June 13, 2024

Customs refers to a government function responsible for regulating the flow of goods, including animals, vehicles, personal effects and hazardous materials, into and out of a country. They also collect duties and taxes on imported goods. 

In most cases, the shipper is responsible for dealing with customs when shipping FCL (full container load) shipments. The shipper will need to provide accurate and complete documentation to clear customs. 

Once customs have cleared the shipment, it will be released for delivery. In some cases, Customs may require the consignee to pay duties and taxes before taking possession of the goods.

What documentation is required in FCL shipping?

The documentation required for FCL shipping will vary depending on the destination country. However, some standard documents will be required in most cases. These include: 

The Bill of Lading

The Bill of Lading (B/L) is a document that lists the shipment’s details, including the shipper, consignee, and notify party (if applicable), as well as the port of loading and discharge. It also includes information about the type of vessel, voyage number, and container number (if applicable). 

The commercial invoice

The commercial invoice is a document that lists the details of the goods being shipped, including the description, quantity, value, and HS code. 

The packing list

The packing list is a document that lists the contents of each package in the shipment. It should include the dimensions and weight of each package and the number of pieces. 

The certificate of origin

The certificate of origin is a shipping document that certifies that the goods being shipped are of domestic origin and is only required if the destination country prefers goods of domestic origin. 

The shipper’s letter of instruction

The shipper’s letter of instruction is a legal document that provides instructions to the freight forwarder or customs broker on clearing the shipment through customs. 

Why you should use a professional shipping company to transport your goods

When shipping FCL, it is essential to use a professional and experienced shipping company. They will be familiar with the customs process and requirements in both the country of origin and destination, which will help avoid delays or issues with your shipment. 

A professional shipping company will also have established relationships with customs officials, further facilitating the clearance process. In addition, they can provide you with guidance and assistance with completing the necessary documentation. 

How to choose the best shipping company?

When choosing a shipping company for your FCL shipment, there are a few things to consider. First, you should check that they have experience shipping the type of goods you send. 

Second, you should inquire about their procedures for customs clearance. Finally, it would help if you got quotes from multiple companies to compare rates and services. 

What are the risks of using FCL shipping for your cargo?

While FCL shipping is generally a reliable and efficient way to transport your goods, there are some risks to consider. First, if your shipment is delayed or held up in customs, it can cause significant delays in receiving your goods. 

Second, if your shipment is lost or damaged, you may be responsible for the cost of replacement or repair. Finally, if your goods are subject to duties and taxes, you will need to pay these before taking possession of your shipment. 

How to avoid the risks associated with FCL shipping?

You can do a few things to avoid the risks associated with FCL shipping:

       Make sure you use a reliable and experienced shipping company.

       Be sure to provide accurate and complete documentation to avoid delays in customs clearance.

       Be aware of the potential for duties and taxes on your shipment to budget for these expenses. 


FCL shipping is a popular and efficient way to transport goods internationally. However, there are some risks to consider before shipping your goods. by using a reputable shipping company and providing accurate documentation, you can avoid these risks and ensure a smooth shipping process.

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