- What do I need to know about U.S. customs?
- How do you deal with foreign customs?
- If I am shipping a vehicle, can I pack other items inside?
- Who is responsible for incidental charges assessed by foreign governments?
- Is there a limit of liability for steamship companies?
- Should I purchase insurance?
- Where do I purchase a policy?
- Can I track My Shipment?
- Can I make a payment online?
Written by Damien Shields
What do I need to know about U.S. customs?
We do the work for you to get the final approval on your cargo. For one, we issue the required export forms and the forms will vary depending on what exactly it is that you’re shipping.
For example, for any type of vehicle, we will need the original title or bill of sale. Customs also requires different documents for ocean based shipments and air freight.
Not to worry though, all you will have to do is supply us with all commercial invoices and sign the necessary export instructions, which you can do with the help of one of our export specialists.
How do you deal with foreign customs?
Many foreign governments will request duties for your cargo shipment and may have laws that will impact your shipment, whether it consists of cargo, household goods or a vehicle. You should be prepared to provide receipts for any new merchandise in your shipment.
It varies by country, but in some cases your shipment may be eligible for exemption from standard import duties and the associated taxes. This is by no means “one rule applies to all” exemption.
The requirements and qualifications for such an exemption are determined by each individual country but as a general piece of advice, you should always have an idea of how much these charges may be.
To help you with the nuances of dealing with a foreign government, we have agents at every international destination so we’ll be glad to recommend one to you. Of course, you can always select your own.
If I am shipping a vehicle, can I pack other items inside?
This depends on which method you are using. For vehicles using roll on roll off, there is nothing allowed inside other than the spare tire, jack and things of the sort.
When inside a container, you are allowed to bring personal belongings and other effects. Naturally, there can’t be anything illegal and you’ll need to have an itemized list of everything.
Who is responsible for incidental charges assessed by foreign governments?
Our team spends a lot of time staying up to date with everything and while we do our best to inform you of all the potential charges that you may be faced with, destination charges and importation through the destination port are ultimately the responsibility of the receiver.
One of the best ways to avoid running into incidental charges is to consult an overseas agent: either the one we recommend to you or a self-appointed one. They’ll be the most adept to answer questions and recognize potential issues.
Is there a limit of liability for steamship companies?
Yes. There are no exceptions or special circumstances. By Maritime Law, steamship companies are limited to a liability of no more than $500 per vehicle.
Should I purchase insurance?
In the real world, accidents can happen and it is strongly recommended that you purchase an insurance policy that covers your vehicle, goods and shipping charges.
For those of you who are wondering whether your current insurance coverage will cover your shipment, whether goods or vehicles, while on the water, the answer is no unfortunately.
There are two types of policies: “Full Coverage” and “Total Loss.”
- Full Coverage – Replaces the cost of the car, dents, scratches and shipping costs.
- Total Loss – While less expensive, it replaces only the value of the car.
Where do I purchase a policy?
Your shipping company should provide you with all the coverage and options. Schumacher Cargo Lines provides a full line of marine insurance options to meet the needs of your shipment and your budget considerations.
If we have not addressed a question that you would like to have answered, e-mail us your question. We will send you a ceramic cobalt-blue coffee mug if your question is the most unusual and adds significantly to this discussion.
Can I track My Shipment?
Yes you can with our secure online portal. You’ll also be able to view images of your shipment as it moves through the process. Click Here.
Can I make a payment online?
Yes you can and we actually recommend this way as it’s the most convenient for our clients. Another option would be a wire transfer or clients could mail us a check. We do not take any payments over the phone. Click Here.