FAQ - International Shipping

Frequently Asked Questions About International Shipping

  • What does the shipping rate include?

    Answer: The shipping rate includes the base rate and surcharges except the following: Local Customs clearance, duty, taxes, and port charges. If port to port rate is selected then rates do NOT include final delivery to the door.

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  • How many pallets into an ocean container?

    Answer: Approximately 10 standard (40”x48”x48”) pallets can fit into a 20’ dry ocean container.

    Approximately 22 standard (40”x48”x48”) pallets can fit into a 40’ or 40HC (high cube) dry ocean container.

    Approximately 24 standard (40”x48”x48”) pallets can fit into a 45’ dry ocean container.

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  • What are the shipping paperwork and documentation requirements for import and/or export shipments?

    Answer: International shipping requirements will vary depending on the type of shipment, i.e. importing to the U.S. or exporting out of the U.S., the commodity being shipping, and other factors that must be determined prior to shipment. Once a rate is accepted with XpressRate™ then you will be contacted by the nominated freight forwarder within 24 hours. All specific questions regarding shipping requirements should be discussed with the forwarder directly. Documentation related questions can be discussed with either the freight forwarder or your nominated Customs broker.

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  • What documentation is required for Custom Brokerage for Import Shipments?

    Answer: You will need to provide the Customs Broker the following documents:

    1. Import power-of-attorney, with validation, must be signed by an officer of the company
    2. Commercial Invoice
      • * Important - Items must include Harmonized Tariff codes
    3. Packing List
    4. Transportation Document
      • * Ocean Bill of Lading
      • * Air waybill
    5. Importer Security Filing Form (US Customs requirement)
      • * Important - Items must include Harmonized Tariff codes

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  • What do all these confusing shipping terms mean?

    Answer: There are so many logistics terms in the international shipping industry, it can be confusing to book a shipment. We can help you navigate the process!
    Click here for XpressRate's Glossary of Shipping Terms.

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  • How to ship a container?

    Answer: Full Load Containers (FCL) are shipped internationally on an ocean steamship or cargo ship. XpressRate™ is an online booking tool designed to simplify your shipping experience by walking you through the steps to ship your container. With XpressRate™ online booking tool, you can find the cheapest international shipping rate instantly, get help with insurance, and credit payments options.

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  • What is freight shipping?

    Answer: Freight shipping is shipping commodities from an Origin to a Destination.

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  • How to ship freight?

    Answer: Freight can be shipped by ocean steamship, passenger airplane or cargo airplane. XpressRate™ is an online booking tool designed to simplify your shipping experience by walking you through the steps to ship freight internationally. With XpressRate™ online booking tool, you can find the cheapest international shipping rate instantly, get help with insurance, and even freight rate financing.

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  • What are shipping requirements?

    Answer: International shipping requirements will vary depending on the shipment type. All international shipping will need an origin/destination, commodity descriptions, and a Bill of Lading.

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  • How do I determine shipping costs not included in the XpressRate™ ocean freight rate?

    Answer: There are a lot of factors to determine international shipping cost. XpressRate™ provides you one combined rate for ocean freight which may include the final delivery to door unless a port to port rate is selected. Local Customs clearance, duty, taxes, port charges, and other miscellaneous charges are NOT included in the rate. These additional charges can be determined by the freight forwarder and/or Customs broker.

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  • What is Schedule B?

    Answer: Schedule B is a list of export codes administered by the U.S. Census Bureau. Refer to export.gov for further information.

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  • What is the amount of insurance coverage on my shipment and what recommendations do you have for additional insurance?

    Answer: The majority of international ocean freight shipments arrive to their destination free of damage. However, you should be aware that international ocean freight carriers are generally liable for up to $500 per shipping freight unit (i.e. box, carton, pallet, etc.) per the terms and conditions listed on the back of the ocean carrier’s (or freight forwarder’s) bill of lading. XpressRate™ offers competitive insurance rates to insure full coverage for the value of the goods being shipped. Please contact us for pricing.

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  • What is a tariff or duty on imported goods?

    Answer: A tariff or duty is a tax levied by governments typically calculated as a percentage of the declared value of the commodity. For specific questions or estimates on potential duty and taxes please contact your licensed Customs broker. You can find more information on tariffs at export.gov.

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  • What does creating an account provide me?

    Answer: When you sign up for an XpressRate™ account, your free membership provides enhanced features and functionality. The top three best rates for your shipping quote comparisons will be revealed. A customizable Address Book will be available, adding convenience and speed for your repeat bookings. The Shipping History feature provides details of your previous shipments. You will also have the ability to apply for credit with your XpressRate™ free membership.

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  • Why does the Origin/Destination Box not recognize my city?

    Answer: The Origin and Destination boxes work like Google, you can start to type in a few characters and the boxes will recognize your city. Shortcut: For convenience and accuracy with the Origin/Destination boxes, use Zip Codes for U.S. Cities.

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  • Does XpressRate™ assist with custom brokerage and shipping insurance?

    Answer: Yes. XpressRate™ will give you the option to include freight insurance when booking a shipment. If you are already working with a custom broker, feel free to use them. If you need a custom insurance broker, we can provide assistance.

