International Freight Shipping: How Does It Work?

Atomix Logistics
3 min readOct 20, 2022

International Freight

Shipments weighing over 150 pounds (70 kg) are considered freight shipments. Freight usually pertains to bulk and comes with its own guidelines and regulations with international shipping. Let’s go over a few important things to keep in mind with international freight.

Customs

Customs is a mandatory process when shipping internationally. Obtaining permission from a country’s government, through its customs authority, to either export or import, is crucial to international shipping.

Compliances and clearances at customs depend on a few factors, including country of origin, country of destination, and product. Besides a packing list, there are also required documents including….

Methods
There are four ways freight is moved, by air, rail, ocean and road. What type of method(s) you will use will depend on a few factors

  • Dimensions of Freight
  • Starting and Destination Points
  • Type of Freight
  • Costs and Time Affordability

Chances are, you will utilize multiple methods of international shipping to get your freight from Point A to Point B.

Full Container Load and Less Than Container Load

Containerized freight is shipping two ways, full container load or less than container load. With FCL, you pay a flat rate for the entire container. On the flip side, LCL, you pay, or ‘rent’ part of the container space with several other brands.
LCL is preferred when a company does not have enough product to fill and send a full container, also known as consolidation. FCL is more cost effective for larger shipments. Do your research to decide what is best for you and your brand.

Exporting

Shipping goods from one country to another is called exporting. As a brand, there are several considerations to be had while developing a compliant export strategy.

*For more information regarding regulations and restrictions .

If you are shipping from the United States, click here to learn more on navigating exporting regulations and compliances.

HS Code

Exporting and importing products come with extra steps. Harmonized System (HS) codes are commodity codes used to classify international inventory being shipped. It is a standardized system of classifying and identifying shipments around the world. Utilized by customs authorities across the globe, HS codes identify products when assessing duties and taxes as well as for gathering statistics. They are recognized in 98% of world trade.

Companies use an HS number to reference the classification with their customers, vendors and anyone outside of the U.S. HS codes are an integral part of international trade.

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