What is International Shipping and How Does It Work?


Expanding your customer base is an essential step when a business is growing. Many companies start on a local scene, but if the product sells well, going global is just a matter of time. International shipping lets you access thousands of potential customers and significantly extend the potential of your company.

What is international shipping?

International shipping is a process of importing and exporting goods between different countries via ocean, air, or over the road. International shipping can be complicated since it suggests many rules and policies. To successfully import or export freight, you have to know and follow specific regulations and collect paperwork so your freight passes the customs clearance.

How to ship freight internationally?

It is complex to arrange international shipping, especially if you are doing it for the first time. That’s why most businesses turn to freight forwarding companies to ship their freight. Unlike domestic shipments, international transportation is more intricate since every country has its own regulations and laws.

Some countries have stricter policies than others, and completely forbid importing certain products. For example, Canada has a list of prohibited items to import and has specific tax regulations. That’s why it’s important to thoroughly learn the regulations, or use professional freight forwarding services.

Usually, international freight shipping consists of five key parts:

  • Export Haulage. The freight is moved from its origin-destination to the next warehouse, port, or facility firm where it will depart to the border.
  • Export Customs Clearance. When the freight reaches the border of the exporting country, it passes the process of clearance before moving to the next stage.
  • Transportation. After your load has successfully left the origin country, the process of transportation begins.
  • Import Customs Clearance. When the freight reaches the border of the importing country, it passes the process of clearance. This is the most important part of the shipping process since you ensure your freight has met the compliance.
  • Import Haulage. After successfully clearing the importer country’s border, your freight is moved from the border to its final destination.

Important things to know before shipping international freight

Collecting information

Gathering all the shipment information and presenting it in the required form is crucial for completing international freight shipping. Filling in the documentation and providing required paperwork can be challenging, and a single error can result in a failure.

Customs clearance

The customs clearing process is a critical stage of international shipping. To complete it successfully, you will need a customs broker. These professionals have expertise in arranging and executing international freight movement. So, you can rely on them to gather paperwork, and execute the customs clearance process properly. If you use a freight forwarding company, they will most likely recommend a customs broker or even provide one.

Tracking the result

After the most important part of the process is completed, you should only track your shipment to make sure it reaches its final location.

International shipping with PLS Logistics

PLS Logistics has relationships with 45,000 carriers throughout North America. Combined with our freight brokerage services, we can arrange international shipping through truck, rail, ocean or air.

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