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Getting your goods or services to international markets

Whether you are trading in goods or services, the logistics of getting them to your export market can be a complex undertaking with many considerations.

Exporting a service

When delivering a service, you will need to know about any requirements for entering or staying in a country, such as passports, entry visas or work permits. Find out if there are professional certification requirements. You will want to inquire further about local telecommunication systems, electricity requirements, meeting facilities, business support systems, travel and accommodation, and anything else you need to deliver your service.

Exported services tend to be delivered using one or more of the following methods:

Delivering goods

If you are selling goods to another country, you will need to consider a number of factors.

Shipping options

Choosing a shipping method may depend on the type of goods, their destination, the cost and how fast you need to get them to your customer. There are four basic methods of transportation and you may end up using a combination of these:

Shipping documents

Shipping documents are prepared by you or by your freight forwarder. They allow the shipment to pass through customs, to be loaded onto a carrier and transported to the destination. Key shipping documents include:

Packing, marking and labelling your goods

Help your products arrive on time and in good condition by paying attention to the packing, marking and labelling. Failing to do so could get them stalled at the border. Consider the following:

Marking distinguishes your goods from those of other shippers. The required markings may include some or all of the following:

Follow labelling, packaging or advertising regulations that apply to your goods in the importing country.

Transportation insurance

Cargo insurance is highly recommended for international transportation because:


To provide a common terminology for international shipping and to minimize misunderstandings, a set of terms known as Incoterms was developed by the International Chamber of Commerce. The terms are available in many different languages and are used to describe key terms that are used in international shipping.

Freight forwarders

These companies specialize in getting your goods from point A to point B. They can handle all of your logistical requirements or simply help negotiate shipping rates with shipping lines, airlines, trucking companies, customs brokers and insurance firms.

Many of them specialize in arranging shipments to certain countries, while others concentrate on particular types of products. If you are arranging financing through letters of credit, a good freight forwarder can help you clarify the conditions of the transaction.

Customs brokers

These service providers can help you clear goods through customs, prepare customs documentation and remit duties owing on exported goods. They are also good sources of information on recent tariff changes and other customs-related developments.

For more information

Learn more in Step #7 of the Step-by-Step Guide to Exporting.


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