f you are new to export, or have limited experience

Held & Associates, Inc.
How To Prepare and Ship Your Container
The First in a Series of How to Export
f you are new to export,
or have limited experience
with shipping, there are certain things that you, the seller-shipper needs to know. To
begin the process you should
agree to work with an experienced, competent freight forwarder (FF), who is willing to
partner with you through the
3. Are there special export licenses, regu- 8. A Value Added Tax (VAT) is the cuswhole process from the quo- lations required? For the EU, there are tomer-importer’s responsibility requiring
tation stage through getting minimal regulations.
him to think it through, whether it could
increase or decrease prior to arrival.
paid. Your FF, international
imporbanker, and your shipping deto have the CE Mark. This may take 9. Getting paid is a key issue. The L/C
partment, are all key to your tant
several months, but is required. Many is the standard, yet requires much docuexport success.
new-to-export think they can get a CE mentation, much of which may not be
The first step in export shipping is
planning for containerization. How will
your products fit into a standard 20 or 40
foot container, versus break-bulk or even
less than container (LCL), is truly important when planning. It may require astute
engineering in the manufacturing process
to fit the product into a container. That
and planning to sell more units so as to
fill a container rather than a LTC load.
For example, one Heartland exporter
manufactures a piece of machinery
that is just an inch or two too wide,
and can only fit 10 into a 40-ft container. If just a little less wide they
could squeeze 20 units in a 40-footer
and cut their freight bill by half.
2. Know precisely who your customer/
consignee is, which must be shown as
Consignee on your bill of lading. Ask
your customer for their preferred Customs Broker contact information. Their
broker should be named as “Notify Party” on the ocean lading to expedite Customs entry and delivery.
needed. The DDP (cash for documents
terms) is gaining in popularity because it
doesn’t require so much paperwork, but
more trust between the parties is important because the documentation on what
5. Another question to consider in plan- the customer expects is not spelled out as
ning - is it an allowable product for that well as the L/C.
particular country? The EU customer is
responsible to know and obtain the im- 10. For ocean freight, Held often recommends Cost, Insurance and Freight
port license if required.
(CIF) because it transfers risk to the
6. Is it marked and packed properly? buyer once the goods are loaded onto the
Again, the FF should help the shipper vessel, and the seller-shipper controls the
plan for these issues.
freight and delivery. At any rate, the shipper should insure the cargo. If no Inland
7. What are the official Incoterms? Spec- Marine cargo policy, instruct your FF to
ify your terms on your Pro Forma invoice insure against all risks, no deductible,
and on your commercial invoice so there warehouse to warehouse including Genis absolutely no misunderstanding. Sell- eral Average coverage.
ing CIF port discharge is typically best
for exporters. Always specify to be paid in 11. CIF also reduces the risk of higher
U.S. dollars. If delivered to the customer’s costs than anticipated for delivery charges
door, then determine who is responsible from the entry port to the buyer. E.g., in
Europe, say Austria, these delivery costs
for duties and taxes.
could be four times higher than we are
accustomed to.
mark in a day or so, because they had
not considered it. Their freight forwarder
(FF) should have specified that the EU
would need it.
How To Prepare and Ship Your Container
12. The biggest risk in shipping is the
possibility of delay enroute, which is why
most FFs will only give time estimates
– both to the port and ocean time, port
delays in loading/unloading. Weather,
slow sailing (especially to Europe), breakdowns – any of a combination, can cause
delays. If it’s a break bulk item, it will
take longer at the port, where container
unloading is pretty simple. Most ports
can really step up loading and unloading
containers. But the time it takes for ships
to wait in the harbor before they can land
is an unknown.
13. Should there be a delay in loading
17. No doc, no load. It is important to
get your Commercial Invoice and Packing List to your FF as soon as the shipment leaves your dock. U.S. Customs requires the Electronic Export Information
(EEI) filing by the shipper or FF within
48 hours prior to vessel loading. It takes
some time to file, and ocean carrier will
not load your cargo unless filed.
20. For most Latin America destinations, it is vitally important to verify
the importer’s correct name and contact
information. If the arrival country’s customs people are not able to contact the
buyer’s representative, they will hold up
the shipment. In fact, it is suggested that a
secondary contact person be listed in case
the primary contact cannot be reached.
18. Also required are precise HMS
codes (Schedule B), because if there is
any problem with Customs at the port
of entry, shipper may become responsible
for all costs incurred to correct.
21. It is also important to know road
weight limits in the country shipped to
be sure your shipment does not exceed
the weight limits of any specific roadway,
or even ocean carrier, enroute to the buyer’s destination.
at the seller-shipper’s dock, there may be 19. While much is made of the need for
detention or demurrage charges. These a Certificate of Origin to accompany the
charges are the responsibility of the seller- documentation, in most cases it is unnecessary for European shipments. The
CofO is primarily required for free trade
14. Shipments to EU and to most major agreement counties, Middle East and
countries also require the
African countries. As long as the comINTERNATIONAL
STANDARDS mercial invoice includes the declaration
FOR PHYTOSANITARY MEASURES by the shipper as “Made in the USA,” it
generally goes through to the European
Wood Packing certificate, meaning treat- destination without delay.
ed wood is an absolute requirement for
pallets and crates. If a shipment arrives at
a Euro port without the ISPM-15 marking, it will be refused, and returned to the
shipper at his cost. If it’s an agri-business
piece of equipment it must be certified as
“New and Unused,” especially Australiabound. This is because even if a grain or
piece of contaminant makes its way into
the country, it could cause human, animal or plant disease.
Most reputable FFs will counsel shippers on all of these possible issues in the
export planning process to avoid costly
Information provided by Rick Held and John
Romp of Held & Associates.
Layout and graphics by Gilland Graphx
15. Prior to shipping, declare any hazard-
ous cargo, accompanied by the appropriate Materials Safety Data Sheet (MSDS)
to insure that the cargo is not rejected or
detained by the carrier. Most are cleared,
but additional inland and ocean hazardous charges will be applied.
16. Self-propelled vehicles require U.S.
Customs clearance, which takes extra
time. Your FF can arrange for this Customs clearance.
Held & Associates, Inc. 816-842-6701 www.held-assoc.com
Held & Associates:
2013 Recipient of President’s Excellence
in Exports Award for Export Service
Let us handle your LCL
shipments from the UK in our
UK ocean consolidation; or let
us build a consolidation for your company
– avoid LCL costs, pay full container price.
Andrea Tarry
Import Operations Manager,
Held & Associates Inc.
ISF – Importer Security Filing requirements now
being fully enforced by US Customs. Let Held &
Associates pick up your Import ocean cargo using
terms of sale FOB foreign port or exworks from
anywhere in the world, and we will transmit the
ISF to DHS before the ship sails; comply with the
regulation; and avoid the $5,000 -10,000 fines. The
10+2 ISF requirement is potentially a far greater
liability to US importers than the Customs entry
process, and we can help you limit that liability by
controlling your shipments before they are loaded
onboard the vessel bound for the US.
Licensed Customs Broker with
21 years experience handling US
import cargo from origin to US
Expert in US Customs clearance technical matters and other
government agency requirements –
816-842-6701 x 215
Please note our contribution to the HOW TO EXPORT – “How to
Prepare and Ship Your Container,” on pg.. 6 of this issue of IBNewsmag.
CALL ANDREA OR PAT (816) 842-6701
International Freight Forwarder
& Customs Broker
Held & Associates, Inc., 1120 Erie Street, P.O. Box 34470, North Kansas City, Missouri 64116-0870