Avoid costly mistakes when you pack and ship packages internationally

So you are preparing to ship packages internationally, but you don’t know where to start with the type of packaging needed, the paperwork required, or how best to get your items from A to B. Whether you are shipping items abroad for personal or professional use, it is crucial that your valuable goods arrive safely and intact. With that in mind, we’ve assembled the ultimate guide to help you pack and ship your goods internationally, without hassle, unnecessary expense, or risk of damage.

a freight container is being loaded with packaging using proper blocking and bracing for shipment internationally
Ship packages internationally in a properly loaded freight container.

How to pack goods to ship internationally

The first step in shipping your goods abroad is packing them. Whether you’re moving to another country or sending items to a customer for commercial use, you’ll need to make sure your items arrive intact and on time – which can be easier said than done.

Custom Crating protects items during shipment

The best way to pack valuable items is by crating them, a method that involves packing your items in a custom wooden crate sized appropriately for them. There are multiple benefits to using wooden crates that set them apart from other transportation materials. Not only do wooden crates boast eco-friendly credentials since they are made using a recyclable and sustainable material, but they are also incredibly sturdy.

Custom wooden crates protect your items from the elements, with slight fluctuation in internal temperature or conditions. If you are shipping an item that is sensitive to humidity, for example, a wooden crate will provide a stable environment to prevent your goods from being damaged. Wooden crates can withstand much more moving and lifting than other materials, so they’re ideal for packages that need to be picked up by a forklift or loaded onto a container for transportation.

Weightier items can be challenging

If you’re transporting particularly heavy items, you can rely on heavy-duty wooden crates to carry them since they have a capacity of up to 7000 pounds. But how do you find wooden crates and assemble them for safe transportation? That’s the challenge. Sourcing wooden crates and crating items yourself is time-consuming and leaves you open to making packaging or paperwork errors that risk the safety of your package.

The solution? Hire an expert crating company. Crating companies specialize in getting large, uniquely shaped, or fragile goods to their destination intact by using specialized wooden crates. Ensure that your company is IPPC and ISPM 15 stamped, or your crates may be quarantined upon arrival of an international shipment. Many crating companies have excellent connections in the shipping industry, so you’ll be able to streamline the process of getting your goods from A to B by hiring one company for everything.

How to ship packages internationally

International shipping can be more complex than sending packages domestically. To ship packages internationally, you’ll need to make sure that the package compiles with the regulations of the destination country and that any necessary paperwork is completed competently.

Organizing shipping yourself can be incredibly time-consuming. Plus, shipping large packages often requires freight containers, so you’ll need expertise in loading and unloading freight containers. 

Finding a reliable shipping company that ships overseas at a reasonable price can be tricky. If you’re already having your goods packed by a crating company, it’s worth seeing if the crating company can organize off-site removal and shipment for you. Opting for a crating company that can not only package your items but can also arrange for them to be shipped worldwide will save you valuable time, money, and effort. 

Things to consider when shipping internationally

Ocean container loading services

Around 90% of traded goods are transported over waves. Shipping goods by sea is an environmentally friendly way to send packages internationally, and it’s a common choice of freight transportation for individuals and businesses alike. 

When you’re shipping goods internationally, you’ll likely be using a type of freight container called an ocean container to transport the items from one country to another. With this in mind, it’s worth opting for a crating company that supports loading ocean containers.

Ocean containers are large, heavy-duty, rectangular containers, typically constructed of steel, used for shipping products on long journeys. The containers are designed for freight and are sturdy and easy-to-load.

Ocean container loading involves appropriately securing export shipments or unpacking import shipments. Ocean container loading companies safely load or unload ocean container contents with the help of proper strapping, blocking, and bracing techniques.

If you’re looking for a crating company that offers this service, look for the appropriate DUNNAGE stamp. Crating company, South Shore Crate and Pack, specializes in export container loading and import container unloading. 

We can block and brace 20′ and 40′ containers. If you are shipping goods internationally, we will work with partners to get your cargo to our facility safely and efficiently.

Hazmat shipping

Depending on what you’re shipping, your package may contain hazardous materials. When you hear the term ‘hazardous materials,’ toxic waste, chemicals, or weapons might come to mind. But many everyday items fall into the category of hazardous materials (also known as hazmat).

Common hazmat items include aerosol sprays, hand sanitizer, bleach, nail polish, and nail polish remover. What makes an item as a hazardous material is that it could harm people or property if it breaks, spills, or comes into contact with a particular surface during transit.

