Cross Border Shipping 1

Cross Border Shipping: The Ultimate FAQ Guide

If you have any questions about cross-border shipping, you will find the answer right here.

Keep reading to learn more.

What is Cross Border Shipping?

Cross border shipping is a way of importing goods from the origin country to another country.

Goods that are not locally available in a certain country get transported there.

The goods go through custom duty and import duties before reaching their destination.

You do not have to set up a new warehouse in the destination country with cross border shipping.

For instance, when importing from China, you may use cross boarder shipping.

 Impoertign from China to USA

Importing from China to USA

How does Cross Border Shipping from China Work?

Determine your country of origin, which in your case is China.

Gather all the necessary documents needed for exporting goods out of China.

These include an export permit, certificate of origin, HS code, invoice, packing list, certificate of fumigation, value, and description of the goods.

You will also require to present your contact information as the supplier, destination of the goods, the recipient, composition of the products, and finished/semi-finished products.

· Verify any Restrictions or Prohibited Items

Restricted goods are liable for shipment but only with an approved license.

The annual quotas also do allow the control and regulation of restricted goods.

You can let third party companies like CIS inspect the goods on your behalf until it gets to the destination country.

Ensure the goods you wish to ship to another country to meet their rules and regulations.

 Restricted goods

 Restricted goods

· Estimate How Much you are Going to Pay for Taxes and Duties

In China, few goods get subjected to export taxation with semi-finished products included.

Know the amount of money you will spend on shipping agents, duty/tax, customs clearance, and delivery.

The HS code helps you in classifying products and helps determine tariff classification number, usually ten digits.

 HS code structure

HS code structure

· Ship your Goods with your Chosen Shipping Carrier

You can choose to use DHL or FedEx or a carrier of your choice.

Choose a good shipping partner for efficient delivery.

Shipping goods from China takes roughly 14-30 days to reach their destination.

Track your goods and ensure safe delivery to your buyers.

In fact, express shipping is common in most cross border shipping.

Express shipping companies

 Express shipping companies

· Custom Clearance

You will need to have an export license if China’s goods are not under Free on Board (FOB).

The export license contains information about the supplier, the buyer, the cargo, its value, and the preferred mode of transportation.

You can get this license from the Ministry of Commerce.

Who are Custom Brokers?

They act as intermediaries between the importer and the government.

Their work is to ensure all shipment rules and regulations are adhered to for the importers and exporters.

Customs brokers charge an extra fee for ensuring information and necessary payments get to CBP.

A custom broker can be an individual, licensed corporation, an association, or a partnership.

Are there Restrictions on Cross Border Shipping?

Yes, pandemic or political situations may lead to some restrictions.

Due to the current Covid-19 pandemic, social interaction has been restricted to limit the spread of the virus.

Certain goods are also restricted from shipment as they are likely to cause harm.

These items, however, can only be shipped when labeled and packaged properly.

Safety restrictions prevent one from shipping inflammable and toxic items.

There can be legal restrictions where one country does not accept goods from the origin country.

Which Paperwork do you need for Cross Border Shipping?

There are five important pieces of documentation needed for cross-border shipping.

These are as follows.

  • Bill of lading to show product information
  • Packing slip to show product details to the buyer. It lets the buyer know the exact order.
  • The commercial invoice shows the value of the products getting shipped.
  • Certificate of origin- it shows where the goods are from; country of origin.
  • In case you are shipping from the USA to Canada, you will need to have a Canada Customs Invoice. It shows the full description of the goods.
  • Other documents you may need to have include health and safety certificates.

Do you need POD with Cross Border Shipping?

Proof of Delivery is important when you receive your shipment to confirm the delivery.

You get to prove you have received the delivery by signing the BOL or the available delivery receipt.

It helps in improving customer service and the buyer-seller relationship.

It also solves any possible disputes between the sender and the recipient.

What is BOL?

A Bill of Lading is a form showing important information regarding all merchandise that is getting shipped.

It shows a list of the products with the size and weight of each, shipment address, contact information, and the pick-up location.

Bill of lading

Bill of lading

What is the Transit Time for Cross Border Shipping?

Transit time varies with several factors.

Shipment may take a few days or weeks, depending on the volume of traffic.

