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Freight from the USA

How does LCL work? Step-By-Step Guide.

Use this real-time Online Sea freight price Calculator to calculate international shipping costs for international shipping commercial and household goods from the United States abroad in minutes.

If you are an inexperienced, first-time international freight shipper, you may need to read one of these articles before beginning international shipping. Just choose what fits your current shipping needs:

Seven steps in shipping freight LCL with AMID Logistics

  1. Quote and book your shipment online 24/7.
  2. 75% deposit on estimated shipping cost.
  3. Receive shipping instructions in 24 business hours.
  4. Submit cargo to the shipping. Pay the final invoice.
  5. Receive Express Release Sea freight Bill of Lading.
  6. Wait for an Arrival Notice. Meet your cargo.
  7. Recover your goods at the destination.

All the procedures are typical for shipping any cargo from the USA using LCL service. However, our online freight calculator adjusts this guide for sending goods from the U.S.

STEP 1 – Quote and book your international shipment on our website

Please note that the first and absolutely necessary step to begin an international shipment with AMID Logistics is to schedule a shipment with our online freight calculator.

  1. You calculate a freight price quote on our website. You can calculate as many quotes for different shipping scenarios in your business as you wish. It's free, and there are no obligations.
  2. You email the quote(s) that you like to yourself. Please keep it on your records. Emailed quotes will be entered into our system. There will be a unique quote reference number for each quote. The format of a quote reference is USL20011786. Having the quote in an email, you can always reply to the quote and ask us questions or give us a call during our business hours.
  3. As soon as you are ready, book your shipment via the quote you like. Upon booking, you will instantly receive a copy of your booking request. Each booking has a unique reference number. The format of a booking reference number is US200117BL.

Not sure about the number, dimensions, and weight of shipping units? That's OK. At the time of quoting-booking your shipment, just roughly estimate it. The actual volume, weight, and number of your shipping units will most likely differ from the number and measurements you provided when quoting-booking. Upon your cargo delivery to the ocean freight carrier's terminal (CFS - Container Freight Station), the CFS will calculate and reconfirm the units' actual number, overall volume, and weight. See Step #4.

Please note that to avoid confusion, we do not provide price quotes and do not accept bookings over the phone. The entire quoting-booking process has to be completed on our website.

You can read the calculations guide or watch this three-minute video on YouTube. With our online freight calculator, you will see how easy it is to manage shipping goods from the U.S.


STEP 2 – To initiate a shipment, please pay a deposit

As soon as you submit a booking request via quote, you will receive our email containing a unique Customer Reference Booking Number on your international shipment. The format of the booking number should look like US200123CL). The email will provide details on your load and a web link to pay a deposit on your shipping from the USA.

On shipments with a TOTAL shipping cost of up to US$750, we accept payments online via PayPal.

We do NOT accept PayPal payments on shipments with a TOTAL shipping cost above $750. You can pay with U.S. Bank checks, business, or personal. You can submit a draft of your U.S. Bank check online. Then, it is not necessary to mail us the original check. Otherwise, you can transfer or wire funds to our U.S. Bank account. We accept payments via Western Union, as well.

Please review the Payment Options and our Return Policy.


STEP 3 – Receive our shipping instructions in the email. Submit shipping documents online and deliver your shipping goods to a freight terminal, OR meet a pickup driver (if a pickup is requested)

Upon receipt of a deposit, we will notify you by email. Consider the email a receipt for your payment.

Then, we will email you our Shipping Instructions. As a rule, we email the instructions within 24 business hours. Sometimes it may take a little longer. Please get in touch with us if you do not receive our instructions within 24 hours. Before contacting, please check your spam folder.

