FAQ: International Logistics

When shipping a product overseas, the exporter must be aware of packing, labeling, documentation, and insurance requirements.

The Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) have been separated into the following categories:

See the questions below for more generalized information

What services do freight forwarders provide and how can I find one?

What are some common export documents and where can I find samples?

What is the ATA Carnet?

What are Incoterms?

What are some resources that can help with exporting U.S. food and agricultural products?

What services do freight forwarders provide and how can I find one?

An international freight forwarder is an agent for the exporter and can move cargo from “dock-to-door,” providing several significant services. These services and how to locate one are described on our freight forwarders page.

What are some common export documents and where can I find samples?

There are a number of documents that are commonly used in exporting, but specific requirements vary by destination and product. These common export documents are described on our Common Export Documents page. Links to example documents are included when available.

What is the ATA Carnet?

An ATA Carnet (a. k. a. "Merchandise Passport") is a document that facilitates the temporary importation of products into foreign countries by eliminating tariffs and value-added taxes (VAT) or the posting of a security deposit normally required at the time of importation.

What are Incoterms?

The new INCOTERMS® 2010 became effective January 1, 2011.

Incoterms--which is an abbreviation for International Commercial terms--are a series of sales terms. They are published by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and are widely used in commercial transactions. In addition to providing a set of rules for the interpretation of commonly used trade terms, INCOTERMS® 2010 accomplish the following:

1. Significantly revises Group D listed in INCOTERMS® 2000;

2. Reduce Incoterms from four groups to two groups, allowing trade experts to choose the most suitable rule related to the mode of transport; and

3. Reduce the absolute number of Incoterms from 13 to 11.

Moreover, INCOTERMS® 2010 offer additional guidance which assists users in selecting the most appropriate Incoterm for each transaction. The revised terms also spell out rules regarding the use of electronic procedures; detail information on security-related clearances for shipments; and offer advice with respect to domestic trade.

Learn more about Incoterms 2010

What are some resources that can help with exporting U.S. food and agricultural products?

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) provides numerous online resources for agricultural exporters, including import requirements for specific products and countries. For additional assistance with agricultural exports please contact the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service: (202) 690-3576.


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