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Sending goods overseas for aid, charity or donation purposes?

Australians are amongst the greatest donators for humanitarian reasons in the world. If you are collecting goods for overseas donations, however, there are some important things you need to be aware of.

Making overseas donations gives us a great sense of feeling like we are doing good things. Often, however, the sentiment can be in conflict with the rules and regulations of the people and countries that we are trying to help.Send goods overseas via air or sea freight

Because many Australians travel to these places and the people are mostly friendly, it is very common for groups to form with the aim of supplying goods to sponsor villages or charities in need. They provide items such as books, food, blankets and building materials to specific villages or areas that have suffered from natural disasters, or sometimes just to help improve the education and way of life of villagers and children.

The sentiment is fantastic; unfortunately, the process is not as simple as it seems.

Preparing for overseas donation of goods.

First and foremost, you need to have a specific entity to send the goods to.

Commonly, a group of people get together for a cause and collect books, furniture, clothing, building materials and the like, with a specific aim. Often, however, no further thought has gone into achieving the end goal. No-one has worked out specifically who or how to send the items that are collected (or planned to collect). Nor is there much consideration given to the cost of doing this.

Every country has its own rules concerning such matters. These MUST be taken into account before any charitable venture is started.

All applications and approvals can be completed in a very short period of time, or may be extended depending on the nature of the project and the effort and urgency shown by all concerned.

Presuming this has all happened and you are ready to proceed, there are a few procedures to be completed. Not the least of which is that this is going to cost money and time which needs to be sorted BEFORE anything can happen.

Usually, a group will get together and get all sorts of donated goods sent to one single collection point. The goods can then be packed on to pallets or into containers for shipping.

Shipping Lines and Freight Consolidators WILL charge for the freight, no matter what. There may be some concessions for registered charities, but there are no concessions for individuals or groups who just get together for the supply of items for any reason.

Charity Parcels air or ocean freight

Purchasing a shipping container

Shipping lines provide only a specific time at each end for the free time allowed to have the container. In the case of LCL (Less than Container Load) shipments there are only three free days allowed at destination. This can often be inclusive of weekends. Furthermore, there will also be Customs Procedures to consider at the port of destination. When shipping containers are being leased through the shipping lines, this may not provide enough time for your needs.

An alternative to this may be for the purchase of a container in Australia. The shipping container can then be kept for extended time here and also be used for storage or resale at the other end. If you are considering purchasing a shipping container, there are rules concerning the size and type that can be shipped. We can purchase seaworthy shipping containers on your behalf.

In such cases, it is important that a full list of all items be made. Additionally, all items MUST be secured inside the container to prevent any movement and damage. Your overseas donations are much more likely to arrive safely as intended.


Overseas charity donations checklist

1) Ensure that you have an appropriate entity and contact details of whom to send the goods to.

2) Make sure you have written confirmation from the appropriate authority that you can do what you want to do.

3) Confirm you comply with all goods requirements (eg whitegoods, motor vehicles and so on).

4) Arrange collection and centralisation of goods.

5) Organise pallets or a container, and sufficient packing materials.

6) Have someone at destination who can act on your or the end customer’ behalf to deal with import customs clearance. They will also need to arrange transport from port to the end customer and pay any charges on your behalf.


SPLS freight services – what we do is:

1) Arrange to deliver the container to your nominated site, and then return the full container to the port for shipping, or collection of pallets etc to the nominated container depot for consolidation with other cargo.

2) Pay the ocean freight on your behalf up to arrival port.

3) Arrange the necessary export clearance in order for your container to be shipped.

4) Provide you and your nominated customer or agent in with a copy of the shipping line Bill of Lading (transport document).

If you wish to proceed, please contact us to discuss your requirements and for us to jointly prepare a specific freight plan to ensure all your requirements are met for the least possible cost.