5 Tips for a First Time International Shipper–Import or Export Well

 In Container Shipping & Transport, export, Global Business, import, International Shipping

As a friend to your business, Universal Cargo Management not only wants to see you succeed, we want to help you succeed.

There is a wide range of international shippers whom we help with importing and exporting needs from businesses that have been importing and exporting regularly for years to individuals importing or exporting for the very first time.

Of course, we love our regular and faithful customers for whom we’ve been shipping goods internationally for years, but we want you first time shippers and one time shippers (like those doing an international household move) to know that you are valued by Universal Cargo Management as well and we are here to help your imports or exports to go smoothly.

Shipper with QuestionOften we are asked by first time shippers if we have any advice for them. With 25+ years in the international shipping industry, we absolutely have advice for you.

We answer this question on our website’s FAQ Overview page with the following 5 tips (although, extra information has been added here and there in this blog):

Tip #1

Save container transport cost by preparing to load your container in less than 2 hrs.

When the driver shows up to your site, the first 2 hours are included in your fees. We recommend staffing up and preparing in advance to load the container as quickly as possible to avoid overtime charges.

This tip is directed mainly at shippers exporting out of the U.S. through Universal Cargo Management using door service. If you are not using Universal Cargo Management as your freight forwarder, it is likely you will still have two hours to load the container trucked to you.

However, it is a good idea to ask the questions of whoever is helping you with your international shipping needs about how long you will have to load your container before you accrue extra fees on the trucking of your shipment.

Tip #2

Prepare Shipping Container Contents for Extremes

Containers are subject to extreme conditions. There are wild swings in temperature and humidity inside the container – they go through the Panama Canal and sometimes around the Cape. Containers are subjected to triple digit heat and humidity to sub-zero temperatures while in storage or in transport.

Tip #3

Carefully Declare ANY Organic Cargo

Plants, Edible Plants, Vegetables, and Fruit are all treated differently depending on the origin and destination of the shipment. If customs finds any undeclared organic cargo, they can quarantine your container and charge you daily holding fees.

Tip #4

Properly Insure Your Cargo

Plan for “attrition”. All of the contents don’t always make it all of the time.
There will be some “attrition” – containers get inspected, sometimes by unscrupulous dock/deck hands…this isn’t REALLY considered stealing, as the items in transit, technically are the property of the shipping company*. See our blog entry on securing, insuring and properly declaring your container contents to manage risk of inspection, suspicion, mistakes and “attrition”.

Tip #5

Understand that Freight Forwarding is both an art and a science.

Many companies and handlers are involved in moving your container, here are just a few possible examples: Trucking company(ies) outbound (your door to the port of origin or train yard), Crane Operations transferring container from truck to train, and train to ship. That’s just to get the container to the ship, then the reverse happens on the other side…it can be a REALLY rough ride, even in good weather.

Universal Cargo Management has been helping people maneuver in that storm for over 25 years so you can trust you’re in good hands to help your import or export to go as smoothly as possible.

For more answers to Frequently Asked Questions, go to our FAQ page in our Resources section. We encourage you to check it out if you’re preparing for your first importing/exporting experience or if international shipping has been part of your business for years.

To get a freight rate quote, click here.

Showing 2 comments

    You are whiling to help us indeed, congratelation!

  • Penelope Smith

    Shipping things internationally seems like such a complicated process. One of my good friends is considering starting a business and she would want to ship internationally. It is good to know that she might have to deal with things like container inspections.

Leave a Comment