What every business should know

Guide to sending parcels, letters & packages around the world

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British businesses have the whole world at their feet when it comes to selling their products abroad. Countries from Ireland to India are hungry for UK goods and selling overseas can open up a whole new revenue stream for firms based in Britain. Once the business decision is made to export, it is important for owners and managers to consider exactly how this will be achieved and one of the first considerations to make is how your product will be shipped.

This guide will offer you some general tips on shipping overseas, accompanied by

an interactive map that reveals country-by-country facts to be aware of, such as legislation, customs rules and regulations.

Countries explored in the interactive guide include:

The information provided is intended as a guide and is subject to change. If you are unsure about a particular shipment to another country please speak to World Options customer support for advice.

Parcel to

Australia

In addition to the general advice for shipping around the world, businesses should be aware of the following facts when it comes to shipping to Australia:

Prohibited and restricted items

Australia has strict rules around what can and cannot enter the country, both from a business perspective and for individuals travelling to the country. There is a long list of prohibited and restricted items, provided by the Home Affairs department of the Australian government. Prohibited goods include but are not limited to:

  • Antibiotics and other drugs/medicines
  • Cigarette lighters
  • Imitation firearms
  • Knives and daggers
  • Leather items
  • Live trees, plants and bulbs
  • Pencils or paintbrushes - toxic materials
  • Pesticides
  • Soap
  • Tobacco

Items that are classed as restricted may still be sent, but there will be stricter conditions around these and you should check with your shipping supplier or logistics provider about how best to transport these.

There are very strict sanitary and phytosanitary restrictions around products that could contaminate Australia’s environmental or agricultural industry. Import risk analysis (IRA) must be undertaken on the following goods to minimise their risk:

  • Animals, their genetic material and animal products
  • Biological control agents for control of pests
  • Plants (including for potential weed assessment)

Customs

Every item being shipped to Australia must be accompanied by a customs invoice, regardless of the contents. The strict regulations around customs in Australia mean that shipments without an invoice risk being delayed, held or returned to the sender. This not only means lost time, but could also require you to pay a fee for your goods to be returned.

The customs invoice should be attached to the outside of your parcel so that the contents do not need to be disturbed. The vast majority of goods being sent by businesses will be liable for duties and taxes, so this should be factored in when you are deciding on whether exporting to Australia will be profitable for your business. Under certain circumstances, you might be entitled to a customs refund, but the exact conditions of this depend on what you are sending, its purpose and its value. Further information can be found on the Australian Border Force website.

Certain shipping suppliers and couriers will handle the customs invoice on your behalf, so it is important to check this once you decide on the service you are using. When the Australian authorities receive your goods and invoice they will use the documentation to decide what taxes and duties - if any - apply.

Parcel to

Belgium

In addition to the general advice for shipping around the world, businesses should be aware of the following facts when it comes to shipping to Belgium:

Exporting from the UK to Belgium

Belgium is a short distance from the UK and can be accessed by rail, air and sea, so there has been a close trading relationship between the two nations for many years. Belgium’s appealing economy has attracted global businesses, many of which have headquarters in Germany.

English is very widely spoken in Belgium and the country is in a strategic location for accessing the rest of Europe, making it appealing for UK businesses to export there.

The top UK exports to Belgium are:

  • Automotive equipment
  • Chemical products
  • Diamonds
  • Medical products

Prohibited and restricted items

As Belgium is a member of the EU, all fellow member states benefit from access to the single market and free movement of goods. Nevertheless, there are certain restrictions in place on what can be imported into Belgium.

Prohibited goods include:

  • Fish weighing over 20kg
  • Meat and milk originating from non-EU countries
  • Products of protected species protected under the Washington Convention, like ivory, tortoise shell and reptile skin

For a full list of restricted and prohibited goods, check with your chosen courier or shipping supplier.

Customs and duty

Import duties do not apply to EU member states shipping into Belgium, thanks to the single market which allows free movement of goods.

There are also no documentation requirements for fellow members of the EU.

VAT applies and the standard rate is 21%, although there are lower rates on certain items. A 12% rate applies to social housing and agricultural products, while a 6% rate applies to goods including basic foodstuffs, water, hotel services and property restoration.

Brexit

At the time of this guide being written, the UK is still part of the EU and the Brexit agreement is still being negotiated. Businesses looking to ship to Belgium from the UK must keep abreast of all Brexit news to get the most up-to-date information about what shipping rules are applicable to them. The UK is set to leave the EU on 29th March 2019, after which date there will be a transition period.