You are sure to get the goods delivered as quickly as possible if there are no border delays.

It will also depend on the country of origin and the destination country.

Mileage varies between different countries.

Goods from China will either take 14 days or a month to get to their destination.

What is the Difference Between PARS and PAPS?

A Pre-Arrival Review System allows you to have customs clearance before the arrival of goods.

Pre Arrival Processing System means the same thing, so there is no difference.

You need a PAPS number when importing goods to the US.

Are there Duties/Taxes Applied in Cross Border Shipping?

Yes, there are, and each country assesses their duties and taxes differently.

Every product gets taxed when crossing the border.

Some goods are accepted from taxation, while others require import tax.

All these will depend on the shipping model you choose to have.

Direct shipments from overseas do not necessarily require taxation unless it requires a VAT depending on its value.

How much you get taxed depends on the country.

How do you Improve Efficiency in Cross-border Shipping?

To efficiently manage cross-border shipping, ensure your customers get the products on time.

Choose carriers and partners to ensure the goods are delivered to the destination country as fast as possible.

It helps in reducing the long delivery time and prevent border barriers.

You have to partner with multiple partners and carriers for an improved shipment.

Identify possible risks that can be involved during your shipment and work on them.

It will help you in dealing with delays at the customs and other shipment issues.

Reduced delay time equals timely delivery.

Advertise and use social media platforms to get to know your market.

You do not need to be physically present in the country you wish to ship your goods.

Google has ease cross border shipping by placing the market right in front of you.

With online advertisement, you can determine the country with a good product for your goods.

Deliver what your customers want but lack in their country.

Choose your customers based on demand.

Improve efficiency by familiarizing yourself with taxation and duties associated with cross border shipping.

Know the legal regulations of your destination country first before transporting goods there.

How do you Choose Cross Border to Pick Up Locations?

Cross border pick up locations aren’t just limited to one area.

You can choose to have the goods picked up from the designated areas.

Alternatively, you can have them delivered right at your doorstep.

However, it is best if the pandemic is delivered directly to you though it will add extra charges.

Choose what’s affordable and comfortable for you.

Are there Restrictions on Goods on Cross Border Shipping?

There are goods you can and can’t ship out of China.

You cannot ship counterfeit goods, arms & weapons, illegals, and narcotics as they are prohibited.

However, some items get restricted by regulations but can get shipped.

The shipment of restricted goods depends on the destination country.

Some of the restricted goods include;

  • Dangerous items that can cause great harm when mishandled, i.e., perfumes
  • Biodegradables, i.e., perishables, seeds, among other items, are included.
  • Most awkward sized items like vehicles or carpets may not fit through.
  • High valued items like jewelry or currencies should not be there.
  • Endangered species; plants and live animals, including their skin or fur
  • Blood sample, pornography, passports, etc.
  • Tobacco and alcohol

How do you Track Goods on Cross Border Shipping?

Tracking goods in transit is a better way to ensure the safe delivery of your customers’ goods.

To keep track of the shipment, you can do that by use of email.

You get to trace the goods in case of delays and send your customers a notification.

The items to be transported get labeled with the sender and recipient’s information, including the tracking number.

This tracking number sometimes is always on a barcode form.

What should you Consider when Shipping Across the Border?

When considering cross-border shipping, you need to consider your destination country’s duties, taxes, and customs.

You don’t want to transport a product that’s going to get denied upon arrival.

Know allowed, prohibited, and restricted items in that country.

Ensure you get the right estimation of the cost incurred during shipping.

Keep in mind or surcharges and any miscellaneous costs incurred.

It would be good if you also considered the transit time the cargo is going to take before being delivered.

Consider insurance; risks are bound to happen; it is, therefore, important for your goods.

With a better logistic system in place, cross border shipping can be profitable.

How do you Choose the Right Shipping Partners during Cross Border Shipping?

The right shipping partner is easy, with a few factors in mind.

For you to choose wisely, you will need to consider;

The costs that are involved with cross-border shipping.

How much you intend to spend determines the shipping partner you need.

Some will be cheaper, while others will be costlier.

Who you choose solely depends on how much you are willing to spend.

