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How to Ship Cargo Internationally – International Shipping in 7 Steps

International Shipping has a diverse set of rules and regulations to ensure that trade between countries is carried out safely and responsibly.

Flickr user Ingrid Taylar, Hanjin container ship, CC BY 2.0

With leading international freight forwarders employing ocean freight and air freight, the present business world can supply the existing demand in a matter of days, to any place in the world. Here are the steps of shipping cargo internationally in 7 steps!

Export haulage

The transportation of the cargo from the shipper's premises to the freight forwarder's warehouses is known as export haulage. A freight forwarder's warehouse is also known as an origin warehouse. For LCL shipment, which stands for Less than a Container Load shipment, this origin warehouse would be an export consolidation centre. These goods would usually move on the road, rail, or a combination of both. When the consignee or the one who is financially receiving the shipment, is responsible for the transportation, a freight forwarder who can offer export haulage in international shipping would be ideal as it only requires payment for the volume you need. Handling of the cargo at the shipper's premises or off-loading of the truck at the origin warehouse is not considered part of export haulage.

Export customs clearance

Customs clearance is the process of taking cargo through the relevant authority to facilitate import or export procedures. Also, if you have custom clearance, you should possess a document issued by the customs stating that your cargo is cleared for export. For each shipment that leaves the country, it is required for the customs formalities to take place to meet legal obligations. Export customs clearance can either be performed by a freight forwarder who owns a valid license or an agent in place of the freight forwarder. This can also be carried out by a customs house broker, who may be directly appointed by the shipper as well. This procedure has to be completed before the cargo can be taken out of the country. It is often required to be completed before the goods can be entered into the origin warehouse.

Origin handling

From receiving cargo at the origin warehouse to loading them on a ship at the Colombo port, a long process is involved, and it is where origin handling plays its part. All the steps included in this process are coordinated by the freight forwarder. In a nutshell, once the cargo is received, it is inspected, planned for loading, combined with other cargo, placed in a container, and moved to a container terminal such as South Asia Gateway Terminals in a port where they will be later loaded into a ship.

Ocean freight

The freight forwarder decides on the best shipping line to carry out the ocean freight from origin to destination to meet the targeted timeline. The two parties have a contract of carriage for the container, in which the shipper or the consignee isn't subject to any interaction with the shipping line. However, the shipper or the consignee will ultimately have to bear the cost of the ocean freight.

Import customs clearance

This can begin prior to the arrival of cargo at its intended destination. A declaration will be developed as a formality for customs clearance and will be submitted along with the relevant documents, which would enable authorities to levy customs duty on the shipment. Import customs clearance can be carried out by a freight forwarder.

Destination handling

Cargo handling will also be required at the destination before handing over the goods to the relevant consignees. Destination handling consists of transferring the container from the ship to the forwarder's warehouse. This also contains preparing the cargo for collection by the relevant consignee.

Import haulage

The final part of shipping cargo internationally is the delivery of the goods to the consignee. This can either be carried out by the freight forwarder or via a local courier service appointed by the shipper or the consignee.

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