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6 International Shipping Tricks Every Business Must Know

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Streamline your shipping

In today’s economy, international shipping is often a key process in many businesses’ structure and success. Sending parcels overseas is usually a simple process, especially if you engage the services of a reputable carrier. There are some potential hiccups, however, which business owners need to bear in mind the next time they make a despatch. Every country is home to various quirky customs, and this can sometime affect the smooth passage of a consignment from one nation to the next.

Many countries will have a list of proscribed materials which will be confiscated if they are discovered. They will vary from nation to nation, of course, but in general items such as pornographic materials, metal knives, money and alcohol could all represent potential problems. In all cases, it’s best to make a few enquiries if you’re not completely sure about the safety of your consignment.


Exporting parcels to Australia, for example, can prove complicated. The country has a fragile eco-system, and because of this there are strict regulations covering the import of everything from soil and plants to pesticides and wildlife. The Australian authorities are likely to refuse entry to parcels and packages which they suspect contain any prohibited items, so make sure you always check before sending.


If your business plans to trade with Japan, the value needs to be declared in advance. If it equates to more than 300,000 yen (around £2,000), it won’t be possible to deliver it straight to the recipient. When the consignment arrives in the country, he or she will be contacted by the authorities, and will then be expected to collect it from the local post office. For time-sensitive deliveries, this needs to be borne in mind.

United States

Every day, thousands of parcels are delivered from the UK to the United States, but many senders don’t realise just how many potential restrictions may be involved. The usual list of suspects may come as no great surprise, of course, but did you know you’re not allowed to send cat and dog fur? Sending fresh fruits and vegetables can be complex operations, and wild game meat is completely prohibited.


Parcels that contain items intended for political promotion are likely to be impounded in China, and the same applies, bizarrely, to many items which are stamped ‘Made in China’. The country protects its trading operations at every opportunity, so be careful what you send. American beef products and various medications are all on the Chinese prohibited list, as are items manufactured by prisoners.


In recent years, there has been an increase in trade between the UK and Mexico, but there are still major restrictions which need to be remembered. As you might expect, there are limitations on the movement of alcohol, tobacco and medications, but there are also issues facing the movement of pencils, bicycles and compact discs. By using international parcel specialists, you can be sure of having expert help along the way.


Italy imposes restrictions on the import of certain food items, including milk for infants, while in France there are limitations on the movement of a range of diverse products, including Viagra, artificial-fibre pyjamas and pencil erasers which look like food. Extra-strength alcohol and potatoes are just some of the items that you cannot import into Norway. In New Zealand, you will be unable to import car tyres, chewing tobacco and anything trout-related.

Sending certain sensitive items from one country to another is perhaps not as simple as the average person might have thought. Each nation appears to have particular quirks, and falling foul of these restrictions can be a frustrating, time-consuming and ultimately costly experience. As always, the shrewdest dispatchers will make sure they find out the facts before waving goodbye to their parcels.

About the Author

This article was written by business contributor Iain Aitchison.

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Author:Globial International Business Team

The Globial International Business Team researches, analyzes, and reports on all things related to global trade and business.


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One Response to “6 International Shipping Tricks Every Business Must Know”

  1. Broddr
    January 29, 2014 at 7:00 am #

    6 Shipping Tricks Every Business Must Know?

    I fail to see how these six short and vague statements can possibly be described as ‘tricks’!

    Where are the tricks?

    Here is a ‘trick’ for completing your tax return…the HMRC requires that you complete a tax return.

    Not really helpful is it?

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