Going Global: A Brief Guide to Start Shipping Worldwide

Joao Vieira


Last Mile Innovation

May 6, 2024 - 5min read


Going Global: A Brief Guide to Start Shipping Worldwide

Are you ready to take your business global? Shipping worldwide can be a great way to reach new customers and grow your sales, but it can also be a complex and daunting process. This comprehensive guide will provide you with all the information you need to get started, from choosing a shipping carrier and method to calculating costs and preparing customs documentation. We'll also cover packing for shipping, navigating international regulations, and cost-effective shipping strategies, so you can ship your products worldwide with confidence.

Shipping basics: what you need to know

Shipping Basics: What You Need to Know

Expanding your horizons and venturing into the global market is an exciting step for any business. However, navigating the complexities of international shipping can be a daunting task. From selecting the right shipping carrier to ensuring your products meet customs requirements, there are several crucial aspects to consider. Let's delve into the shipping basics you need to know to successfully ship your products worldwide.

Choosing a Shipping Carrier

Selecting a reliable shipping carrier is paramount when shipping internationally. Consider factors such as cost, delivery time, and tracking capabilities. Compare quotes from different carriers and choose the one that best aligns with your business needs and budget.

Determining the Shipping Method

There are three primary shipping methods available: air, sea, and land. Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages in terms of cost, speed, and reliability. Air freight is the fastest but most expensive option, while sea freight is the slowest but most cost-effective. Land freight is suitable for neighboring countries and offers a balance between speed and affordability.

Calculating Shipping Costs

Accurately calculating shipping costs is essential for setting competitive prices and managing your business finances effectively. Shipping costs are typically determined by the weight, dimensions, and destination of your package. Some carriers also charge additional fees for special services such as insurance and express delivery.

Preparing Customs Documentation

Customs documentation is crucial for ensuring smooth clearance of your goods through international borders. Common customs documents include commercial invoices, packing lists, and certificates of origin. Make sure to fill out these documents accurately and provide all the necessary information to avoid delays or complications.

Packaging Your Products Appropriately

Proper packaging is vital to protect your products during transit and ensure they reach their destination in good condition. Use sturdy materials and adequate cushioning to safeguard your products from damage caused by handling, stacking, and environmental factors.

Packing for shipping: keeping your products safe

This section will discuss how to pack your products for shipping so that they arrive safely at their destination. We will cover choosing the right packaging material, providing adequate cushioning, sealing your package securely, and labeling your package clearly.

Choosing the right packaging material is essential to protecting your products during shipping. The type of packaging you choose will depend on the size, weight, and fragility of your products. For small, lightweight items, you can use bubble mailers or padded envelopes. For larger or heavier items, you will need to use a more sturdy box. Make sure the box is made of corrugated cardboard and is at least 200 pounds per square inch (PSI).

Once you have chosen the right packaging material, you need to provide adequate cushioning for your products. This will help to protect them from damage caused by bumps and vibrations during shipping. You can use bubble wrap, foam peanuts, or shredded paper to cushion your products. Make sure the cushioning is placed around all sides of the product and that there is at least 2 inches of cushioning between the product and the walls of the box.

After you have cushioned your products, you need to seal your package securely. This will help to prevent the products from falling out of the box during shipping. You can use packing tape or a hot glue gun to seal your package. Make sure the tape is applied securely and that there are no gaps.

Finally, you need to label your package clearly. This will help to ensure that your package is delivered to the correct address. Make sure the label includes the recipient's name, address, and phone number. You should also include the return address and a tracking number.

By following these tips, you can help to ensure that your products arrive safely at their destination.

Customs and duties: navigating international regulations

When shipping your products internationally, it is crucial to understand the customs duties and taxes that may apply. These charges vary depending on the destination country and the type of product being shipped. In addition to duties and taxes, there may also be other regulations and restrictions to consider, such as import quotas and licenses.

To ensure a smooth and compliant shipping process, it is advisable to research the specific requirements for each country you intend to ship to. This information can often be found on the customs website of the destination country or through a customs broker. It is also important to accurately classify your products using the appropriate Harmonized System (HS) codes. Incorrect classification can lead to delays and additional costs.

Working with a customs broker can be beneficial, especially if you are new to international shipping or if you are shipping to multiple countries with complex regulations. A customs broker can assist with preparing the necessary documentation, calculating duties and taxes, and handling any customs clearance issues that may arise.

To facilitate the customs clearance process, it is essential to maintain accurate records of your shipping transactions. This includes keeping copies of invoices, packing lists, and any other relevant documentation. These records should be readily available in case they are requested by customs authorities.

By understanding and complying with international customs regulations, you can ensure that your products reach their destination smoothly and efficiently, without any unexpected delays or additional costs.

Cost-effective shipping: strategies for saving money

This section will discuss cost-effective shipping strategies, including negotiating with carriers for volume discounts, using lightweight packaging materials, considering using a freight forwarder or consolidator, comparing shipping rates from different carriers, and looking for discounts or promotions.

One way to save money on shipping costs is to negotiate with carriers for volume discounts. If you are shipping a large number of packages, you may be able to negotiate a lower rate with the carrier. It is important to compare rates from multiple carriers before making a decision. You can also save money by using lightweight packaging materials. Lightweight packaging materials can help to reduce the weight of your packages, which can in turn reduce your shipping costs.

Consider using a freight forwarder or consolidator to save on shipping costs. Freight forwarders and consolidators can help you to combine multiple shipments into a single shipment, which can save you money on shipping costs. They can also help you to navigate customs regulations and documentation.

Another way to save money on shipping costs is to compare shipping rates from different carriers. The cost of shipping can vary significantly from one carrier to another. It is important to compare rates from multiple carriers before making a decision. You can also look for discounts or promotions from carriers. Many carriers offer discounts or promotions for new customers or for customers who ship a large number of packages.

Shipping insurance: protecting your packages

When shipping internationally, it is crucial to consider shipping insurance to protect your packages against potential risks and uncertainties. Shipping insurance provides financial coverage for the value of your goods in case they are lost, damaged, or stolen during transit. By obtaining shipping insurance, you can mitigate the financial impact of unexpected events and ensure peace of mind throughout the shipping process.

There are various types of shipping insurance coverage available, each offering different levels of protection. Some common coverage options include:

- All-risk coverage: This provides the most comprehensive protection and covers loss, damage, or theft of your goods from any cause, except for a few specifically excluded perils.

- Named perils coverage: This covers loss, damage, or theft of your goods from specific perils, such as fire, theft, or water damage.

- General average contribution: This covers your share of the expenses incurred if a ship carrying your goods is involved in a general average situation, such as a collision or stranding.

When choosing shipping insurance, it is essential to carefully consider the value of your goods, the shipping route, and the potential risks involved. You should also compare the terms and conditions of different insurance policies to ensure that you are getting the coverage that best suits your needs.

In the unfortunate event that your packages are lost, damaged, or stolen, it is important to promptly file a claim with your insurance provider. Be sure to provide all the necessary documentation, such as the shipping invoice, packing list, and proof of loss or damage. Cooperate fully with the insurance company during the claims process, and provide any additional information or documentation they may request.

By obtaining shipping insurance and understanding the terms and conditions of your policy, you can protect your packages and mitigate the financial risks associated with international shipping. This will give you peace of mind and allow you to conduct your global business operations with confidence.


Faisel Azeez

Faisel Azeez

Co-Founder & CTO


Joao Vieira

Joao Vieira



Joao Vieira

Joao Vieira


Automate shipping operations and elevate post-purchase customer experience

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