Online shopping has been commonplace for many years now, and there’s no sign of our web-based buying habits slowing down. With the massive popularity of global companies like Amazon, eBay, and other retailers that ship internationally, you can have virtually any product on the market delivered to your doorstep. But, shipping isn’t always easy. Some heavy items pack a punch in shipping fees, breakable items and goods with other challenging attributes are difficult to pack, and several categories of items have restrictions placed on them – including being prohibited. Before you decide to ship something, it’s good to investigate any extra costs or difficulties you might run into.
Some carriers will ship large items like belt sanders, pianos, stone statues, and even motorcycles and cars. Others cut weights off at a relatively low point. Trying to ship something larger than 150 lbs across a large country like Canada using UPS’s shipping calculator, for example, results in an error. That maximum weight for an item that is 12”x 12”x 12” costs several hundred dollars for an expedited package from British Columbia to Nova Scotia. Amazon, however, will ship some extremely heavy things for free. Shop around for retailers with free shipping options – noting that standard shipping can take several weeks.
Some items have heavy restrictions placed on them and are highly regulated. Electronics are classified as radiating-emitting devices and often get stopped at the border. A piece of IT equipment might be categorized as a “dual-use good”, meaning it is an item that could be used for a military purpose in addition to its primary, civilian use.These shipments always get flagged and need the right licenses and permits to send them, no matter the destination. Businesses that import electronics for foreign destinations use an Importer of Record like TecEx to send electronic devices and medical equipment because this third party completes all the proper paperwork, pays the fees, and assumes all the responsibilities and risks associated with shipping these types of goods in 180 nations.
Other items are extremely breakable and, in some cases, irreplaceable. Museums, galleries, auction houses, and other entities need to ship antiquities, expensive paintings, and ancient artifacts. Sending a priceless sculpture or a collection of china halfway around the world needs some expert packing and care! Foam is often used with careful attention paid to selecting the right size, density, softness, and support. Other materials need the right environmental conditions like a climate-controlled shipping container, truck, or cargo bay to protect them. Representatives from the institution will often accompany the items to ensure proper care.
This article from Lifehacker offers several tips on how to take on tricky shipping scenarios. Included in the list is electronics, alcohol, and perishables. Some items you simply can’t send. No matter how well you think you’ve packed it, you can’t send an animal, nor can you send explosives or firearms – at least, not without a proper licensefor the latter.
Be sure to check your carrier’s rules when you want to send something out of the ordinary. Businesses looking to ship highly-regulated items like medical devices and IT equipment should contact an expert Importer of Record to assist with all of the hassles associated with importing and local laws.