Your shipping instructions are unique and generated on your particular shipment. These instructions will contain your Dock Receipt and provide the following:

  1. OCEAN FREIGHT CARRIER'S BOOKING NUMBER - The Ocean Freight Carrier's Booking Number is the KEY NUMBER for your shipment. You will need the number for shipping from the USA to your destination from the beginning to the end when dealing with other parties related to the shipping.
  2. AMID Logistics's Customer Reference Number. This is our internal reference number. Always provide AMID Logistics's Reference Number when contacting us. Always keep the number in the subject lines of your email to us. The format looks like US200107DL.
  3. The freight terminal's address and phone number and:
    - If you self-deliver to a CFS, then a web link to print your Dock Receipt
    - If self-deliver to a Line-Haul terminal, then an LTL BOL attached
    - If a pickup is requested, then the pickup day and an LTL BOL attached
  4. Sailing details on your international shipping include:
    - ETD - Estimated Time of Departure
    - ETA - Estimated Time of Arrival 
    - The Vessel, Voyage, Routing
    - The latest cargo delivery day to depart on the scheduled vessel
  5. A web link to print your shipping labels;
  6. Link to fill out and submit a Valued Packing List if you cannot email us a copy of your commercial invoice OR shipping household goods or personal items. 

Read and follow these shipping instructions. Reply and ask questions, if any. Submit your shipping documents online. Print shipping labels and label your cargo. Deliver your goods in shipping boxes, crates, or pallets to the freight for further shipping from the USA overseas OR meet a pickup driver (if a pickup is requested).

Please note: You shouldn't pay anything at the freight terminal or the pickup driver. Please wait for our final invoice via email.  

Most of the time, freight terminals do not accept payments. If shipping boxes require palletizing, then the palletizing cost will be added to the carrier's freight invoice. However, occasionally, if you self-deliver your shipping boxes from the USA to a freight terminal and request to palletize the boxes, you may be asked to pay for the palletizing at the terminal. Depending on the terminal, the cost may vary from $35 to $50+ per pallet. Then please pay for it. Ensure a receipt is obtained. 


STEP 4 – Pay the final invoice. A weight-measurement discrepancy.

As soon as your cargo is delivered to the ocean freight carrier for further shipping from the USA overseas and all your shipping documents are in order, we will confirm the carrier's cargo release and email you updates.

After that, you should wait for our email with the final invoice. The invoice will reflect the shipping cost based on the actual weight-measurement of your cargo. The 75% deposit on the estimated shipping cost will be credited to the invoice.

If a marine insurance certificate is requested at the time of booking, then the insurance certificate will be attached to the email.

The invoice will be generated based on freight charges in the ocean freight carrier's sea freight bill of lading on/in a few days after ETD (Estimated Time of Departure) your shipping goods from the USA. Sometimes, we may generate the invoice earlier based on proof of the bill of lading from the ocean freight carrier.

Once again, please note: The final invoice will be based on the actual w/m of the cargo that you shipped, but not on the estimated shipping cost calculated in our online freight calculator at the time of quoting and booking. The invoice may also reflect unaccounted costs from carriers that had not been included in the estimated shipping cost (if any). There may be charges related to palletizing, fumigation, dimensional weight and length verification, GRI during shipping, etc. In other words, you pay for what you have shipped, not what you estimated to ship. If you overestimated your w/m, then you pay less. If you underestimated your w/m, then you pay more. That's why we request a 75% deposit, but not 100%.

Upon your final payment, if you fully or partially paid for the shipping via PayPal, before issuing a bill of lading, we will always NEED YOUR REPLY email with your confirmation that you clearly understand that the Bill of Lading is our final document on your international shipping from the USA. It is the title on the shipping from the USA goods and the proof of transfer of the ownership to the consignee as in the Seafreight Bill of Lading (recipient of shipped goods). This will confirm that after receiving the sea freight bill of lading, our service provided to you is complete as agreed. All parties involved in payment(s) of the shipment paid by a credit card(s) will consider the confirmation email as the receipt of payment(s) with the payer's signature on it. If for any reason, you will not agree, then you may re-pay all your PayPal transactions by U.S. Bank check or wire funds to our bank account. Please inform us by replying to this email. Then, upon receipt of re-payment(s), we will notify you and refund your PayPal transactions.


STEP 5  – Receive your Sea freight Bill of Lading

Upon your final payment and reply toward your PayPal transactions (if any), we will email you your ocean freight carrier's Express Release Bill of Lading in a PDF file. Consider the bill of lading as a title on your shipping from the USA goods. International shipments on express releases do not require sets of original bills of ladings. You should be notified if you're shipping goods to a country that does not accept express release.