Parcel to

France

In addition to the general advice for shipping around the world, businesses should be aware of the following facts when it comes to shipping to France:

A close relationship

French and British businesses have traded with one another for centuries, with the two countries benefiting from their close proximity and mutual appreciation of one another’s cultures. The easy access to France via road, rail, air and sea means that many British businesses chose the country for their first foray into exporting.

The market and economy in France is quite similar to the UK; however, there are a number of considerations to make in order to successfully ship across the Channel. While rules for EU countries tend to be more lenient than those for the rest of the world, it is also worth checking the regulations enforced by individual carriers, as these will vary according to provider.

Prohibited and restricted items

EU regulations apply in terms of prohibited and restricted items being shipped to France. France is part of the EU single market that allows free movement of goods and services without customs checks.

While the UK is still negotiating the terms of its exit from the EU, it would be wise for businesses to consult their shipping provider and carrier to check what specific regulations apply at that point in time.

Customs and duty

French customs - Les Douanes - is the equivalent of HMRC in the UK. In 2016, the body outlined its plans to implement 40 concrete measures during the next three years to develop its logistics activities. Many of these measures focus on simplifying French customs, which could encourage more British businesses to export to France.

Further information about the 40 measures, and about the French customs process more generally, can be found on the Les Douanes website.

Duty does not apply to countries within the EU, aside from excise duty that must be paid on any alcohol, alcoholic drinks, energy products, electricity or tobacco products you send to France.

Brexit

At the time of this guide being written, the UK is still part of the EU and the Brexit agreement is still being negotiated. Businesses looking to ship to France from the UK must keep abreast of all Brexit news to get the most up-to-date information about what shipping rules are applicable to them. The UK is set to leave the EU on 29th March 2019, after which date there will be a transition period.

Parcel to

Germany

In addition to the general advice for shipping around the world, businesses should be aware of the following facts when it comes to shipping to Germany:

Benefits of shipping to Germany

Germany is often seen as an appealing destination for British businesses looking to export their goods overseas. It is close to the UK and there are a number of ways to access the country, via rail, road, air and sea.

Germany has an excellent transport infrastructure, and its renowned autobahn motorways make land transportation an appealing prospect for overseas businesses looking to sell in different German cities.

Its strong economy is another benefit, as there is a ready and willing customer base that has the funds to spend on your goods, provided that you can show they are relevant and appealing to your target market. With proper planning, logistics and shipping in place, exporting to Germany can bring a real boost to British businesses.

Prohibited and restricted items

The following items cannot be shipped to Germany:

  • Alcohol
  • Cash letters
  • Electronic cigarettes
  • Hazardous materials
  • Knives
  • Lithium metal batteries
  • Plants
  • Plastic kitchenware
  • Smokeless tobacco
  • Tea
  • Tobacco products

Customs and duty

As Germany is part of the EU single market, UK businesses historically have not had to pay duty (apart from excise), and free movement of goods and services without the need for customs checks has been applicable.

When the UK leaves the EU as part of Brexit, this could be subject to change, so businesses would be wise to closely monitor the progress of Brexit negotiations and adapt their export plans accordingly.

Excise or controlled goods require additional documentation; more information about this is available on the government website.

Brexit

At the time of this guide being written, the UK is still part of the EU and the Brexit agreement is still being negotiated. Businesses looking to ship to Germany from the UK must keep abreast of all Brexit news to get the most up-to-date information about what shipping rules are applicable to them. The UK is set to leave the EU on 29th March 2019, after which date there will be a transition period.

Parcel to

Ireland

In addition to the general advice for shipping around the world, businesses should be aware of the following facts when it comes to shipping to Ireland:

Benefits of shipping to Ireland

The obvious first benefit to mention when you are considering exporting to Ireland is that there is no language barrier to take into account, which removes some of the obstacles that many businesses face when shipping overseas. This is just one of the reasons why, according to official government data, Ireland is the UK’s fifth largest export market and imports more from the UK than any other country.

Food and drink are the main success stories and Ireland is the UK’s largest export market in these sectors, followed by clothing, fashion and footwear. This means businesses operating in those industries have huge potential to begin shipping their products to Ireland. But firms outside the sectors equally have scope to sell their items to Irish consumers, provided there is demand and a gap in the market.

The easy transport access to Ireland is another benefit to exporting here, with air and sea shipping solutions readily available to get your goods to their destination within a short length of time. This is perhaps one of the reasons why the government reports that two-way trade between the UK and Ireland stands at more than €1 billion per week.