Hazardous materials not only need to be packaged using proper materials, but they also require correct labeling to be shipped abroad. Failing to label hazmat properly can result in a delayed package or, even worse, a hefty fine. Therefore, if you plan on shipping hazardous materials, you’ll need a packaging service that offers hazmat shipping

Hazmat repacking consists of taking a hazardous material and properly repacking the contents to meet IMDG, DOT, and IATA requirements, as well as issuing a hazardous declaration so it can ship on the corresponding freight mode. To check if anything you need to ship is considered a hazardous material, consult this list

Tips and tricks for packing and shipping internationally

Check regulations before shipping packages internationally

When shipping packages internationally, the destination country of your items might have rules that differ from your country’s. Before investing in the packing and shipping of your goods, avoid wasting money by checking that the contents of your package abide by the rules and regulations of the destination country. Some products, especially hazardous materials, cannot be imported or exported to a particular country, so it’s worth checking the legal status of the goods you wish to ship before organizing their transit. 

Provide a commercial invoice when necessary

If you’re shipping goods for commercial purposes, e.g., you run an eCommerce business, you may need to include a commercial invoice as part of your shipment. A commercial invoice is a document containing crucial information about the goods within a given shipment. This invoice is also used to create a custom declaration.

Not all countries require a commercial invoice, but it’s worth checking whether or not it is required in your shipment’s destination country before you ship. There are several reasons you may need a commercial invoice, including presenting accurate information to avoid delays, ensuring the correct taxes and duties are paid for your items, and complying with the legal requirements of a given country.

You can download commercial invoice templates online or ask for your shipping company’s help creating one. You’ll need to include information such as the reason for export, a description of the goods contained, the value of the goods you’re shipping, and the country of origin. 

Keep an inventory

If you’re packing multiple suitcases for a move abroad, for example, it’s crucial to keep track of the contents of each luggage item. In addition, when clearing your shipment through customs, you may need an inventory of all the items inside a given case.

If you plan on shipping hazmat, you’ll need to let your crating company know as soon as possible, so your shipment can be sent with the correct paperwork. Occasionally, new items such as electronic appliances may require receipts, so it’s worth keeping these available along with the size, model, make, and serial number.

Consider insurance

There is always the possibility of something happening to your package during its journey. Opt for insurance to protect your contents and avoid costly replacements if anything goes wrong.

Protect packages during their journey

Whether you’re shipping goods for personal use or sending goods to paying customers, you want to avoid the risk of damage as much as possible. Packages arriving damaged can risk your company’s reputation or cost you money if the item is valuable.

Many sentimental items are considered irreplaceable, so if you’re shipping a family heirloom or similar, the last thing you need is the possibility of breakage during transit. There are multiple ways you can protect a valuable or breakable package, and it’s worth opting for a crating company that can provide protective packaging services. 

Foil bag and vapor barrier options are perfect for protecting your valuables from water damage or moisture. You can also opt to use devices to measure humidity or monitor moisture, so you can rest assured that your item will stay water damage-free throughout its journey. 

Foam is another protective option for high-end and delicate items. The foam provides a layer of protection to items such as electronics by providing cushioning and acting as a shock absorber for any turbulence during the journey. 

There are plenty of options for insulation, including floater decks, shock mount skids, and zero tolerance internal foam lining – all of which help get your shipment from A to B with minimal risk of damage.

Add handling labels

When shipping valuable goods, they must be handled delicately throughout all steps in the shipping process. Proper use of handling instruction labels, such as the ‘fragile, handle with care’ label or the ‘this way up’ label, can ensure that your items arrive safe and sound. If in doubt about the best handling labels for your shipment, consult your packing company.

Opt for a company that can handle every element

Navigating one company for your crating needs and another company for shipping can be tricky and confusing. Companies such as South Shore Crate and Pack work with shippers, forwarders, and manufacturers to get items safely packed and shipped worldwide.  

FAQs

A crating company to help you pack and ship internationally

Knowing how to pack items for international shipment can be challenging. If you’re moving your home or business overseas, you’ll likely be too busy with other admin to worry about how to get your belongings shipped over.

If you’re a business owner sending packages to customers, you likely already have enough challenges of running a business on your plate. Here at South Shore Crate and Pack, we work hard so you don’t have to. We offer a crating service that packages your items in only the sturdiest, highest-quality, eco-friendly wooden crates, including any insulation or barriers needed for extra protection. 

We have connections within the industry that allow us to organize the safe shipment of your packages once they have been properly packaged and labeled. Plus, we offer specialist services such as hazmat shipping, ocean container loading, and warehousing to cover all your needs.

Save yourself valuable time by working with a crating company that can organize every step of your shipment’s international journey. Contact us today to find out more about our services. 

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