International shipping is a vital process for the global economy and supply chain, but the world is a big place. This makes international shipping a large and highly complex business. Here are four things you should do when shipping internationally.
1. Work With a Company Specializing in International Shipping
If your company makes products that need to be sold internationally, develop a positive business relationship with an international shipping company. These companies can assist you with customs questions, shipping perishable or time-sensitive products and goods and logistics. Check whether you have any goods or products that require specialized experience and request price quotes from multiple companies before making any decisions about which company to work with.
2. Follow All Industry Shipping Regulations And Best Practices
Because of how complicated international shipping can be, it’s important to follow all of your industry’s and country’s shipping regulations and best practices to the letter. If you don’t you risk your shipment being stopped or delayed at customs. General best practices include following insurance and documentation requirements, labeling each shipment and product appropriately, being aware of international commercial terms, or INCOTERMS, and packing your merchandise safely and correctly.
3. Utilize Digital Technology Whenever Possible
Digital technology, particularly information and communications technology, or ICT, has made a huge impact on the international shipping industry. With digital technology, producers and shipping companies can communicate and coordinate more easily and more quickly. They can also manage their schedules and inventories more efficiently, streamline workflows and automate various processes. You can implement software solutions such as inventory management platforms and coordinate with your shipping company to determine the best software options for your needs.
4. Pay Attention to Customs Restrictions
Certain circumstances at home or internationally can cause unexpected changes to customs restrictions for imports or exports. Not only do you need to be aware of the typical customs regulations for your industry, but you also need to pay attention to current customs restrictions as situations and recommendations change. Doing so will allow you to adjust your shipping schedule and plans. This way, your customers will know when to expect their merchandise or understand why shipments may be delayed, rerouted or require more stringent inspections.
If you ship internationally, you need to stay up-to-date with customs regulations for the countries you ship to, as well as those of your own country. You also need to understand and successfully utilize digital technology, follow industry regulations and coordinate with your business partners.