Prohibited and restricted items

The following items cannot be exported to Ireland. Further information can be found on the Office of Revenue Commissioners website:

  • Ammunition
  • Birds, poultry or eggs
  • Endangered species
  • Explosives and fireworks
  • Firearms
  • Hay or straw (even if used as packing)
  • Indecent or obscene material (books, periodicals, prints and video recordings)
  • Live animals or dead animals (including cats and dogs)
  • Meat and meat products, milk and milk products, and certain foodstuffs (with specific exceptions)
  • Offensive weapons
  • Oral smokeless tobacco products (for example, Snus)
  • Plants or bulbs

Customs and duty

Ireland is part of the EU single market, which means that other EU member states do not need to pay duty on their goods, apart from excise duty. There is also free movement of goods and services for all EU member nations, meaning there is currently no need for customs checks on UK products entering Ireland.

Brexit

At the time of this guide being written, the UK is still part of the EU and the Brexit agreement is still being negotiated. Businesses looking to ship to Ireland from the UK must keep abreast of all Brexit news to get the most up-to-date information about what shipping rules are applicable to them. The UK is set to leave the EU on 29th March 2019, after which date there will be a transition period.

Parcel to

Italy

In addition to the general advice for shipping around the world, businesses should be aware of the following facts when it comes to shipping to Italy:

Doing business in Italy

Italy’s membership of the European Union means there are no tariffs for fellow members, making it an appealing destination in which to do business. It is easily accessible from the UK via rail, road or air, and has excellent links to the rest of Europe, as well as the Middle East.

The UK government warns that payment terms in Italy are longer than in the UK, taking an average of 80 days for business-to-business payments in 2014. There are also certain sectors where terms are even longer, stretching to almost five months for public administration bodies, although this has been improved recently.

Despite its complicated bureaucracy, Italy remains a strong option if you are looking to sell your goods abroad.

Prohibited and restricted items

Italy is a member of the EU and European restrictions apply for goods being imported from other member states, while stricter controls are in place for those outside the EU.

Specific items prohibited from being imported depend on your origin and the carrier you choose, but will include:

  • Antiques (breakable and/or fragile)
  • Asbestos
  • Furs
  • Hazardous or combustible materials (as defined in IATA Regulations)
  • Ivory

Tax and customs

There is a Double Taxation Convention between the UK and Italy that was established on 31st December 1990 and took effect in 1991. This ensures that residents and corporations of either country do not pay twice the amount of tax that they owe. For further information about tax in Italy, visit the website of the Italian Revenue Agency - the Agenzia delle Entrate.

VAT in Italy is known as IVA and stands at 22%, although there is a lower 4% rate applied to the following goods:

  • basic food products
  • some social services
  • dailies, periodicals and books
  • some seeds and fertilisers

Customs and import duties do not apply to fellow members of the EU, thanks to the internal market and free movement of goods.

Brexit

At the time of this guide being written, the UK is still part of the EU and the Brexit agreement is still being negotiated. Businesses looking to ship to Italy from the UK must keep abreast of all Brexit news to get the most up-to-date information about what shipping rules are applicable to them. The UK is set to leave the EU on 29th March 2019, after which date there will be a transition period.

Parcel to

Netherlands

In addition to the general advice for shipping around the world, businesses should be aware of the following facts when it comes to shipping to Netherlands:

Benefits of shipping to the Netherlands

The Netherlands is geographically close to the UK and shares a similar culture, which makes it appealing for businesses looking to expand overseas. Its EU membership also means that exporting your goods to the Netherlands is relatively straightforward, as the same rules apply as to other EU nations.

According to the UK government, the Netherlands is the UK’s fourth-largest bilateral trading partner and is one of the most open economies in the world. It is also an early adopter of new technology and can be used to test the waters for new products. If you are able to get your logistics in place and come up with a solid plan for exporting your goods, there is no reason why the Netherlands cannot become a fruitful market for your business in the future.

VAT in the Netherlands

VAT is known as BTW in the Netherlands, which stands for “Belasting over de Toegevoegde Waarde”. The standard rate of VAT is 21%, but there are reduced rates on certain goods, so check the specific brackets for your goods when planning what you are going to export to the Netherlands.

A 6% rate of VAT applies to:

  • Agricultural products
  • Art
  • Food
  • Medical aid
  • Water

You can find out more about VAT and tax issues on the Dutch tax office’s website.

