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The Ultimate Guide to Shipping Freight Overseas

Arranging overseas delivery is a complex process that involves precise planning, coordination, and a strong understanding of international logistics and regulations. Whether you're a business exploring international markets or an individual relocating, delving into the world of international shipping requires careful attention to various aspects. This guide aims to provide you with a comprehensive overview of the key aspects involved in overseas deliveries.

Choosing a Reliable Shipping Partner:

Selecting a reliable and experienced freight shipping company is fundamental to the success of an overseas shipment. It's crucial to thoroughly research and compare different freight forwarders shipping lines and carriers. Consider factors such as routes, transit times, shipping rates, and their track record in handling international shipments. Clear communication and transparency are key indicators of a trustworthy shipping partner.

Selecting a reliable and experienced international shipping company is fundamental to the success of an overseas shipment. Look into and compare various shipping companies and partners. Even if you're new to overseas shipping, teaming up a with reliable partner can provide you with the necessary information to make well-informed choices.

Services Available for Shipping Overseas

Understanding the different modes of transportation when shipping outside the continent is crucial. You have two primary options: sea freight and air freight. Your choice should be influenced by factors such as the nature of the goods, the urgency of your overseas delivery, your budget, and the weight and dimensions of your freight.

Cost is a primary concern for customers when arranging overseas deliveries– this is also the main difference between international freight shipping services.

Sea Freight:

If your shipment doesn't demand swift delivery, sea freight often proves to be the most cost-effective choice. It's essential to note that sea freight only handles pallets rather than parcels, with weight restrictions of up to 15000kg and dimensions limited to 400cm Length x 230cm Width x 230cm Height. A wide range of goods, including personal belongings, tools, furniture, car parts, and non-perishable food items, can be shipped via ocean freight.


Air Freight:

Air freight shipping boasts a significant advantage in terms of speed, airplanes can traverse vast distances in a matter of hours, making it the ideal choice for time-sensitive cargo. Air freight can accommodate both pallets and parcels, with a maximum pallet height of 160cm and can deliver to different countries that are not reachable by ocean freight.

Documentation and Regulations

When shipping overseas, recognising the importance of exporting documents is crucial. Regardless of the service booked, one of the most important documents is the Commercial Invoice, and for personal effect shipments, a Proforma Invoice. These documents should include details such as the EORI numbers, Commodity Codes, Incoterms, and value of the goods.

Another important document, specifically for sea freight shipments, is the Bill of Lading. It serves as both a receipt for the goods and a contract of carriage between the shipper and the carrier. The Bill of Lading contains essential information such as the description of the goods, the consignee's details, the origin, and the destination of the shipment. This document is issued by the transporter after the goods have left the Port of Loading and is sent to both the sender and receiver of the goods.

If you are shipping personal effects, you will need a proforma invoice (which can be generated at the time of the booking) and a packing list. Three copies of the invoice must be attached to the pallet. Keep in mind that specific documentation may be required depending on the destination country and the nature of the goods.

It's important to understand the role of customs in international shipping and adhere to import and export regulations. Failing to comply with these requirements can lead to delays, fines, and other complications.

Packaging, Labelling and Insurance

Proper packaging and labelling ensure that your freight arrives intact and on time. Customers need to be aware of the packaging requirements for different modes of transportation, the nature of their goods and the destination country's requirements. For instance, when shipping to countries like the United States, Canada or Australia, you must use a fumigated/heat-treated pallet base.

If you are sending pallets overseas, regardless of the shipping option you choose (ocean freight or air freight), the safest way to transport your goods is to crate them. Crating is a common practice when shipping valuable, fragile, or bulky items that require extra protection beyond what standard packaging can provide. It offers a high level of protection for items during transportation, withstanding rough handling, stacking, and potential impact during shipping, reducing the risk of damage.

When shipping a parcel overseas, start by using a sturdy corrugated cardboard box. Individually wrap items within the box with protective cushioning to absorb any impact during transit. Pack the item with foam, polystyrene, newspaper, bubble wrap, or other similar protective packaging, ensuring the items are secure and cannot move around within the box. Seal the package with parcel tap, which should be at least three inches wide for added durability.  This tape is more robust than masking tape, sticky tape, or string.

After completing the packing process, it's crucial to label your consignment accurately and in compliance with the destination country's regulations. Improperly packaged or labelled goods can lead to damage, loss, or customs clearance issues.

The shipping providers primary goal is to deliver all shipments safely to their respective destinations. That's why ensuring you choose a freight forwarder that partner with some of the most reputable carriers in the UK and around the world is essential. However, the safety of a shipment doesn't depend solely on the carrier but also on the nature of the goods and the packing process. Their aim is not only to provide fast and cost-effective quotes but also to ensure customers have complete peace of mind when entrusting their freight to them. Furthermore, we strongly encourage you to consider adding insurance when placing your order.

In the world of international trade, shipping insurance is not just an option; it's a necessity. The benefits of insurance when shipping overseas are numerous, ranging from financial security and risk mitigation to regulatory compliance and competitive advantage. Whether you are a seasoned exporter or new to the global market, investing in shipping insurance is a prudent decision that can protect your business and ensure the safe delivery of your goods to destinations around the world.

Please keep in mind that there are also which cannot be insured; furthermore, please check the Prohibited & Restricted Items list before selecting the insurance level.

Tracking, Destination and Delivery

For both sea freight and air freight services, customers will receive tracking details, which become active after collection. This provides them with access to the shipment's progress and important updates, offering peace of mind. In case of unexpected delays or issues, customers can take immediate action to resolve them. For businesses, tracking plays a vital role in supply chain management, facilitating better planning, issue identification, and ultimately enhancing shipping process efficiency.

When using an air freight service, once the goods arrive in the destination country, or sometimes even before that, they undergo import customs clearance. The customs agent then contacts the receiver for further details and provides an invoice with the payable amount. After the customs clearance process is completed, the carrier arranges delivery to the door. Customers should be aware when booking the air freight service, that it includes customs clearance and door-to-door delivery.

If your freight has been shipped via a sea freight service, there are two different scenarios to consider. If you select a door-to-port service, you must pay local port and handling charges upon the goods' arrival at the destination port before they are released to the consignee. However, if a door-to-door service was booked, port handling charges are not applicable. In this case, once the goods are offloaded, the carrier will arrange delivery to the provided customer address. Similar to air freight, the customs clearance process typically commences before the freight arrives at the destination country.

Shipping freight overseas demands a thorough understanding of international logistics, regulations, and best practices. By following these guidelines, you can streamline the process, minimize risks, and ensure the successful shipment of your goods to destinations across the globe. Remember that each international shipment is unique, so adapt these insights to your specific needs for a seamless experience in the world of overseas freight shipping.

If you have any questions regarding our services, tracking your parcel or advice, we're here


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