What Is International Shipping And How Does It Work?

International shipping is the transportation of cargo by air, land, or sea that crosses national borders. The topic of international shipping is vast, and there are many nuances that may not be apparent to the general public. The following list goes over the basics of international shipping so you can understand how it works.

What is international shipping?

International shipping is the process of moving products across borders. This can take place via air, by boat, or on the ground. International shipping can be a complex process, as you must navigate the rules and regulations of the destination country.

Importing and exporting freight is a complicated process. You have to know and follow international shipping regulations, as well as collect all the necessary paperwork, in order for your freight to pass through customs.

International shipping is more complicated than domestic since each country has its own policies. Some countries forbid importing certain products, so it’s important to know the laws of these regions before sending goods abroad.

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Types of good

Cars and Other Vehicles

Shipping vehicles is a common business in the Middle East, Europe, Asia, and the Americas. It functions as a ferry service where cars are moved from point to point on a country’s coastlines.

Ships specifically designed for carrying cargo over coasts are known as Ro-Ro shipping. These ships have a very large load capacity while also accounting for the force on the back of the boat from vehicles being loaded or unloaded.

Machinery, Equipment, and Factory Parts

Shipping machinery and parts is a lucrative industry. They are handy when in bulk. Mainly because these goods are durable in most forms of sea motion, can withstand being in parts in large numbers, and have fewer problems in general compared to other types of cargo.

The main issue with this kind of good is the possibility of rust. Holds of ships are typically kept dry. But during the journey, there’s a possibility for water to develop in the holds if the ship has leaks or other problems.

When transporting large objects, you have to be careful of the motions of the cargo. They need to be tethered down using pad eyes. But what about something lighter, like a pipe? It may shift during the voyage.

LNG, CNG, and Other Gas-Based Fuels

Petroleum products and their byproducts are the largest cargoes transported through ships. This includes crude oil, fuels, and petroleum-based products such as LNG and CNG. These products are usually transported through large tankers called oil tankers.

Food Stuff

Foods are a category of goods that can be fresh, packaged, frozen, or partially processed. The food industry is the most challenging to transport because food often spoils quickly and due to its short shelf life.

How long does international shipping take?

International shipping can take a while, depending on how large your package is and the shipping mode. In general, air cargo has a fast delivery international rate, while freight moves over the sea on cargo barges can take more time. Shipping internationally usually consists of five steps:

  1. Declare the package
  2. Pay duties and taxes
  3. Apply for a customs label
  4. Handle customs clearance
  5. Pick up the package

How to ship freight internationally?

Shipping internationally can be tricky. When you ship freight, you need to find an international freight forwarding company. There are many, so it’s important to get the one that best suits your needs. Here are some tips for success.

Collect Information

One crucial step is gathering all your important shipment information and presenting it in the right way. It’s easy to make mistakes when filling in the documentation and providing the required paperwork, but you’ll need to get it right or risk a failure.

Customs clearance

The customs clearance process is a critical stage of international shipping. This process needs to be done by an expert, which is why you need a customs broker. Customs brokers can assist with arranging international shipments and executing the customs clearance process. The customs clearance process can be tricky for some people, but with help, you can successfully accomplish it.


After you ship your product, it’s important to track it so you know where it is. Make sure your shipment can be tracked transparently and in real-time. It’s also important for international shipments to have seamless and timely updates, so make sure to choose a transportation partner with those features.