The bill of lading will verify information in your international shipping. It will also provide the contact details of the ocean freight carrier's destination agent, who handles your cargo recovery at the destination.


STEP 6 – Be prepared to meet your goods at the destination.

Several days before the ETA - Estimated Time of Arrival, the ocean freight carrier's destination agent should contact your consignee and notify the party (if any) about your international shipping from the USA with a Notice of Arrival. Typically, they contact the consignee via the email in your bill of lading. Keep your eyes on the email. Do not miss it! Pay attention to the junk mail folder.

EXTREMELY IMPORTANT! Suppose you will not receive an Arrival Notice on the ETA for any reason. In that case, we strongly suggest you contact the ocean freight carrier's destination agent in your bill of lading about the status of your shipping from the USA goods on the day of ETA. Then, please provide them with a copy of your Express Release Bill of Lading, confirm your contact details, and ask for the arrival notice. 

Shipments with transshipments: If a port of discharge in your sea freight bill of lading is different from the final destination, then, unless specified in your sailing detail, the ETA in your shipping may not be the ETA to the final destination but to the port where your shipping gods will be transshipped to the final destination. Transshipments/fiders will take additional transit time in your international shipping from the U.S.

Please remember that the ocean freight carrier's destination agent may not receive any information on your international shipping from the USA until very few days before the ETA. If you contact them far in advance, do not be frustrated if they are unaware of your incoming cargo. Then, fax or email them a copy of your sea freight bill of lading, confirm your contact details, and wait for a notice of arrival. 


STEP 7  – Cargo recovery at the destination. Destination charges.

EXTREMELY IMPORTANT! All imports in all countries worldwide are subject to destination charges (sometimes called 'local charges'). Destination charges occur at destinations and are not considered freight charges. You must be prepared for destination charges if you ship goods from the United States overseas. No matter whether you are importing commercial cargo from the U.S. or transporting household goods or personal effects,

Destination charges are not included in freight quotes obtained in our online freight calculator and on account of the consignee. Typically the changes include (but are not limited to):

  1. Destination Country Government (Customs) related charges, i.e., duty and taxes (if any), harbor fees, fee on entry filing by a destination Customs Broker, etc.
  2. Destination terminal(s) handling charges and fees (THC).
  3. Service fee from ocean freight carrier's destination agent on handling and delivering your international shipment (if you request a delivery to your door).

Destination charges vary depending on the destination country,  ocean freight carrier, and carrier's agent. Destination charges are out of the control of U.S. freight forwarders. As a U.S. freight forwarder, AMID Logistics does not connect to destination charges in any way. The ocean freight carrier's destination agent should guide your consignee to recover importing goods at the destination. 

Please note that, as a rule, your consignee should not be present in person at the time of recovery of your shipping goods at the destination. Follow instructions from the ocean freight carrier's destination agent. Provide them with all necessary information on your shipping goods remotely, pay invoices on destination charges, and have your goods released.

Typically, destination freight terminals offer cargo delivery services. Then, if you wish, you may arrange delivery of your shipping from the USA goods to your door directly with the destination agent OR hire a local cargo transportation company of your choice.

If you want to estimate destination charges in advance, have a quote or booking number obtained in our online freight calculator, reply by email, and ask us for your prospective destination agent's contact information. However, without a quote or booking reference number, we cannot see a carrier for your shipment and will not be able to assist you. For example, when contacting us, have the reference ready.   

You may need to check with your destination country's consulate or ask a customs broker in your destination country about Government (Customs) regulations on your prospective shipment in advance.

Please note that a part of or all destination charges may need to be paid at a port of entry of your shipping from the USA goods, but not at the final destination. It all depends on your destination country's customs regulations. Then, the cargo will be transported to the final destination's freight terminal and cleared with customs. Otherwise, it may be transported to the final destination in bond. Your consignee will then clear the goods with customs at a bonded freight terminal located at the final destination. Also, keep in mind that destination charges may sometimes be divided by separate invoices issued by several parties involved in your import recovery.

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