Shipping Internationally for any business can be a daunting task to achieve. The potential for growth and revenue acquired by doing so is the boost to ones business that takes it to the next level.
Unlike shipping domestically, international shipping comes with it's own set of requirements that if not followed correct, could result in a huge problem for your business.
Domestic vs. International Shipping
Cost to Ship
The accuracy of your documentation of what is being shipped is key to getting your shipment through customs and into the destination country quickly, and without fees or delays. Below are the key items required for getting your shipment to it's destination:
- Shipping Label - Ensure the correct address and contact information for the destination is listed
- Commercial Invoice - Invoice declaring the quantity, value, HS Code, and detailed description of items being shipped
An important aspect of shipping internationally, which also directly relates to the Commercial Invoice is the HS Code or Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System.
An HS code consists of at least six digits and is used by customs to classify the product being shipped. That way it can accurately calculate taxes and duties and apply any necessary restrictions. If you don’t include the HS code on the commercial invoice and other shipping documents, you risk the receiver paying the wrong tax and could possibly delay the shipment.
To locate the appropriate HS code, please visit Canada Post's website to get the proper HS code for your shipment(s).
Commodity description will also delay or be denied in general when creating a label if the description is not descriptive enough. One word descriptions will cause an error and prevent labels from generating. In the cases the label does generate, the shipment itself will be heavily delayed at the border while customs investigates the contents of the shipment.
Planning on shipping internationally often or exclusively? Depending on what you are shipping, the couriers will generally broker your shipment. However, hiring a personal broker can help ensure your shipments make it through customs quickly and without issues. This is especially important if you plan to ship often, irregular sized shipments, or LTL (pallet) shipments as the courier will not broker LTL shipments for you. LTL shipments will REQUIRE a personal broker to get your shipments through customs. Among their responsibilities, a customs broker will calculate the duties and taxes owed on a shipment, and will serve as a liaison between the shipper, consignee, courier, and relevant government agencies. Further, your broker will have information concerning any goods you may be shipping that were not manufactured in Canada, as these may be subject to additional duties and taxes. They will also help ensure what is being shipped is allowed and not banned or illegal to ship.