Here at Export Logistics Guide (ELG), we receive a lot of questions from our readers looking for helpful information regarding specific types of shipments. We’ve decided to create a regular series where we offer suggestions. While we may not be able to answer all of your inquiries, we will be choosing some of the more interesting and offering our advice. However, remember that each shipment will be different and could require additional steps. Hopefully, you’ll find this series both helpful and interesting.
Our company is looking to ship a sample from our warehouse to the Netherlands and we are wondering what kind of paperwork would be needed. At this time I am not sure what the sample is for sure but that it will weigh 5-10 kgs and be a DG.
Dangerous Goods (DG) shipments require careful planning. I’ll give you a basic checklist and also provide additional information on why you need to do each step.
- Determine the Terms of Sale
- Obtain a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS)
- Find a qualified DG packager
- Determine if cargo will go air or ocean
- Ask your freight forwarder to prepare a quotation and check with the carrier on specific requirements
- Involve your customer
Terms of Sale or International Incoterms, – determines when your responsibilities as the shipper start and end. If you are shipping this cargo Delivered Duty Paid (DDP), you will be responsible for the shipment from your door to the consignee’s door. DDP would include all aspects and risks including insurance, duties, taxes, freight and customs clearance processes. Knowing your responsibility is the first step.
MSDS – An MSDS can be obtained from the company where the product was purchased.
DG Packer – a packer who specializes in handling hazardous cargo. Handling DG cargo must be done by a certified professional who understands proper packaging & labeling insuring the cargo meets all DG Regulations.
Air or Ocean transport – The type of commodity you are shipping will determine whether you can ship via air or due to regulations may only ship via ocean. Once the cargo has arrived at a foreign port or airport it will need to travel to the final destination via truck or rail. This transport plan needs to be well thought out prior to shipment.
Freight Forwarder – Most international freight forwarders have trained personnel who are authorized to handle DG shipments. Work with your forwarder to determine what mode of transport you will be using. Your freight forwarder will also be able to assist with documentation requirements both in the US and abroad. Documentation required will include a commercial invoice, DG packing list, MSDS, shipper’s letter of instruction and perhaps a certificate of origin. However, if your freight forwarder determines additional documentation is required, you must comply. As the shipper, you are responsible for providing proper export documentation to your freight forwarder.
Customer – Involve your customer! Giving your customer all of the details prior to shipment, no matter what Incoterms you are shipping under, will enable them to work with the local agencies in the country receiving the goods to avoid customs seizure and penalities.