You will also need to go a little overboard for additional charges that may arise.

Which Shipping Option are you Opting to have?

There are multiple options available, but the faster and efficiently it can deliver the products, the better it is for your business.

Multiple carriers are benefiting instead of risking with just one.

The right shipping partner should have good customer service.

Good customer care service equals to good reputation and efficient delivery.

Choose a carrier that can support you in terms of customs clearance.

You do not want your goods getting stuck or delayed because of customs clearance.

Hire a good customs broker to assist you with that.

What are the Advantages of Choosing Cross Border Shipping?

In cross border shipping, the freight charges are low when transporting goods from one country to another.

You get to overcome language barriers and other shipping challenges.

Cross border shipping is also cost-effective as you don’t require a new warehouse in the destination country.

It’s also a way of promoting your business by finding new customers and growing it.

It, in turn, gives you better revenue. It also makes management easier since everything is in one place.

It allows you to trade in different markets worldwide of your choice.

Who Handles Custom Clearance in Cross Border Shipping?

 Custom clearance

Custom clearance

Custom clearance is whereby goods pass through the customs authority.

It facilitates the movement of goods to and from a country.

The authorities present a document to the shipper when all the duties have gotten fully paid.

It gets done when your goods get cleared for export.

The seller is the one responsible for customs clearance.

You can let a licensed customs broker handle the clearance for you if you cannot do it by yourself.

Which Mode of Transport do you use During Cross Border Shipping?

Postal carriers are the cheapest way you can use to transport your goods.

It is convenient, but it is very slow.

It will keep your customers waiting for a longer period before the goods get delivered.

Choosing the best carrier will ensure both safety and security.

Multiple options may be available when it comes to shipping.

Some of the transport you can use include; air freight shipping and ocean freight.

You also have the option of using air transport to transport your goods.

Road transport is not left behind as one may opt for trucks to ensure goods get to their destination.

The three main modes you can use is sea, road, and air freight.

What happens if you Accidentally Provide Wrong Information During Cross Border Shipping?

Putting the wrong information comes with its risks and disadvantages.

You may get things wrong the first time or as an accident since to error is human.

When you put incorrect information on the documents, your goods risk getting lost, getting shipped to the wrong destination, or incurring extra charges.

It also delays your shipment and cost you more to fix the errors.

When you violate the set rules and regulations regarding cross-border shipping will result in fines and penalties.

Therefore, it is important to be very accurate on your parcel details and invoices, among other necessary documents.

What is the Return Policy for Cross Border Shipping?

You can get goods returned if the recipient country denies them or in cases of damaged goods.

The items might have gone to the wrong destination, or the order didn’t match the delivery.

There are rules and regulations set for returning goods to their country of origin in cases where there is a change of mind.

Some goods are eligible for a return policy, while with others you cannot.

Goods get limited for return after a certain number of days.

Other times the buyer gets a refund or a free charge replacement of the products if the fault is on the seller.

Different sellers have different policies put in place.

China accepts the return of goods within seven days of delivery.

What is the Difference Between a Shipping Carrier and Cross Border Partner?

A shipping carrier is an individual/company responsible for the transportation of the goods on behalf of a person.

They take up any loss incurred during shipment.

A cross border partners help in delivering your goods even in remote areas.

So relatively, there is no big difference.

They both do the same work.

 COSCO shipping lane

COSCO Shipping Line

What is a Packing Slip?

It is a document that shows what’s inside the package to be shipped.

It indicates the weight, date of order, and lists of all the goods that have gotten packed for shipping.

Are There Risks in Cross-border Shipping?

Certain risks can be involved when your goods are in transit.

They may include delays, damages, or theft or get subjected to piracy and hijackers along the way.

You also risk surcharges or entry denial to the country of destination.

More valuable r larger goods are associated with bigger risks involved.

These risks can be due to an inside job or just an accident or sometimes natural disasters.

It is best if you insure your goods before transporting them to another country.

Are there Any Surcharges or Hidden Fees You will Incur in Cross Border Shipping?

You may get additional charges incurred during cross border shipping due to various reasons.

You can get charged extra if the destination is in remote areas.

Other extra fees may include a delivery fee if it’s residential or if the delivery gets done on weekends.

