The Essential Guide to Overseas Shipping

The Essential Guide to Overseas Shipping

Whether you are already rapidly expanding your online store, or are looking to take your business global, there is a good chance that overseas shipping is on your radar as a crucial step in world domination.

To help you bring your business dreams to fruition, check out this essential guide to overseas shipping.

1. Recognize why you need overseas shipping services.

As the world has become more globalized, more businesses are looking to move their goods around the world. This has resulted in a wave of overseas shipping services that all seek to provide the highest-quality service.

Back in the day, only major corporations could afford to transport their packages in this way; but now, smaller-sized firms can also ship to a broader array of consumers which, in turn, gives them more potential for boosting business.

By partnering with a highly regarded overseas shipping company, smaller firms can choose to offer their own delivery service, as well as create exclusive promotions regarding delivery or combine freebies or discounts with the selection of delivery services.

If you are a business owner, you want to think about creating an international shipping strategy that aids you in building your business and loyal consumer base.

That being said, it isn't just businesses that can make use of overseas shipping companies. If you are moving around the world (or across a big country) or need to transport a large item (such as a car), then you may also want to look into the possibility of using these shipping services.

2. Choose the right overseas shipping company.

Now that you understand the benefits of partnering with an overseas shipping company, it is time to select the best company. Not all overseas shipping companies operate in the same manner, nor do they offer similar packages and services. For this reason, it is essential that you choose the right one for your purposes.

Before speaking with potential shipping companies, it is important to conduct some thorough research so that you can be informed when talking with them. Having some understanding of the logistics of shipping, the marketplace for these services and the jargon used will assist you greatly during negotiations. It will also ensure that you are communicating your needs accurately!

Knowing your freight forwarding needs is crucial, as that is the only way you are going to find the most suitable form of carrier for your merchandises. Be as specific as possible with your requirements to ensure the smoothest possible delivery.

When looking at shipping companies, make sure you are taking into account the reputation and history of the firm. The longer a company has been managing these types of logistics, the better they are going to be at it and the more knowledge the workers will have for alternate plans.

Furthermore, only work with a company that also offers you services like documentation, shipment tracking, and cargo insurance as these are crucial for an optimal experience. It is also beneficial to choose a freight forwarding company that offers the option to book freight online as this makes a significant difference in the ease of organizing shipments.

3. Create a packing strategy.

There is no fool-proof packing strategy and, depending on the types of goods you are shipping, there may be a high likelihood of damage. Obviously, you want to do everything in your power to decrease the chances of this happening.

When shipping overseas, how you pack your items is of the highest importance. Those goods need to make their way to a new country and a (hopefully) satisfied customer by surviving various transport methods. Therefore, having a packing strategy is necessary.

Again, what you are shipping will dictate how you do your packing; but, as a general rule of thumb, you want to have items packaged in durable yet lightweight materials that are strong and cushioned to reduce the opportunity for damage. If your goods will be traveling by water, the packaging must be watertight or (at the very least) water-resistant.

4. Have your proper documentation ready.

No one likes dealing with paperwork but, unfortunately, if you don't have the appropriate documents prepared for your goods then you are going to end up with them being returned to you — which will lead to a lot more stress and unhappy customers! This is (obviously) a big no-no for any company.

For this reason, it is crucial that you ensure that you have all documentation prepared before you ship the packages. This documentation most likely will include primary freight documents such as a proforma invoice, a commercial invoice, a packing list, certificates of origin, Electronic Export Information (EEI), a shipper’s letter of instruction, Bills of Lading, dangerous goods forms, and a bank draft.

Additionally, it is up to you to confirm with the good's destination country the appropriate documentation that is needed to admit an overseas shipment as several countries expect supplementary documentation.

Have you ever shipped goods internationally? What was your experience like? Let us know in the comments below!


Toby Edwards is the CEO of Shipa Freight and is based in Dubai. Shipa Freight is a new online platform powered by Agility that makes it easy to get air and ocean freight quotes, book, pay and track shipments online. Shipa Freight empowers small and medium-size businesses, taking the complexity out of International Freight Forwarding, making it easy to manage legal, regulatory and compliance issues, and offering convenient ways to pay to move their goods.

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