MAKING AN EXPORT SHIPMENT 1. Follow instructions.—American exporters seem to have an innate constitutional objection to following instructions. In foreign trade that is poor business. When a certain method of packing is indicated, or a certain route over which the shipment is to be for warded, the instruction should be followed without question. Failure to do so may result in refusal of the shipment or unexpected expenses.
2. Packing and import instructions received from the foreign buyer may be based upon years of sad experience. This is especially true in regard to packing. The consignee knows, for ex ample, what methods of packing will assure the most favorable treatment by the customs officials. It is better to defer to this knowledge.
In many cases not more than one kind of an article should be packed in one container. This is in order to allow the less valuable articles to obtain the benefit of lower import duties. In other cases it pays to dis mantle the article if in parts, and ship the parts sep arately. Where the duty is levied on weight it is necessary to study the regulations in respect to methods to be followed in determining the net and gross weights and pack the goods with these considera tions in mind.
The weight and value of the container may influ ence the duty to be paid. For example, the rules prevailing in Chile are : By "ordinary receptacles" are to be understood earthen ware or glass pots, bottles or flasks, iron, zinc, tin, copper or lead drums, wooden cases, cardboard or tin plate boxes, and any other containers of indispensable use. Receptacles not usually employed for the goods they contain and having a separate value or use shall be considered as dutiable mer chandise and appraised separately.
3. Packing and transportation.—As shipments for export are subjected to rough handling, the packing should be done securely. Only new and strong boxes should be used, and screws rather than nails. The boxes should be protected by metal straps or wires as a protection against pilfering. Many steamship companies refuse shipments of small articles such as shoes, cigars, and wines, unless so protected. In order to protect the shipment against moisture it is desirable to use water-proof wrappings. Sometimes
conditions may call for a water and air-tight box. Such extraordinary outlays are frequently charged to the foreign buyer. All metal parts of machinery should be covered with vaseline or grease and then wrapped in oiled paper.
It is a good rule to make the weight and size of boxes as small as is consistent with strength and con venience. Inland transportation is poor in some parts of South America, and boxes sent to these places should not weigh more than 100 pounds each, two of them making a well-balanced load for a pack animal. In most cases, however, size and weight are not of prime importance, tho it is well to limit the weight to about 250 pounds and the size to a cubic yard.
A. number of small boxes are sometimes crated together for ocean transportation and the shipment broken up in small lots on arrival, for inland transportation.
4. Marking boxes.—Old boxes should not be used, such as have been weakened by handling and unpack ing and bear old trade-marks and addresses. Neither should the contents of the box be marked on the out side. That is not only unnecessary, but is an invi tation to pilfer.
The instructions in regard to marking received from the foreign buyer cannot be too closely followed. It is important to number consecutively all cases mak ing up a shipment. The numbers are placed along with other identification marks on the invoice and aid in discovering shortages, tracing lost cases and forwarding or assembling machinery. Some eaun tries require the use of stencils in marking. In many of the Latin-American countries gross and net weights must be indicated on all cases, expressed in kilograms.
Chile requires the use of a stencil in marking every package, and the placing of a shipping number on each package to correspond with the number appear ing in the consular invoices and other shipping docu ments. The gross weight in kilos must be indicated on each package and also on the bills of lading. Ja pan, on the other hand, has no regulations on marking and weights. Haiti requires that the net weight, in pounds, and the name or initials of the consignee be marked on the package, and so on. The regulations of each country should be studied and followed.