How do you Pack Products for Cross Border Shipping?

Correctly packing your goods is important if you want a safe delivery to your recipient.

It does not only build a good reputation with your customers; it also saves you money and dealing with returned goods.

The packaging material determines the safeness of your goods.

Different types of products require different packaging materials depending on the weight, size, shape, and if it’s fragile or not.

Your package is going to pass through many hands before it reaches its destination.

Separate the items by separately wrapping them if they are likely to get damaged when they bump into each other.

Add a filler material to the package for cushioning and then seal it.

Tapes are the ideal sealing materials used in most packaging; those designed for shipping.

Provide a tight sealing with the H-tape to keep the goods secure.

When you want to transport valuable and fragile goods, pack them in a box and then place the package onto another box, fill and seal.

The last step is to properly label your packages before they get shipped across the border.

Always label outside and have duplicate labeling inside the package.

Packaging for cross boarder shipping

Packaging for cross-boarder shipping

How do you Prevent Possible Delays in Cross Border Shipping?

You may experience delays in customs clearance due to several reasons.

Any incorrect details or possession of prohibited goods will cause a delay at the customs.

To ensure you do not get stuck in this situation, here are ways to keep you safe from delays.

Know the policies set in place for your destination country.

Each country will require different entry requirements for the specific goods you are shipping to that country.

Familiarize yourself with the taxation of the country your goods are getting imported.

When choosing a shipment carrier, it is best to partner with offering support with the customs clearance.

They ensure such problems get solved in advance before any delays get caused.

Have all the shipment documentation correctly filled in to avoid possible delays.

Proper documentation ensures all the senders’ and recipients’ information are correct.

The shipping details should also be in place, and they should match the value of the goods.

Missing or inaccurate information raises suspicion and makes the delays longer as they trace the missing documents.

Do have your BOL, commercial invoice, packing list, and other necessary documents at hand.

You can save time by sending them before the arrival of your goods to the destination country.

Lastly, ensure the data is visible and readable.

Do you need Insurance in Cross Border Shipping?

Cross border shipping comes with its own risks.

For this reason, you will need to have your goods insured.

Your shipment risks getting lost, hijacked, or damaged by natural disasters during transportation.

It is best if you insure your products from China to cover the possible damages incurred.

You can insure them by yourself or have a third-party insurance cover the risks for you.

Which Courier Service Providers are Best for Cross Border Shipping?

These logistic companies provide the best services in ensuring efficient shipping from China.

· FedEx

Shipping cross border with FedEx is typically fast and easy.

Your shipment takes about 1-3 working days to deliver countrywide.

It helps you track your goods from China up to its destination.

Its regional office is found in Shanghai.

Their services include International Economy Freight, International Priority Freight, International Priority Direct Distribution, etc.


It’s the world’s largest courier for transporting goods from China to another country.

Its regional office is located in Beijing.

The company provides international shipping and other services.

These include DHL; Air Charter, Air Freight Plus, Air Connect, Air Combined, Air Priority, Air Economy, and Air Thermonet.


Located in Shanghai, this courier service provides international shipping.

The other regional offices are located in Beijing and Guangzhou.

It provides Trade Direct, Campus Shipping, Internet Shipping, Worldwide Expedited, World ship, and Worldwide Express Freight.


Its main office in China is based in Shanghai, but it has other regional offices in different cities within China.

It provides Air Freight, Fastest Express, Economy Express, and Air Charter.

· ePacket Shipping

This is a cost-effective shipping solution when importing from China to other global destination.

In fact, it is a common shipping solution if you are buying from AliExpress.

What are the Benefits of Cross Border Shipping?

Some of the benefits of cross-boarder shipping include:

· It Creates Awareness

Cross border shipping allows your business brand to get known internationally.

Your brand gets recognized in different markets worldwide as you make new connections with consumers.

· High Revenue

Expanding your business to international markets creates more revenue with added profits.

Your revenue increases with the increase in product demand.

· Increased Demand

There is always a higher demand for products that are not locally available.

When sold locally, you may get low profits compared to when you extend your sales to another country.

The demand gets higher to countries that wish to have that product but lack it.

Identifying these markets makes it easier to sell to them.