Customs and duty

As an EU member, the Netherlands operates the same customs and duty regulations as other European states. Its fellow members of the EU single market do not need to pay duty on their goods, with the exception of excise duty.

The Netherlands uses the Customs Manifest (DMF) system, which receives and exchanges electronic information about transport modalities and goods entering the EU. Further information about customs can be found on the Dutch customs website.

Brexit

At the time of this guide being written, the UK is still part of the EU and the Brexit agreement is still being negotiated. Businesses looking to ship to the Netherlands from the UK must keep abreast of all Brexit news to get the most up-to-date information about what shipping rules are applicable to them. The UK is set to leave the EU on 29th March 2019, after which date there will be a transition period.

Parcel to

Spain

In addition to the general advice for shipping around the world, businesses should be aware of the following facts when it comes to shipping to Spain:

Shipping to Spain: The facts

Spain has a close relationship with the UK and the two countries share a mutual appreciation of one another's culture, customs and consumer behaviour. British businesses keen to ship overseas have a good chance of success in Spain, thanks to this strong bond and the geographical proximity of the country.

Another appealing fact about doing business in Spain is that it can open up access to the Latin American market. The ties between Spain and Latin America can act as an entry point for British firms to create even more opportunities for growth in the future.

The benefits of shipping to Spain outweigh the disadvantages, but you should be aware of slight differences in the market compared with the UK. Many organisations have long payment terms, often between 90 and 120 days long, which must be taken into account when planning your business operations. The British government also explains that the high degree of devolution of powers to Spain’s 17 autonomous regions can be a barrier for exporting.

Prohibited and restricted items

Spain is part of the EU and therefore restrictions apply to all fellow member states shipping goods into the country, with tighter rules for nations outside of the EU.

For a full list of prohibited and restricted items being shipped to Spain you should contact your carrier, as every provider has their own rules. Typical items that many carriers restrict when shipping to Spain include:

  • Animals
  • Antiques
  • Certain types of nut
  • Furs
  • Mercury thermometers
  • Rough diamonds

Tax and customs

The UK and Spain have agreed to a Double Tax Convention, which means that residents in either country only pay tax once. This came into force on 12th June 2014 for withholding taxes on income and had a staged rollout in the UK and Spain for other taxes.

VAT in Spain is known as IVA and its standard rate is 21%, with lower rates of 10% and 4% on products such as food, drinks, medical aid and certain educational materials.

As a member of the EU, Spain operates on a single market basis, allowing for the free movement of goods and services without import duty.

Brexit

At the time of this guide being written, the UK is still part of the EU and the Brexit agreement is still being negotiated. Businesses looking to ship to Spain from the UK must keep abreast of all Brexit news to get the most up-to-date information about what shipping rules are applicable to them. The UK is set to leave the EU on 29th March 2019, after which date there will be a transition period.

Parcel to

United States

In addition to the general advice for shipping around the world, businesses should be aware of the following facts when it comes to shipping to United States:

Prohibited and restricted items

There are a number of items that are prohibited from entering the United States. US Customs and Border Protection has a full list of guidance and restricted items on its website and businesses should consult this page to check the specific rules around the item they are looking to ship. Prohibited items include the following:

  • Aerosols
  • Animals
  • Cash
  • Dairy
  • Fresh food
  • Furs
  • Ivory
  • Nail Varnish
  • Perfume
  • Plants
  • Seeds
  • Tobacco

Food shipments

If your business is food-based and you are looking to ship from the UK to the US, be aware that there are stringent rules outlined by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The body states that “candies, condiments, spices, coffee and teas that are commercially packaged are generally ok” but bulk teas and spices are subject to inspection and may be destroyed if they are found to contain things such as insects.

Regardless of the contents, if you are a business shipping food to the US you must file a Prior Notice to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Further information about how to do so is listed on the FDA website. If you do not do this, your shipment could be delayed, held or destroyed by the authorities.

Declare exports to HMRC

HMRC requires any business shipping outside the EU to make a declaration using the National Export System. You must classify the goods you are sending to the US as part of the declaration and include a commodity code and Customs Procedure Code. Further information about how to comply with these regulations are listed on the UK government website.

Documentation checklist

The UK government states that the following documents will be required when you import your goods into the United States, so it is wise to use this as a checklist when preparing your shipment.

