Sending goods overseas for aid, charity or donation purposes?
Australians are amongst the greatest donators for humanitarian reasons in the world.
This is all well and good and gives us a great sense of feeling like we are doing good things, but often the sentiment can be in conflict with the rules and regulations of the people and countries that we are trying to help.
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 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 this is not as simple as it seems.
First and foremost, you need to have a specific entity to send the goods to.
Too often, a group of people get together for a cause and collect books, furniture, clothing, building materials and the like, with a specific aim, but no thought has gone into working out 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, and these MUST be taken into account before any such 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 and 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.
And shipping lines have a specific time at each end for the free time allowed to have the container, or in the case of LCL (pallets) there are only three free days allowed at destination (and often including weekends). And then there will be Customs Procedures at the port of destination.
An alternative to this may be for the purchase of a container here that can be kept for extended time here and then be used for storage or resale at the other end. There are rules concerning the size and type of containers that can be shipped. We can purchase seaworthy containers on your behalf.
In such cases, it is important that a full list of all items be made, and all items MUST be secured inside the container to prevent any movement and damage.
So, in short, what you need to do is:
1) make sure you have an 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) make sure you comply with all goods requirements (eg whitegoods, motor vehicles and so on)
4) arrange collection and centralisation of goods
5) arrange to have pallets, or a container and packing materials.
6) Have someone at destination who can act on your or the end customer’ behalf to deal with import customs clearance, transport to the end customer and pay any charges on your behalf.
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.