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Export.gov Portal
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Handling and Determining Method of Shipping

The handling of transportation is similar for domestic and export orders.

Export marks are added to the standard information on a domestic bill of lading. These marks show:

  • the name of the exporting carrier,
  • the latest allowed arrival date at the port of export, and
  • instructions for the inland carrier to notify the international freight forwarder by telephone upon arrival.

The overseas buyer usually specifies which export marks should appear on the cargo for easy identification by receivers. For more information see information on Labeling.

Determining Method of Shipping

Exporters may find it useful to consult with a freight forwarder when determining the method of international shipping. Since carriers are often used for large and bulky shipments, the exporter should reserve space on the carrier well before actual shipment date. This reservation is called the booking contract.

 International shipments are increasingly made on a through bill of lading under a multimodal contract. The multimodal transit operator (frequently one of the transporters) takes charge of and responsibility for the entire movement from factory to final destination.

The cost of the shipment, the delivery schedule, and the accessibility to the shipped product by the foreign buyer are all factors to consider when determining the method of international shipping. Although air carriers can be more expensive, their cost may be offset by lower domestic shipping costs (for example, using a local airport instead of a coastal seaport) and quicker delivery times. These factors may give the U.S. exporter an edge over other competitors.

Before shipping, the U.S. firm should be sure to check with the foreign buyer about the destination of the goods. Buyers often want the goods to be shipped to a free-trade zone or a free port where they are exempt from import duties.