· Increased Customers and Creating a Good Customer Relationship

Taking your business internationally will gain you more customers.

It is beneficial both to the buyer and the seller.

Trusted brands with good products create a strong customer relationship.

Everyone likes to shop online, and having products they have faith in will increase more customers wanting to import your products.

Why should you use a Multi-carrier Solution in Cross Border Shipping?

Here are some of the reasons why you should consider multi-carrier:

· Multi-carrier Services are Flexible and Cost-effective

They ensure fast shipping to your customers and creating a steady flow of business.

Single carriers offer standard freight; therefore, you will need multiple carrier services for different goods.

· Reduced Risks

Single carriers cause more damages and loss when risks occur.

You risk losing all your products at once.

With multiple carriers, all your goods get shipped separately and are not subjected to the same risk at once.

It helps mitigate possible risks involved in cross border shipping.

· Discounts

You get to negotiate with different carriers for a reduced freight cost.

Multiple carriers give you the power of negotiation, making you get lower rates.

· Good Customer Relationship

Customers are able to get their goods delivered on time.

It also improves the customer experience.

Do you use Incoterms in Cross Order Shipping?

International Commercial Terms (Incoterms) are 3-letter coded terms by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC).

They have been put in outlining the duties and the responsibilities of both the importer and the exporter.

You need them when doing cross border shipping as they communicate risks and tasks involved in your transactions.

The 13 terms set enables the seller and the buyer to know their duty boundaries.

It helps in communicating the place, port of shipment point, and also the port of destination.

Some of the Incoterms include:

  • EXW
  • FCA
  • FAS
  • FOB
  • CFR
  • CIF
  • CPT
  • CIP

What Determines the Cost of Cross Border Shipping?

Here are some of the critical factors that will affect the cost of shipping:

· Weight and Size of the Goods

Freight costs get determined by the weight of your packages.

Goods with low-density will cost you higher since they are bulky.

Different products require different packaging, with others needing special packaging.

Shipping in bulk is slightly cheaper than transporting single products at a time.

Sometimes you get to negotiate when using multiple carriers and get low rates.

Using standard-sized packaging provided by the carrier services does not cost much.

Your own packaging brings extra charges in cases of extra dimensions.

· Insurance

The cost of insurance is determined by the risk associated with your goods.

Third-party insurance can cost less compared to when you insure the goods by yourself.

Insurance can also add cost to your original shipment budget.

· Destination

Geographical location determines how much you need to pay for transporting your goods.

It depends if your shipment gets transported to shorter/longer distances, remote areas, or landlocked countries.

The greater the destination’s distance from the country of origin, the higher the cost involved.

· Time of Delivery

The time of delivery depends on the country of origin and the destination country.

The price will depend on whether your carrier will deliver in a specific time or not.

Costs differ whether you want express deliveries or standard deliveries.

· Taxes and Duties

Taxes and duties get paid separately, and this varies with each country’s customs regulations.

Some goods get taxed highly than others.

· Tracking

It is an added security to your goods or products and increases your shipping cost.

You get an increased shipping fee for securing your goods from getting lost before reaching its destination.

· Type of Carrier

Multiple carriers cost more compared to when you’re using a single carrier.

Each shipping carrier will have its own designated cost depending on the services offered.

· Surcharges

Additional charges add up to your initial freight cost.

The common additional charges are caused by fuel fluctuations in the market.

Charges during off-peak are different from peak seasons.

You get charged extra for restricted goods and other hazardous goods.

Other additional costs may arise due to: remote area deliveries, more paperwork needed, handling cost, oversized goods, and so forth.

What is EPL?

Excluded Partial List includes transportation, conveyance, and carriage.

Do you need a Freight Forwarder in Cross Border Shipping?

Freight forwarders plan and ensure the smooth transportation of the goods on behalf of the shipper.

They are important in cross border shipping.

They help you with negotiations, tracking, and customs clearance in regards to your shipment.

As a leading freight forwarder in China, BanSar offer perfect solutions that save on both time and money.

You don’t have to worry about the cost, shipping containers, booking space or warehousing, BanSar offers affordable solutions for your shipping needs.

Contact BanSar now for all your cross boarder shipping needs.

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