Thursday, June 19, 2008

International Shipping Tips for UPS, FedEx and USPS (Part 1)

When shipping internationally, there are 2 sets of information needed so your packages are delivered properly. One is for the carrier; the other is for customs.
Let's start with the most important items for the carriers. First, and it may sound obvious, but you need to know what the carrier calls the country you are shipping to. For example, let's use Ireland. If you are shipping via UPS, the country can be Republic of Ireland or just Ireland. For FedEx, you can only use Republic of Ireland. For USPS using Endicia, you can only use Ireland. Use the wrong one and you will not even get a shipping label. CPS has a pull-down country listing, but you still need to know which country listing your carrier needs.
Next is international paperwork. This includes Commercial Invoices, Certificates of Origin, USPS Customs Forms and SED filings. The carrier needs to know how the international paperwork is being handled or your package can be delayed clearing customs. Each customs form has a specific layout. Shipping software like our CPS can collect and print the needed forms in the right format.
Later on I'll include some more detailed information about some of the items in the customs forms, such as the Schedule B and Harmonized Tariff codes and other items.
International shipping is definitely not for the uninformed. There will be several more posts on this subject to follow over the next few weeks. Subscribe to our feed to receive them automatically or visit us again next week.

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