We asked 10 experts to share their views and opinions on international shipping.
"It seems that almost all countries have tightened their inspection of documents, products, and classifications. Having the proper documentation has become much more critical."
— Betsy Vance, materials management manager, Skyline Exhibits
"The larger the shipment, the more complex things get because of VAT (value added tax), freight forwarding, etc. It will always take longer and cost more than you expect."
— Jay Burkette, vice president, ExpoDisplays
"Ensuring compliance with customs regulations and individual countries' restrictions is becoming more complicated. This is particularly true with medical-related devices."
— Fred Glore, principal, Premier Relocations International
"Uncertainty is the biggest problem. Most of the time, we don't really know if a shipment will get delayed due to local laws or some weird decision from a customs agent."
—Francisco Collazo Garcia, partner and COO, Sistemas de Expositions
"I never recommend international shipping. It is a misuse of time and money. Almost anything can be obtained overseas."
— Ivy Burnham, manager, international operations, Access TCA Inc.
"Understanding the requirements of any specific country regarding customs paperwork, materials, etc., requires experience, attention to detail, and a patient hand."
—Ben Murphy, sales director, The Iguana Group
"As I always say, if a customs officer makes an error, it's a mistake. But when you make an error, you've committed a criminal offense."
—Jeff Broom, manager, Europa Showfreight
"Maintaining inventory, tracking shipments, and communicating on a mobile device – all in real time – have vastly improved efficiency."
—Stephanie Chavez, marketing director, The Trade Group Inc.
"Delayed clearance through customs is the most common problem. This usually results from paperwork errors or your broker not having the correct information."
— Kelly Christy, president, TTS Logistics Inc.
"There's nothing like a local contact in the destination country to help get your shipment through customs in case of issues."
— Jan Groeneveld, director, international service, Derse Inc.