Shipping freight internationally can be a daunting process. Origin and destination countries all have regulations in place that can be very unique. It’s important that you are well versed in the process of each country that is delivering or receiving your freight and that you have the required documentation to support your freight to ensure it ships smoothly. Any noncompliance in the process can lead to shipment delays, fines, and other penalties. One critical aspect of shipping freight internationally is gaining customs clearance.
“Customs” is a complex word with various definitions. Even in the context of shipping, customs can be a location in an airport, regulatory agencies that oversee imported goods, or regulations themselves that decipher what can or cannot be imported into a specific territory. In addition to the complexities of customs, some countries have shipping restrictions that may surprise you.
If you are sending freight to this Southeastern European country, refrain from shipping certain garments1. Albania prohibits shipping of any extravagant clothing that is contrary to Albanian taste. The Albania Business Law Handbook highlights that raw materials to manufacture clothing are allowed; however, the country has important shoe and clothing assembly industries.
Missing the Two of Spades in your deck of playing cards? If you live in Germany you may have to buy a whole new deck. It is prohibited to ship individual playing cards, they can only be shipped if they are in a complete deck and are appropriately wrapped1. The same rule applies if you are in the Czech Republic and Denmark.
Italy is known for its romantic culture and aesthetics so it may surprise you that no bells or musical instrument parts can be imported into the country. Traveling to Italy soon? A clock may be a great souvenir. Clocks and clock supplies are also prohibited from being imported so clocks are usually unique to the country.
If you’re a fan of flowers, be wary of shipping them to Nigeria. Although Nigeria offers a variety of lilies and other blooms, this African country prohibits the import of both live and artificial flowers2.
Saudi Arabia has strict laws against certain noises, one of which is a car horn. You cannot import car horns into Saudi Arabia. Aligned with the noise control, musical greeting cards are also prohibited from being imported into the country3.
Chewing gum is a restricted import in Singapore. Many types of gum enjoyed in other parts of the world are prohibited in this Asian country. Recently, restrictions on gum have been lifted if it is considered to have “therapeutic” or “medicinal” value4.
United States of America
Chocolate eggs filled with a surprise toy can be found around the world except in the United States where Kinder Eggs are illegal. In 1938, the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act banned any candies that had “non-nutritive objects.” More recently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has said that the eggs could be a choking hazard for kids. Remember not to try to ship these treats or you’ll get a hefty fine5.
Although you may not be shipping any of these restricted products, some customs and regulations may surprise you. Each country is unique in what they require when importing and exporting goods. Working with a knowledgeable logistics partner can help navigate your freight seamlessly.