Frequently Asked Questions

Exporting Basics: Preparing and Shipping Goods

Are there any special requirements to package and deliver goods for export?

To get your goods overseas, you’ll need to pack and label them properly. Some requirements are mandated by law; others are precautionary -- to protect the goods against damage, theft or delay in transit. The requirements are usually very specific, and you must follow them to the letter.

Given the complexities and risks, most exporters use international freight forwarders to perform these critical services.

Packing for export. Exported goods face greater physical risks en route than domestic shipments. They’re more vulnerable to breakage, theft and damage by the elements. To avoid potential problems, pack the goods in strong, reinforced containers; sealed and filled with lightweight, moisture-resistant material. Distribute the weight evenly to brace the container. To deter theft, use strapping, seals, or shrink wrapping where possible; and don’t list the contents or show brand names on the outside of the packages. If you’re shipping by sea, its best to containerize your cargo whenever possible. For air shipments, you can generally use lighter weight packing, but you must still take precautions. Standard domestic packing should suffice, especially if the product is durable. Otherwise, high-test cardboard or tri-wall construction boxes are more than adequate (at least 250 pounds per square inch).

Export marking and labeling. Export shipping containers need to be properly marked and labeled to meet shipping regulations, ensure proper handling, conceal the identity of the contents, and help receivers identify shipments. The buyer usually specifies export marks that should appear on the cargo, such as:

-- Shipper's mark.
-- Country of origin (USA).
-- Weight marking (in pounds and in kilograms).
-- Number of packages and size of cases (in inches and centimeters).
-- Handling marks (international pictorial symbols).
-- Port of entry.
-- Labels for hazardous materials

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Need Help?

Can’t find the answer to your question? Identify the Pennsylvania County where your company is located to access the contact information for your local Regional Export Network Partner.