How to Ship an Ocean Container to Mexico


A container bound for Mexico by sea needs to travel by the least expensive, most efficient means. Import duties imposed on the shipment must be paid before the contents of the container are released, and the container will incur port storage charges while waiting for customs clearance. Improperly completed documentation will make the problem worse. You use a travel agent to arrange a headache-free vacation--make the headaches associated with a container shipment to Mexico disappear by using a freight forwarder as the "travel agent" for your freight.

Things You'll Need

  • Padlocks
  • Container seals

Inventory the contents of the container. Close the container when the inventory is complete. Apply locks and seals to the doors. Record the length, height and width of the container, found on the right rear door of the container, as well as the seal numbers embossed on the metal seals.

Find a reputable freight forwarder by searching the membership database of the National Customs Brokers & Forwarders Association of America, the industry association for freight forwarders and customs brokers that sets standards for performance and service. The database is available online (see Resources). Query the database by entering the name of the city and state where the container is located.

Select a freight forwarder. Provide the freight forwarder with information on the shipment and the container. The freight forwarder will select the ocean freight carrier based on the lowest import duties for the container and provide you with routing information and a shipping rate. The forwarder will also prepare all documentation, including customs documentation, and cargo insurance forms before booking cargo space. Since the forwarder is making all transportation arrangements, the container will be en route to Mexico as soon as it is picked up.

Tips & Warnings

  • The contract with the freight forwarder includes a limited power of attorney, allowing the forwarder to make decisions regarding the freight.
  • Although the contract with the freight forwarder allows the forwarder to act in your behalf regarding the freight, the shipper remains responsible for the contents of the container.

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