  • Air waybill
  • Bill of lading
  • Binding ruling
  • Cargo release/simplified entry
  • Customs bond
  • Customs import declaration
  • Entry/immediate delivery
  • Importer security filing and additional carrier requirements
  • Manifest for aircraft
  • Manifest for vessels

Parcel to

China

In addition to the general advice for shipping around the world, businesses should be aware of the following facts when it comes to shipping to China:

Prohibited and restricted items

Certain products are completely restricted from entering China and you should check the full list to ensure the items you intend to ship are not prohibited. Detailed information can be found on the Chinese customs website and we have extracted some key points below.

Catalogue of goods prohibited from import

There are five ‘batches’ of products that are included within China’s catalogue of goods prohibited from import. The contents vary from niche items such as rhinoceros horns to everyday goods including microwaves, air conditioners and wired phones. The full list can be found on the customs website.

Chinese ideology

Any documents or media deemed to undermine Chinese ideology is banned from entering the country. This can be anything that the Chinese government believes to be illegal on these grounds - from books that undermine ideology to videos deemed offensive - and such items will be destroyed, so you should ensure that any products you are considering shipping do not risk falling into this category.

Commonly banned items

The below list is subject to change, but the following items are typically banned from import to China:

  • Aerosols
  • Animals
  • Dairy
  • Fresh food
  • Fur
  • Ivory
  • Money
  • Perfumes
  • Seeds
  • Tobacco
  • Plants

Contentious items

It is possible to import the following goods to China but there are strict rules around exactly how these are shipped and they require specific checks, licenses and permissions. You should speak to your courier if any of your products fall under the below categories:

  • Bamboo
  • Cane
  • Electronics
  • Food items
  • Rattan
  • Wood

Importing food

Food is one of the items that is strictly regulated when it comes to imports, as mentioned above. Every shipment of food into China must be registered with the Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) department, which checks food shipments upon entry. Following the rules outlined below should minimise the amount of time these checks take:

  • All ingredients must be listed on the food label
  • The item must have a shelf life exceeding six months
  • Food must not have been tampered with in any way
  • Food must be contained in its original packaging

Customs clearance

The Chinese customs process is strict and goods can take time to clear, so you should factor this in to your shipping plans and when communicating expected delivery dates with the end user. A commercial invoice is required for every parcel and this must include a detailed description of the contents, where it was manufactured and the value.

The fee for customs clearance is typically 20-30% of the value of the goods and all items must have a designated tariff code. To find out the tariff code of your particular item visit the UK government website.

Parcel to

India

In addition to the general advice for shipping around the world, businesses should be aware of the following facts when it comes to shipping to India:

Prohibited and restricted items

There are specific restrictions around goods imported to India, so it is always wise to check with the customs board to get a full list of the rules that apply to your products. There are certain items that are completely banned from entering the country, namely:

  • Ivory
  • Maps and literature where Indian external boundaries have been shown incorrectly
  • Pornographic and obscene materials

Top imports

When planning whether or not to ship to India, it is wise to consider the nature of products that already sell successfully in the country. This will help you to decide whether your goods stand a good chance commercially, as well as enabling you to spot gaps in the market for something new. According to World’s Top Imports, the top 10 most imported items in India are:

  1. Mineral fuels including oil
  2. Gems and precious metals
  3. Electrical machinery and equipment
  4. Machinery including computers
  5. Organic chemicals
  6. Plastics and plastic articles
  7. Animal/vegetable fats, oils and waxes
  8. Iron and steel
  9. Optical, technical and medical apparatus
  10. Ores, slag and ash

Special licences

Many goods can be shipped to India without the need for an export licence, but there are certain products that require special permission. For example, businesses looking to import used clothing to India will require a Special Import License granted by the Director General of Foreign Trade in India. The body also holds a complete list of goods that require special permissions, so it is wise to consult this in the early stages of planning your shipping needs.

Challenges and risks

The UK government offers useful advice for those looking to do business in India and outlines some of the main challenges involved. Considerations include:

  • multiple religious, ethnic and annual variations in holiday timings, requiring careful planning for business trips
  • barriers to trade and investment in some sectors because of regulatory constraints, local sourcing requirements and import tariffs
  • intellectual property protection (IP)
  • risk of delays due to administrative requirements
  • difficulty of land acquisition
  • access to the right skills in the local workforce
  • infrastructure challenges, including for distribution and logistics
  • extremely hot weather in summer and wet weather in the monsoon season can affect business
  • risk of bribery and corruption

Customs clearance

Customs paperwork is required to allow your parcel to enter India and this is a key part of your shipment that should never be overlooked. Depending on who you choose to ship with, providers can handle this on your behalf. All paperwork must list the items that are included in the shipment and state their value. This part is important, as it allows the authority to work out how much duty is owed on your shipment.

