Are you thinking about buying a shipping container to import or export goods to the United States? Every year millions of shipping containers enter U.S. ports. The modular design of standard shipping containers is ideal for transport by ship with easy transition to rail or truck upon arrival in the U.S.
If you do not have experience with importing or exporting cargo, there are many rules and regulations to learn. Follow along for more information about shipping cargo in a container to the United States.
- Prepare To Declare Your Goods – When you ship a container of goods into the United States, you must declare the items that you are shipping to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). This is required to make sure that you are complying with U.S. regulations.
- Obtain The Required Permits And/Or Licensure – Depending on what you are shipping, you often are required to have a permit or license. Several U.S. agencies require licensure for imported goods, depending on the items that you are importing. Certain regions of the U.S. also require a special license from local government offices or states.
- Learn About Import Quotas – Depending on what you are shipping, certain commodities have import quotas that restrict the volume allowed to enter the U.S. in an established period of time.
- Contact Your Port Of Entry – Before you ship cargo to the United States, you may want to reach out of the U.S. port of entry where your items will first arrive. There are over 300 U.S. ports of entry (and this includes sea, air and land). Speaking with a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) import specialist can be very useful if you have any questions or concerns. Keep in mind that ports of entry also conduct inspections related to agriculture in order to protect against diseases that might damage crops, animals, and the environment more broadly.
- Have Answers To Common Questions – When you contact the port of entry, it’s beneficial to have information available for common questions you might be asked including the following:
- Location where the items are from or made
- Composition of merchandise
- Planned use for the goods being imported
- Pricing/value so in order to calculate shipment value
- Consider Working With A Licensed Customs Broker – While not a requirement, many people new to international shipping work with licensed customs brokers to help navigate the process. Customs brokers are licensed by the CBP but they are not employees of this agency. There are over 10,000 licensed customs brokers currently operating in the U.S.
- Make Sure To Have The Necessary Documentation – The CBP requires specific information. Before trying to import goods into the U.S. you will need to have an IRS business registration number or an importer number. If you are importing goods as an individual and you are not a business, you might be able to provide your social security number. You can request an importer number when your customs paperwork is submitted. Typically this form is needed at the port of entry.
There is a lot of important information to know regarding international cargo shipping to the United States. For answers to many more detailed questions, it is advisable to visit the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website. For additional information about purchasing a shipping container suitable for international shipment, contact Moon Trailer Leasing today. Call 502-776-2199 for details about our selection of new and used shipping containers.