware of them your shipment can get held up in customs. It is also essential to ensure that your shipment is packaged safely, so if you are shipping glassware, for instance, it will need a very shock absorbent package in order to protect it in transit.
Most countries have specific customs requirements and if you do not adhere to them your shipment can again get held up in customs. What might pass in one country may very well not in another. You might consider that your packaging meets a certain standard but that is no good if it does not comply in another country. There are a number of different regulations such as displaying certificates to prove the country of origin of a product. Fortunately, most countries have an up-to-date copy of their customs requirements and trade laws online, but you do need to check them.
As the T-shirt company found, incorrect labelling can cost money. However, it can also mean that your packaging should show other things such as not only the country of origin, but perhaps the presence of any hazardous materials. It is worth talking to the shipping company about this which should be able to advise on any particular requirements for the destination country.
Another thing to understand is exactly who is shipping your products. When you use a shipping company to ship your products to another country, it is natural to assume that the company will be handling the actual shipping. However, in many instances the shipping company will hand over the packages to a shipping management company which then deals with the shipping method and handling. Since the management company wants to make a profit it will frequently ship your products by the cheapest way it can, which is also often the slowest. Before you use a shipping company it is a good idea to ask the company which management company it uses and if there are any guarantees about the shipping method and the timeline.
Another common, though understandable, error is choosing the wrong shipping company for your destination. There is no one shipping company that is perfect for every country in the world because some companies have established relationships with customs in certain countries, and where this is the case can help to speed delivery to your customers. A shipping company that is great for one destination could be just average or even poor for another.
Any shipping company that you use should understand the trade lane that you are in and be able to provide the answer to moving your shipment in a timely manner safely, intact, and fulfilling all the necessary regulations. It is a good idea to ask a shipping company how many years it has been shipping to your destination, the number of transactions it carries out, and possibly the number of employees on the ground, because most shipping companies that have a strong connection with a country will usually have an office on the ground.
Movers International is based in Preston in Lancashire and is one of the leading international shipping companies in the UK. A considerable amount of its work is concerned with removals of homes and businesses, but it can ship products to any country in the world and has regular weekly runs to various countries on the continent.
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