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International Shipping Guide

International Shipping Guide

  1. Going International: The Basics
  2. Shipper
  3. Shipping Company
  4. Shipping Origin Agent
  5. Freight Handler
  6. Consolidation Warehouse
  7. Port
  8. Shipping Line
  9. Container Line
  10. Destination Port
  11. Bonded Warehouse
  12. Shipping Destination Agent
  13. Shipping Broker

1. Going International: The Basics

When moving internationally, there are many things that must be taken into consideration. Most people will only make a move of this magnitude once in their lifetimes. Most of the people that move to another country do not have the slightest clue how to go about it. Moving Authority is here to help guide first-time international movers in their goal of making a successful international move.

There are many different parties involved in cross-country moves. It may help you to understand how your goods get from one place to another, especially if you still have some weariness about moving all of your possessions across an ocean.

2. Shipper

You are the shipper since you are the one sending the goods. By accepting your role as the shipper, you are also accepting that you take legal responsibility for all of the goods that are being exported out of your country and imported to the new country. You should set some extra money aside in the event that something unexpected should arise.

3. Shipping Company

Whichever moving company you choose will play the role of the move manager. This company will make sure the shipment gets where it needs to go. You will sign a very lengthy contract with this company outlining your aforementioned responsibilities to the goods you are shipping. This company will also send you a final bill. This is also the company that will handle any questions you may have about the shipment, as well as any claims that need to be made, or if you just need some updates on your goods. Any other parties that have control of your goods will be subcontracted employees.

4. Shipping Origin Agent

This company will be responsible for doing a visual examination of the shipment before it begins the export process. They will then give you a quote for the cost of the move. This role may also be filled by the company that you chose to ship the items with.

5. Freight Handler

This company will be in charge of the ocean transport of your goods. They will draw up a bill of lading, which is a document that has your information, as well as information that pertains to your shipment. This company will transport your items from your home or other pickup location to the port where they will be shipped out from.

6. Consolidation Warehouse

Depending on the size of your shipment, you may or may not have a shared shipping container. If you do have a shared container, then your goods will be placed in a warehouse until there is another shipment that can be placed in the container. This may seem counterproductive, but it is just another part of the international shipping process that you will never see, but that is necessary.

7. Port

At this point in the process, your goods are sealed and ready to be transported to the new country. You will not see any part of the goods being loaded onto the ship. The most important piece of information you need to get regarding this is whether the port fees are included in the overall price. They almost always are, but it is better to be safe.

8. Shipping Line

The shipping line is the group or company that operates the ship. They will create a seaway bill of lading, which you will never see. Shipping lines are a vital part of the country to country relations, as well as to the economy. Since they are so important, they have a little more freedom than a traditional land shipping company. First off, they are allowed to overbook their ships, and simply delay some shipments until the next available ship. This could mean additional charges for you, the shipper. They also have the right to ‘end voyage” if they feel that the import port is not reachable due to outside circumstances. Furthermore, the ship lines have the right to throw cargo overboard if they feel that the vessel may sink.  Shipping lines can also make changes to schedules if they need to. The shipping line does not claim any responsibility for the loss of cargo during transport. In the end, shipping lines have a lot of high priority items to get from one port to another, and your household goods simply do not take importance over other goods.

9. Container Line

This is the company that manages the containers that your goods are in. This will have little relevance to you.

10. Destination Port

This is where your goods are unloaded once they finally reach the destination country. You will have to pay for destination handling charges, which are sometimes left out of the initial estimate. However, they must be paid. In any circumstance, you must pay these charges. Expect the charges to be somewhere upwards of $1,500, regardless of how large or small your shipment is.

11. Bonded Warehouse

This warehouse will hold your goods until they are cleared to enter the country. Some countries, such as Canada, require you to be at the warehouse when the goods are being inspected by customs officials. In other cases, however, countries may unload all of your goods and inspect them before informing you of their arrival.

12. Shipping Destination Agent

This company will handle your goods once they arrive in the new country. They will oversee customs clearance, port business, and delivery to your new home.

13. Shipping Broker

A shipping broker is just an entity that manages your goods throughout the process of them arriving in the new country. They don’t do anything too important to the moving process, and none of their work is required. Because of this, you can expect to pay a relatively high price for move brokers.

In the end, it is important to be familiar with the process of shipping goods internationally. Knowing what is happening every step of the way can protect you from having to pay big bucks in the event that something should go wrong.

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