Parcel to

Singapore

In addition to the general advice for shipping around the world, businesses should be aware of the following facts when it comes to shipping to Singapore:

Prohibited and controlled items

Singapore has strict rules around what is restricted from entering the country, as well as tight controls over goods that it will allow under certain circumstances. For a full list of these items, contact the Singapore Customs body.

Items that are prohibited from entry cannot be brought into Singapore under any circumstances and it is an offence to attempt this. They include:

  • Chewing gum
  • Cigarette lighters that are pistol or revolver shaped
  • Controlled drugs listed under 4th Schedule of Misuse of Drugs Regulation
  • Endangered species of wildlife
  • Firecrackers
  • Rhinoceros horn
  • Telecommunication equipment (see Customs body for full details)
  • Tobacco products (see Customs body for full details)

Controlled goods require an import permit or authorisation form from the relevant competent authority to be brought into Singapore. The list of items includes, but is not limited to, the following goods:

  • Animals, birds and products thereof
  • Batteries
  • Cartridges
  • Chemicals
  • Rough diamonds
  • Fresh or chilled fruits and vegetables
  • Meats and meat products
  • Rice
  • Timber and wood

Customs

The Customs Act applies to all goods imported from the UK to Singapore. Imported goods are subject to the goods and services tax (which stands at 7%), as well as duty payment, and businesses must obtain a customs permit for this.

There are numerous types of customs permit and a full list is provided by the Singapore Customs authority. Common errors made by businesses importing goods to Singapore include:

  • Incorrect declarations on the value of goods being imported
  • Failure to produce trade documents
  • Failure to declare the goods being imported
  • Lack of licence or customs permit for customs clearance

UK exports to Singapore

The city-state of Singapore is small in size but very wealthy, providing many opportunities to do business. It is the location where the main east and west shipping lanes meet, opening up both networks and providing an appealing base for many global businesses.

According to the UK government, more than 1,000 British companies have a presence in Singapore, benefitting from factors such as the common language and strong shared history, the free flow of goods, similar business practices and its proximity to the major Asia Pacific economies.

The top 10 exports from UK to Singapore are:

  • Business services
  • Chemicals
  • Financial and insurance services
  • Food and beverages
  • Intellectual property
  • Machinery and transport equipment
  • Manufactured goods
  • Miscellaneous manufactured articles
  • Transport services
  • Travel services

general advice for

shipping around the world

When shipping overseas it is important to look into the specific rules regarding the item(s) you are sending and the rules according to the precise country you are exporting to, but the below advice should be considered as a starting point.

Consult the carrier

Every shipping carrier has its own rules around what can and cannot be shipped to each country of the world. As these rules vary between each provider, and are frequently updated, it is important to check with the particular carrier you are using at that point in time to ensure you do not break any rules. Failure to comply with the guidance given could result in delays to your shipment, fines or the shipment being destroyed, so it is a costly error that you must aim to avoid. The World Options platform gives you access to multiple carriers who will ship all around the globe and every single one has its own unique set of rules which your account manager can explain in full.

Pick the right packaging

Regardless of where you are shipping to, you want your item(s) to arrive in perfect condition, just as the recipient expects. The nature of the packaging will depend on the contents, but it may also need to be adapted according to which country you are shipping to. Again, check the rules set out by the carrier you are using for that particular destination to ensure your choice of packaging is compliant. Some considerations to bear in mind when choosing your packaging include:

  • Check the weight, size, value, fragility and shape of the goods; these elements will dictate the type of packaging the parcel requires
  • What is the final use of the shipment? If you are shipping direct to customers your inner packaging must be in excellent condition for this; if the item is going to a retailer it has to be retail-ready and free from markings
  • The six centimetre rule: ensure that there is a minimum of 6 cm distance from the walls of the box to the contents of the box
  • Avoid empty space within the box and fill this with appropriate internal packaging, such as bubble wrap, foam, crumpled paper, corrugated cardboard or air bags

For more comprehensive guidance on your packaging, consult our free shipping guide which is available to download via this link.

Documentation

A common cause of delays with international shipments occurs at customs as a result of the wrong - or no - documentation being attached to the products. The nature of this paperwork varies according to the destination, carrier and contents, so it is crucial to check the individual rules around this that apply to every shipment you send. Typically, you will be required to provide paperwork that demonstrates you have dealt with taxes, customs fees and tariffs.

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