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  • Is XpressRate™ a Freight Forwarder / NVOCC?

    Answer: No. XpressRate, LLC is a marketing agency providing importers and exporters international shipping rates. Once a rate is accepted on the XpressRate.com website then the nominated freight forwarder/NVOCC will contact you within 24 hours.

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  • Can I ship my dog overseas?

    Answer: Unfortunately, no. XpressRate™ can not account for shipping animals or anything else of the following: scrap metal, jewels, artifacts, frozen food, human remains or cash.

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  • What is a “Known Shipper” for air freight shipments?

    Answer: After September 11,the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) implemented new rules to insure the safety of domestic and international air travel in the United States. Shippers who have been properly vetted by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) are considered a Known Shipper and may tender their freight for shipment on both passenger and cargo-only aircraft. Any shipper who has not gone through this formal vetting process may ONLY ship freight on cargo-only aircraft and NOT on passenger flights.
    Click for more information about the Known Shipper Program.

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  • When do I find out who my freight forwarder/NVOCC will be on my shipment?

    Answer: Upon acceptable of a rate XpressRate™ will award your shipment to a freight forwarder/NVOCC within our partner network. That partner will contact your directly within 24 business hours to begin the shipping process.

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  • How long are rate quotes valid?

    Answer: The quoted rate is only valid at the time it was quoted through XpressRate™. If you need the rate to be valid for a time period, please contact us at 1-800-996-9783 to discuss.

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  • Who do I contact if there are any issues with my shipment?

    Answer: Depending on the issue you would contact either the awarded freight forwarder/NVOCC or your licensed Customs broker. They will be able to assist you directly with any issues, problems, or concerns. Of course, you can always contact XpressRate™.

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  • Can transit time be guaranteed?

    Answer: Estimated Transit Time (ETT) is the time between the Estimated Time of Departure from origin (ETD) and the Estimated Time of Arrival at the destination (ETA). These estimated transit times are provided to XpressRate™ by the ocean carriers and are for estimation purposes only. Transit times provided in the booking confirmations by ocean cannot be guaranteed although most shipments will depart and arrive as scheduled.

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  • What is AES and why do I have to provide my company's EIN number when shipping internationally?

    Answer: (reference from www.aesdirect.gov)
    "AES stands for Automated Export System and is the system that is used to transmit the Electronic Export Information (EEI) on your shipment. The EEI (formerly known as Shipper’s Export Declaration (SED)), is required by law to enable U.S. Government agencies to enforce laws related to the export of goods. It was also traditionally used by the U.S. Census Bureau to compile official U.S. export statistics.

    An Electronic Export Information (EEI) Filing (formerly known as SED) is required when:

    1. "An individual Schedule B/HTS or commodity item value exceeds US$2500 to all foreign destinations (except to Canada); or
    2. An individual Schedule B/HTS or commodity item value exceeds US$2500 for shipment being shipped as follows:
      • * from the U.S. to Puerto Rico
      • * from Puerto Rico to the U.S.
      • * from the U.S. or Puerto Rico to the U.S. Virgin Islands
      • * trans-shipped through or for storage in Canada, but ultimately destined to a third country
      • * exported under Carnets
      • - or -
    3. A shipment (regardless of value) is transported under an export license issued by the applicable U.S. Government agency (e.g., Dept of State, Dept of Commerce, etc.) including Canada destinations and including Carnets; or
    4. A shipment (regardless of value) is subject to the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) , including shipments exempt from licensing requirements and including shipments to Canada; or
    5. A shipment (regardless of value) contains rough diamonds (under Schedule B#’s 7102.10, 7102.21 and 7102.31, including shipments to Canada; or
    6. A shipment (regardless of value) is destined to a U.S. Department of Commerce authorized Validated End User (VEU)."
      For more info you may visit the U.S. government's website www.aesdirect.gov

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  • What happens when my air and ocean shipment arrives at destination?

    Answer: If your shipment is booked on a port to port basis the freight forwarder/NVOCC will notify the consignee listed on the bill of lading by sending an arrival notice within 5 days or less of port arrival. The consignee is then responsible to arrange Customs clearance with the local customs office, arrange for payment of any duties, taxes, and other fees, and arrange final pick up and delivery from the destination port, rail, or airport.

    If your shipment is booked on a port to door basis then the freight forwarder/NVOCC will follow the same process listed above and additionally will be responsible for arranging final delivery to the door on behalf of the consignee.

    IMPORTANT: All international shipments are subject to destination charges, which include: 1 - Destination Country Government (Customs) related charges, i.e. duty and taxes (if any), harbor fees, fee on entry filing by a destination Customs Broker etc.; 2 - Destination terminal(s) handling charges and fees (THC); 3 – Service fee from carrier’s destination agent on handling and delivery (if you requesting delivery to your door) of your shipment. Destination charges vary depending on a destination country and carrier. Typically it is out of control of U.S. Freight Forwarder. Guiding importer in the complexity of cargo recovery procedures at the destination is responsibility of carrier’s destination agent.

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