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An import and export business deals with shipping products across borders. When exporting your goods overseas, there are several components to prepare for. Each country, however, has its own regulations and procedures you must comply with, and it’s imperative that businesses take this into account. When shipping liquids, additional regulations are usually in place, especially if these liquids are alcoholic and flammable. Some types of liquids are often prohibited while others require special permits and packaging. This guide discusses the process of shipping liquids overseas, the customs taxes and duties these goods are subject to, and special tips on packaging these items.
There are certain restrictions and prohibitions when it comes to shipping liquids. In general, liquid products belong to one of three categories:
Inflammable and non-hazardous liquids may generally be shipped abroad from Singapore by air if they are packaged appropriately. One example of such liquids include wines, which must be shipped in temperature-controlled environments to maintain quality. Wine bottles are made of glass, which means they must also be well-cushioned during transit.
Hazardous and flammable liquids are prohibited in some countries. In others, you need special permits and must comply with certain restrictions. Perfumes, aerosols as well as beverages with higher alcohol content are some examples of hazardous and flammable liquids.
We discuss further below.
Shipping liquids internationally may get complicated as destination countries have different import regulations. For instance, there may be different requirements for packaging in different countries. As such, before shipping any liquid in bulk, complete the following steps:
Determine the category to which the fluids belong.
Check with the destination country’s customs authorities to determine if special permits are required. Apply for that permit if required.
Learn the requirements for packaging the item by checking with the logistics carrier or learning the destination country’s legal regulations.
Package the liquids accordingly.
Although non-flammable liquids can be easily shipped by air or sea, there are usually certain restrictions when shipping hazardous or flammable ones. For instance, you cannot ship flammable liquids like nail polish, perfumes, or alcoholic beverages by regular mail; you have to engage a logistics carrier that specialises in transporting these items. You also cannot ship aerosol cans and similar products by air as they may explode due to changes in air pressure.
Some countries prohibit the shipping of alcohol and alcoholic beverages. Certain carriers do not ship perfumes and nail polish internationally. Hence, before shipping liquids overseas, it is important to check your destination country’s regulations and logistics carrier’s policies.
Moreover, when you ship liquids internationally, the goods may be subject to customs duties and taxes. The taxes and duties imposed on imported goods by different countries vary depending on the type of goods in question and the country they originate from. Some countries impose a luxury tax on non-essential items such as perfumes. In such cases, you would incur additional taxes. Some countries impose higher taxes on alcoholic beverages. Always check the Harmonized System (HS Codes) of the liquid products you ship abroad to determine the amount of taxes and duties customs authorities in destination countries will impose.
To ensure a successful shipment, take the necessary steps to ensure the liquids are packaged properly. The tips below discuss how to package liquids, to ensure they are protected and do not cause any damage:
Seal the liquid container properly: Store the liquid in water-tight containers or bottles. Avoid filling the container to the brim, as if the liquid expands the container may break. You must seal the cap of the container with tape to secure its contents. You may also choose to double-seal it in the form of a peel-off lid.
Keep the container in a waterproof bag: Another way to secure the containers is to place them in a waterproof bag or vacuum-seal them.
Put the packed container in a cardboard box: Once the containers have been securely packed, you should place them in a corrugated cardboard box. You should also sufficiently cushion the bottom and walls of the cardboard box to ensure the containers do not get damaged. To ensure adequate cushioning, you may fill empty spaces with bubble wrap or packing peanuts. You may also place paper towels or moisture-absorbing materials inside the box to absorb any liquid in case of spillage.
Seal the package: Once all the containers have been securely packed inside the box, seal the box with strong tape. Use two layers of tape to ensure extra security.
Label the package: Label the box by adding stickers such as ‘Fragile’ or ‘Liquids’. This informs the relevant individuals that the shipment needs to be handled carefully. Also, place the label containing the parcel’s shipping and destination information on top of the box.
For smooth customs clearance, ensure customs compliance by following the steps listed in this article. Partnering with a third-party international shipping provider will make this process an easy one for you. Choose a reliable logistics carrier like DHL Express, which offers several services for transporting liquids internationally. Sign up for a DHL Express account today and start shipping liquids across borders.