It’s always exciting when your business locates one—or multiple—untapped markets overseas, and has the opportunity to expand its products, services, and other offerings worldwide. Having a market abroad makes your brand global, and in this day and age, having a global company is almost like a requirement for keeping up with the competition.
Decided to go global? You’ll need to be prepared. At some point, you’ll receive orders from overseas and have to prepare small parcels or pallet loads for international shipment. The prospect of sending out your first international shipment can be thrilling, but if you’re not accustomed to the process, it’s more likely to seem daunting. Thankfully, sending out your parcels and pallets for shipping doesn’t have to be difficult. By familiarizing yourself with the international shipping pallet requirements, you can be prepared for your first shipment, and many, many more.
Things To Keep in Mind
When you’re shipping loads internationally, whether by truck, rail, ship, or air, you’ll want to make sure they’re prepared for the long trip ahead of them. The harsh conditions and lengthy travel times associated with international travel can put a massive strain on your loads, and, in worst-case scenarios, damage them beyond repair. Isn’t there any way to avoid damage, though? With the right precautions, you can minimize the chance of your loads getting cracked, crumpled, or stained. When you’re preparing your loads, follow these guidelines:
If you’re shipping wood, don’t forget to have it heat treated to the ISPM-15 Standard. This prevents the transportation of wood-boring or wood-eating insects. Exceptions are in place for certain types of wood, including hardwood and plywood. Before shipping, make sure your pallet has the Heat-Treated stamp plastered on both sides. The stamp verifies that your pallet is heat treated, and that the pallet vendor is certified—as in, they’re paying for a monthly inspection that certifies their plant follows safety requirements. A pallet supplier also needs to provide a proof of certification and have a serial number that’s listed on the Heat-Treated stamp.
The Height of Your Pallets
Ideally, the height of loaded pallets should be under 60″. Anything that’s longer or wider than 125/96 will necessitate the use of main deck space on a freighter.
Labels and Sensitive Items
For international shipping, your pallets should be stretch wrapped, banded, and labeled. You’ll need adequate shipper and consignee labels, along with any specific labels, like “do not double stack,” “top load,” and “sensitive items.” If your items are sensitive, it’s better to stow them in crates. Crates don’t normally require stretch wrapping but need to be labeled and marked, just like any other shipping unit. If your crates aren’t moveable via forklift, you’ll have to identify and label their center of gravity, lifting points, and other valuable handling information. Finally, make sure your pallets and crates can withstand your cargo in terms of height, weight, and balance. The right pallet size is important. The load should sit within the pallet’s perimeter. If it’s too far inside, you might have trouble securing it to the pallet. If it overhangs, the load can hit other loads, causing a domino effect of damage.
Moisture is the enemy of metal shipping containers. It can cause them to arrive rusted, oxidized, or corroded. If the moisture gets inside, it can weaken the corrugated cases, make them fall apart, and cover them with black mold. Using top sheets to cover your loads and installing adhesive plastic strips to seal any openings are two effective ways to protect your pallet loads from moisture.
Dealing With Damaged or Lost Goods
As long as you adhere to the international shipping pallet requirements, the process should go smoothly, right? Unfortunately, things don’t always go as planned. The international shipping process is long, and there are plenty of opportunities for things to go awry. Your product might get lost in ASRS, wash overboard, get dropped from the cargo hold while unloading, or face a different, but equally as unfortunate, fate. Avoiding these tragic situations isn’t always feasible, but insuring yourself against them is. You want to make sure your products are insured in a commercially viable way.
In domestic transactions, you can denote transfer of ownership and risk of loss with simple UCC references to FOB ship point or destination. In layman’s terms, this means you can transfer freight cost and risk of loss to the buyer, either at the shipping point or the receiving point. In international transactions, the UCC terms are replaced with ICC INCOTERMS. FOB has a different meaning and is accompanied by ten other terms. Of those ten terms, only two address insurance. So, what does this mean for you? You can ship a product on certain terms, and transfer ownership and risk of loss to the customer as soon it leaves your shipping dock. If the product is lost or destroyed during transit, your insurance won’t pay for it. It’s no longer your property, after all! But if the buyer failed to secure their own insurance and is unwilling or unable to pay the balance they owe you, things can get complicated fast. Before you ship your products, consult with an expert. They’ll have a better understanding of insurance, duties, customs clearance, international freight cost, and other factors that could interfere with the international shipping process and unintentionally cost you time, labor, and expense.
Keeping Your Products Secure
The simplest way to keep your products safe during international shipping is to make sure they’re properly and securely stretch wrapped. Stretch wrapping comes with a long list of benefits for your pallet: it improves stability and provides dust protection, moisture protection, sun protection, tamper resistance protection, and more.
Robopac USA’s automatic pallet wrappers are consistent, fast, and fully automated. They’ll streamline the packaging process so you can deliver securely wrapped goods without the hassle. We have turntable, horizontal, and vertical configurations, and automatic equipment with different speeds and capacity levels. If you’re looking for something to accommodate your industry’s unique requirements and your business’ personal needs, Robopac USA has what you need. Come and shop with us today!