Until recently, the only companies that could feasibly access overseas markets were large conglomerates. Luckily, that is no longer the situation. In recent years, international shipping has become more accessible to all firms – no matter the size. Today, start-ups and medium-sized family businesses can move their goods around the world just as seamlessly as major corporations do.
If your firm is looking to start selling internationally, read on for the ultimate guide to shipping from the Gambia to the USA.
Why Should I Start Shipping to the USA?
There is no denying that the USA is one of the most desired international markets to start shipping to as it is the wealthiest market in the world. However, due to it being such an advanced economy, it is also one of the most competitive across all industries, not to mention American shoppers have some of the highest standards and expectations when it comes to goods and shipping processes.
This shouldn’t scare you away from starting to export to the USA. In fact, it should encourage and motivate you to ensure that your products and shipping processes are of the highest standard possible.
There are many benefits to exporting your products to the USA:
- First and foremost, it can significantly increase your overall sales and profits while reducing your complete reliance on a single domestic market.
- Additionally, by expanding the reach of your business and broadening your customer base, it also helps you to be more competitive domestically.
- Exporting your products adds sustainable life to your current products while levelling out seasonal products and market fluctuations to obtain an evener production schedule and sales performance.
- Finally, your firm can take advantage of advancements in trade finance, the internet, and trade agreements that have significantly expanded access to worldwide markets.
For all these reasons and more, opting to export to the USA can be fruitful for all businesses. Generally, when done correctly, exporting results in quicker sales, faster growth, and more profit for your company.
How Do I Start Shipping to the USA?
Before you book freight, your first step to start shipping to the USA is to understand the required documentation. The requested documents include a CBP Form 7533 (Entry Manifest), a CBP Form 3461 (Application and Special Permit for Delivery), confirmation of the right to admission, a commercial or pro forma statement, and packing lists. If your shipment is valued at over $2,500, you will need to exhibit evidence that a bond has been set with CBP to cover duties, taxes, and charges.
Additionally, ensure that you are knowledgeable about the restricted goods and materials. Some of these include:
- Food and Drink Items: Dairy Products, Fruits, Vegetables, Nuts, Meat, Poultry, Egg Products, Alcoholic Beverages
- Household Items: Household and Electronic Appliances, Children’s Toys, Motor Vehicles, Boats, Bicycles, Flammable Fabrics
- Equipment: Industrial and Commercial Equipment, Arms and Ammunition, Radiofrequency Devices, Pesticides, Petroleum Products, Fireworks
- Products and Substances: Plants and Plant Products, Tobacco-Related Products, Drug Paraphernalia, Toxic and Hazardous Substances
To circumvent issues at customs, you must confirm the admissibility of your proposed USA shipments with the relevant controlling agencies before starting to export.
What Are the Available Options for Shipping to the USA?
Most international shipments to the USA come by either ocean freight or air freight.
Ocean freight is usually the cheapest option for moving goods to the USA (generally four to six times less expensive than air) and it is an ideal way to transport high volumes of cargo. Alternatively, if you are making a smaller shipment, your goods can be grouped with others to fill a container and keep costs down. Ships are also the most carbon-efficient mode of transportation. On the downside, ocean freight can also take the longest to reach the intended destination.
Airfreight is undoubtedly the fastest shipping method which is ideal when you want to move your goods quickly. Aeroplanes also provide reliable arrival and departure times, and the destinations available span every corner of the world. Airfreight requires less packing than ocean shipments, and there is also a reduced chance of theft and damage. With a shorter transportation time comes a lower insurance premium, although the cost of transportation by air freight is the highest of all options.
Who Can Help Me Make This Happen?
As a small or medium-sized business, the prospect of starting to export to the USA can be an overwhelming one. That is why it is highly recommended that you opt to work with an online freight forwarder as they will help you to manage all aspects of the shipping process. By partnering with a forward-thinking online freight forwarder, your firm can benefit from the developing shipping technologies. This ensures that you are offering the most reliable and efficient shipping practices possible to your customers.
No one wants to waste precious time and resources on shipping-related issues (you want to spend that time growing your business instead!). Therefore, by outsourcing the management of shipments to an online freight forwarder, you can be comforted to know that your team’s time is being spent wisely. Furthermore, it enables you to guarantee reliable tracking for both you and your consumer as you can regularly monitor the status of shipments and payments online. In other words, a freight forwarder will make your global shipping processes more efficient.
Too many small or medium-sized businesses owners shy away from starting to ship internationally because they are (understandably) afraid of the costs. However, this doesn’t have to be the case. A reputable online freight forwarding service will work with you to ensure you are selecting the most suitable combination of shipping methods – for the most competitive price.
What is more, the best online freight forwarding services can offer your company supply chain services (for example, documentation, tracking, and freight insurance). This guarantees that you are approaching your new shipping practices in the most manageable and thorough way. Many hurdles can be resolved simply by choosing to work with an online freight forwarder.
Is your business considering starting to ship internationally from the Gambia to the USA? Or, are you contemplating tapping other markets? What are the biggest challenges you are facing in terms of getting your international shipping started? Let us know your thoughts and any relevant experiences in the comments below!
As Chief Product Officer for Shipa Freight, Paul Rehmet is responsible for translating the vision of Shipa Freight into an easy-to-use online freight platform for our customers. Formerly Vice President of Digital Marketing for Agility, Paul managed Agility’s website, mobile apps, content marketing and online advertising campaigns. In his 25-year career, Paul has held various technology leadership positions with early-stage startups and Fortune 500 companies including Unisys, Destiny Web Solutions, and US Airways. Paul has a Masters in Software Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University and a Bachelor of Computer Science from Brown University. Paul is based in Philadelphia.