International Shipping

Learn the basics of Charterlink international shipping and prepare your next shipment with these tools and resources.

Make international shipping more efficient

We created the Charterlink International Shipping Assist tool to help make your international shipping process more efficient and accurate. Key features include: instant access to important shipping information, the ability to save and reuse Harmonized System codes, and estimated duties and taxes for repeat shipments.

Frequently Asked Questions

A harmonized code is a six-digit code used by customs officials to document the commodities entering and exiting the country. All import and export codes are based on the Harmonized System (HS) of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS). Virtually all countries base their tariff schedules on this system, making it easier to conduct international trade. Every imported or exported item is assigned a classification code (Harmonized Code) that corresponds to its product type. These numerical codes are used by countries worldwide for statistics-gathering purposes. They also determine which tariffs, if any, will be applied to the product. Additionally, foreign trade regulations require exporters to include the correct classification code on export documentation.

A Commercial Invoice is used to record accounts receivable for the seller and accounts payable for the buyer. The content of the Commercial Invoice is almost always the same as the Pro Forma Invoice. However, the final sale price may vary with the Pro Forma Invoice, as the Pro Forma Invoice is issued before an actual sale takes place. Its purpose is to give a customer a clear idea of what to expect, and it acts as a good faith estimate showing what can be known in advance, such as prices and terms, and an average billing amount for the types of items being requested. A customer may also use a Pro Forma Invoice to decide whether or not to place an order. The purpose of a Commercial Invoice is to request payment for items that have actually been sold by showing the amount that should be paid.

Clearance delays occur for a variety of reasons. Some examples include:
  • Missing documentation
  • Incomplete, missing, or inaccurate information on documentation
  • Additional documentation needed by regulatory agencies
  • Processing required by additional regulatory agencies
  • Missing piece(s) of multiple-piece shipment
If additional information is required from the shipper or recipient, Charterlink will attempt to contact them. Once all requirements are fulfilled, your shipment will be cleared to move to its final destination.

Customs value is the total shipment value as declared by its shipper to serve as the basis for determining duties and taxes. It usually reflects the selling or the replacement price of the shipment and is equal to or higher than the declared value for carriage. If you are shipping 5 items at $20 apiece, then your customs value would be $100.

Before you ship, check to see if your product has an Export Control Classification Number (ECCN), a five-digit, alphanumeric code that identifies the technology level and capabilities of your product. You’ll use this code to find out when and where you need an export license.

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