International Ocean and Air Freight

Packing Tips/Miscellaneous

Full Container Loads (FCL)
No matter the size of the container, if you will be the only customer using a container the shipment is referred to as an FCL shipment.

Less than a Container Load (LCL)
If you share a container with another customer sending goods this shipment is a consolidated shipment referred to as an LCL shipment.

Some of the tips below are general tips for both FCL and LCL shipments and some of them apply specifically to one or the other as noted.

Cost Savings
You can save a huge amount of money if you pack and load your own container.  If you prefer to have someone else do it for you, call a local mover and ask for a FIRM quote.  When ready we will arrange the shipment from your house to the port of destination.

Supply your own packing materials (primarily for LCL shipments)
Use "heavy duty" or double walled corrugated boxes.  Rubbermaid type containers are acceptable, as long as lids are tightly secured. Do not ship in manufacturer packaging where the contents are pictured or listed on the outside of the container. Ship in plain brown or unmarked boxes and/or crates.

While this is a good rule of thumb for all shipments it is a must if you are shipping LCL as boxing protects your goods from damage and helps alleviate the risk of your goods getting mixed up with the other shippers goods.

Keep track of what you are shipping
When loading the container be sure that you count the number of pieces that are loaded in the container.  This information is needed by the both the shipping company and the overseas customs agent. This is a must for FCL shipments. If you are shipping LCL
your pieces will be counted when they are picked up by the trucker or when delivered to the freight station.

It’s also a good idea to keep track of what is in each box.  Label boxes numerically.  So if you have a total of 30 boxes, label boxes 1 of 30, 2 of 30, 3 of 30, etc.  and keep a record of what is in each box.  This helps with insurance claims, can help with customs in some instances and helps you more easily unpack your goods.

Some countries even require a detailed list of all your items shipped with a value for each item.

If you need a form for this let us know and we will send one to you.

Packing well protects your goods well
All items should be packed properly for export.  Items must be boxed or crated if you are shipping LCL. Your boxes will be stacked in an ocean container, with other cargo, including commercial shipments.  It is important to use sturdy boxes that are packed well. 

Some odd shaped items are acceptable, if wrapped well with protective materials and covered with thick plastic. Use a good quality packing tape to close and secure all of your packaging. Do not use duct tape. 

The origin warehouse may reject your shipment, if they believe that it is not properly packaged for export or they may require that the cargo be palletized before they will accept.  Please see below for more information about palletizing.

If you use wooden crates, make sure they are fumigated.  Do not pack anything in wooden cases that have not been fumigated.  Most countries will not allow any cargo to be imported if the wood packing boxes have not been fumigated.  If you want to use wooden crates you ask your packer to use fumigated lumber.  Any wood or pallets must have ISPM 15 certification, which is an international standard that was developed to help reduce the spread of wood born pests in solid wood packaging materials.   It is important that you use this certified wood, as if you don’t your container could be sent back.  You may also incur fines and you will be then be responsible for all costs if they return the container.

Fragile items should be packed with care
If you are shipping fragile items, we highly recommend crating or palletizing your shipment.  If shipping loose, you must use double walled boxes and wrap fragile items with enough bubble wrap to prevent breakage.

Our quotes are based on shipping individual or loose boxes.  That is the most cost effective way to ship. However if safety is of concern, you can palletize and shrink-wrap your entire shipment at a container freight station. Your boxes will be placed on a heat-treated wooden pallet and wrapped in plastic.  We recommend palletizing your shipment if you have fragile and/or expensive items. Palletizing will increase the size of your shipment and there is also a cost for the pallet, so while this method may add some costs, your goods will be more protected.

If you decide to palletize your shipment, you must advise us in writing before delivery to the origin warehouse.  The pallet cost will be included on your invoice. Do not pay anything at the receiving warehouse.  If the warehouse staff
asks for payment, please call our email us.

It is mandatory to palletize personal effects shipments to Saudi Arabia.

Francisco International reserves the right to require shipments be palletized if deemed that they are not packaged properly for export. The shipper will be responsible for associated costs.

Note: Most people that ship FCL shipments don’t use pallets.   If you use pallets, make sure they have been fumigated.

Pallet Costs
Unfortunately, we are not able to give an accurate quote for palletizing.  Palletizing will increase your ocean freight costs, anywhere from 30 - 50% or more, depending on your packaging and the size of your boxes. The entire shipping package, including the pallet, is measured 40" x 48" x the highest measure of your cargo.  This will include any space between boxes, so it is best to make sure that all of your boxes are the same size and fit evenly on a 40" x 48" pallet in order to keep the cost down. Pallets cost anywhere from $40 to $55 USD each.


Make sure your car or appliances can be serviced in your destination country
Some countries use different voltage and cycles . You may need convertors.   If you are buying an appliance some stores sell appliance with your destination country’s specifications.  If you have appliance brands that are not well known, you should find out if they sell or service that brand in your destination country to make sure that replacement parts are available.  
The same goes with cars.  Many countries do not sell or service all the hybrid car brands.

We offer pick up in the U.S.
We do offer pick up service in most areas.  We must have an accurate weight, piece count and box dimensions in order to quote a truck pick up.  You can use our weight and volume calculator to obtain a more accurate estimate.  Please note, many pick-ups are serviced by commercial trucking companies and are curb pick up only. This means that you may have to bring your boxes to the curb for the driver to load into the truck. You also have the option of delivering the container to a freight station nearby (recommended to save you costs if the freight station is not far from you).  We can help you find the freight station nearest you.

Transit times
Transit times depend on where your goods originate and the destination port. Europe is generally two to 5 weeks, most destinations in the Far East 4 to 5 weeks, India is 5 to 6 weeks, Mexico is 1 to 2 weeks and Latin America is 3 to 5 weeks.  We cannot guarantee arrival dates.

What you can’t ship
The following lists items that we do not accept for shipment for any shipment regardless of destination.  Each destination country may have additional restrictions. 





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