Support & FAQ
Some frequently asked questions are listed below. Please take a look at them and see if your question has already been answered. If not, ask us via the message form, or bring it up with your agent.
How can we help you?
Shipping by air is much more expensive than by sea; however, it is much faster. If you have a small amount of cargo, it may be feasible for you to ship by air. On the other hand, if you have a larger amount (such as a container-sized load) or urgency is not an issue, we recommend shipping it by sea.
An HS code is a number that describes your commodity. Each commodity has one. Countries will use HS codes as a common way to understand exactly what your cargo is. You can search your cargo here: hts.usitc.gov.
Similar to HS codes, Schedule B codes are for the US purposes only. This would apply when you’re declaring to US customs for export or import.
Pack your shipment as if you were moving and had to ship it by truck. As long as it can fit in a truck, we can take it to a consolidator who’ll do the work from there. If you have individual pallets, vehicles, or bulkier items, contact us for other options.
For relief cargoes, we distinguish four kinds of values. Because these are donations, cash is not normally “paid” for such commodities. So different valuations are used for different purposes.
1. Donation Value is used when commodities have a true worth prior to donation, such as new goods in prime condition. It tends to be on the high side and is often used in income and financial statements. Oftentimes these valuations are set by the donor. We don’t always get or require this value to schedule your project. AERDO may have guidelines for donation value.
2. The exporter normally sets an Insurance Value to cover expenses like ocean freight, cargo handling, procurement, service fees, etc. These expenses are rarely precise, as the commodities involved are not usually bought for cash. When they’re not set by the exporter, we’re often asked to estimate the insurance value.
3. Export Value is the value on the “Shippers Export Declaration“. U.S. Customs says this should be the “fair domestic appraised value”, which is the price one could get selling the goods in the marketplace. Ultimately, this value is rather subjective. By the time the commodity is readied for shipment, it is already designated as a donation – a free gift. In that sense, it is rarely worth the full donation value. On the other hand, it is not worth $0.00. This valuation is rarely precise.
4. Import Value is the “customs value”, which is the value presented to customs of the destination country. Customs always needs to have some sort of “invoice” or declaration of value for cargoes entering their country. We cannot say $0.00 and say it is a gift; that would cause Customs to “review” how something can be worth zero. So, we normally estimate a reasonable, low value, which will allow it to go through customs without any further interrogation. This approach is proper because the cargo, being free, is really not invoiced and will not cause the destination country to pay out from their foreign exchange reserves. The invoice is just used for statistical and administrative work, but should Customs unexpectedly charge a duty, this value ensures a low basis for that fee.
Though we recommend a low customs import value, sometimes the exporter wants a high customs import value. In one case, the exporter explained that since the consignee (receiving party) was going to pay for the onward carriage, a high value was specified to allow the consignee to feel his expense was really ‘worth it’. Jack’s How to Plan Your Shipment booklet talks about very thing. You can view it here. See pages 7-8.