How to Ship Packages Overseas Using a Boat

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Shipping packages on a boat rather than a plane can be much more cost effective.
Shipping packages on a boat rather than a plane can be much more cost effective. (Image: Stephen Schauer/Lifesize/Getty Images)

When shipping packages overseas, the exporter must ensure that the merchandise is packed properly and labeled correctly. This way the packages will be handled properly and arrive at the right place on time. The packages must be documented correctly as per foreign government requirements. Ideally, the packages will be insured against damage, loss and pilferage as well as delay. Exporters tend to rely on international freight forwarders in order to perform all these services, as there are a multitude of considerations that are involved in physically shipping packages on a boat.

Check out a freight forwarder who will prepare price quotations and ensure that all documents are in order. Consult the freight forwarder regarding international shipment. Obtain as much information as you can regarding the cost of the shipment and the delivery schedule, as well as the accessibility to the shipped product by the foreign buyer. For shipping large amounts and very heavy items, the most economical method is to purchase an entire 20- or 40-foot-long container.

Pack the goods in order to protect them from moisture, pilferage and breakage. Pack the merchandise in strong containers and make sure the weight is evenly distributed. Packages should be made of moisture-resistant material. Use straps, seals and shrink wrap. Observe all product-specific requirements for properly packing hazardous materials.

Do specific labeling to meet shipping regulations and help receivers identify shipments. This will also ensure compliance with environmental and safety standards. The labeling must include shipper's mark, country of origin, weight marking, number and size of packages, handling marks, cautionary markings, port of entry, labels for hazardous materials and ingredients.

Keep copies of all documentation for your personal records, but give the responsibility of processing and handling all documentation to the freight forwarder.

Tips & Warnings

  • Before shipping, consult with your freight forwarder about customs restrictions at the destination, as these tend to vary in every country. Check with the foreign buyers or receivers about the destination of the goods; they may want their goods to be shipped to a free port where they are exempt from import duties. Export shipments can be insured against loss, damage and delay by cargo insurance.

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