Phantom Couriers – International Shipping Part 2

Mark: Hi, it's Mark Bossert from Top Local. We're here with Mark Huggan of Phantom Couriers in Vancouver. One of the top 100 fastest growing businesses in British Columbia and of course one of the best couriers in the entire world. How you doing today Mark?

Mark: Excellent. You know I just finished up a day of being the best courier in town so what I can I say. Had fun.

Mark: So we're going to talk some more about international shipping frequently asked questions today. So I guess this is one you mentioned when we were starting off, do you go there?

Mark: That's right. Most people call us up because on the internet it appears like we're a local courier and then they call us up because on the website we have international shipping. So they're always curious where we go. And we go worldwide.

Mark: Have you ever been to Antarctica?

Mark: Nope. But we're waiting for the call, because there's needs, that we could ship something there. We can get a container there. We have all, we can get er done but nobody's called us yet. So if you're listening Antarctica, call me.

Mark: And about how many countries have you guys actually shipped too so far?

Mark: Off my checklist, legitimately 220 but I think that pretty much 240 because people change their country names every now and then. And we've been in business since 1996 and I didn't start my checklist until 2000. So you know, I'm pretty sure if somebody brought up a name, i'd be like I'm sure I was there.

Mark: So what's the shipping size can I ship? What's the biggest stuff you shipped?

Mark: The biggest stuff? Containers, like a full container. So we can stuff a container full of things and then some of the biggest things people call listed up. I did a metal bridge to Whistler. I got a truck and some four wheel forklifts and installed that. That was pretty big for local. But internationally, the biggest things I've shipped is problem I think it was like a 8 foot roll of carpet. That was the largest dimensional just one off package that somebody needed. Like that one package, pick it up 8 feet long.

Mark: So what kind of shipping documents does someone need to ship internationally?

Mark: Well, they generate a waybill with Phantom and that gets your point A to point B. And then we'll take care of the customs documentation up on this side. And generally get all the duties and taxes paid by the shipper, being us. And then bill the customer so that when your package arrives anywhere in the world, there's no confusion. And people are prepared. They can just receive it.

Mark: Pretty easy process in other words.

Mark: Door to door. Super simple, yeah, keep it simple.

Mark: So what if my items arrive damaged, defective, incorrect?

Mark: Let me see. Haven't got a lot of insurance claims. Things go pretty good. Electronics are hard because you have to prove that they were functioning when they leave. So we have lots of insurance that can cover that kind of stuff. And our insurance policies are always up to date. And we have an ad hoc one where you can just basically put in the value, send it off and get the insurance right away instantly. But you know, there's due diligence on both sides.

Mark: So like, here's an example and I don't know whether this is appropriate or not but like I ordered a TV and it arrived and it looked fine but I noticed that there in the package, there was definitely, it had been crunched and the TV was crunched too. It didn't work. So I basically took pictures of it and they sent me a new one basically. How does that work when somebody you know, if there's exterior damage, obvious damage along the way because you guys don't control the entire process. Your'e not if you're shipping to Botswana or something. It's whoever's delivering it there, is responsible. How does is that handled?

Mark: Good question. Anything B to C, like you know, business to consumer, usually if the TV arrives squished, it's like yeah replace it instantly. It's super simple. But if it's from consumer to consumer, it's a lot more difficult. But we had a pallet of TV's in the office the other day going to England, like the original manufacturer packaging and off they went and they arrived you know, no problems. They're built to take a spill from three feet on any side. Everything's suspended. So generally, the box might get crunchy but the TV won't. You know, they're going to be, they're tossed around at sea and in air. I mean those airplanes, it's a rough ride. But things were packaged properly.

Mark: And so it doesn't, yeah, so you guys pick the right mode of transportation then to get the package there I guess, based on how fast it has to get there.

Mark: exactly, yeah. If it's not fast, it doesn't go by plane and you know, we inspect all packaging. And if it needs to be upgraded, we'll give it a beefy upgrade. We have packaging facility here. We can just package stuff up.

Mark: So there you go. If you're shipping internationally in Vancouver, the guys to call or out of Vancouver or anywhere in the world, the guys to call are Phantom Couriers. You can reach them in Vancouver at 604-899-5447. Have a chat with Mark, he's a very funny man. And they'll look after you. They've done this for a long time. Thanks Mark

Mark: Right on Mark. Thank you very much.

International Shipping FAQ’s

Mark: Hi it's Mark Bossert from Top Local, we're here with Mark Huggan of Phantom Couriers in Vancouver. Vancouver's best, downtown, all around courier, but I hear you guys are doing a lot of international shipping. What shipping size can I ship Mark?

Mark: Yeah, we've always done international shipping. So we got started off with documents, super simple documents. And then pacs, larger things, items. But we ship everything from, like I said, documents to hard drives, lots of film. Things in the film industry that get created one day and they get sent out to the, I guess they put them into a studio where they'll be looked at and recreated. I heard they talk, the guy gave them a name like that.

Mark: Rushes

Mark: Yeah rushes, stuff like that. Right down to lots of electronics. We've got a room full of television sets, there's seven television sets going to England. We're working on a container of beer to Korea and to China, samples of course. We've done everything. A guy has asked us to move cars. We've moved air freights. I moved a, basically it looked like a tank, it was this giant drilling thing and I put it on a train. It's not international up there, but it was a huge shipment, it went up to the oil patch. And then things all over the world. Like if I went back, it's crazy what we ship. I shipped a tortoise by air. All sorts of things. Like if you name it, we shipped it. It's bananas.

Mark: So what kind of expected delivery times do you have?

Mark: Everything from next day to six weeks. Like we shipped t-shirts for like a dating site and they don't want them to go fast so we basically just used international mail shipping. Otherwise we could have it in France in two days. Across the international date line, just plus or minus a day, you're gone.

Mark: And where do you ship?

Mark: Everywhere and I mean everywhere, except Antartica. Man like every country, everywhere. So people want things to go to Cuba, nobody wants to go to Cuba. We found a way to get to Cuba. We've been to Iraq when nobody wanted to go to Iraq. Any war zone, we've delivered there too. Africa. All over the place. Like it's hard and there's no guarantees, but we'll get her done.

Mark: So do you need insurance?

Mark: Yeah, if you want to protect your shipments, you always have to insure. You know if you don't buy insurance, you're not insured. It your duty.

Mark: Is that something you set up for people?

Mark: Yeah, but you know, when you're doing the deal, you're never asking, "And do you want to insure?" But if it's a valuable item, we get down to it, we'll insure it. The only thing you can't really insure is arts, heirlooms, anything that doesn't have a tangible invoice value. Anything you say, "Oh but it's priceless!" Oh please, don't ship that thing just do it yourself. But yeah, we offer insurance for up to anything. The standard insurance goes up to $3000 bucks and after that it become high value and high value just need a broker to take a good look at the invoice.

Mark: And what about duties and taxes? How do you navigate that?

Mark: So most duties and taxes are paid by the shipper. So we would assume that we're going to be the shipper, pay all the duties and taxes, value added taxes here and bill the client as they ship out. Anything being brought in, as you know as everybody ships with Amazon, they're like "I couldn't believe it, a $10 dollar pen and it was a $100 dollars in duties". That needs to be taken care of on the import. Exporting I would recommend paying them upfront so your receiver doesn't get stuck with the bill because a lot of times they refuse it. It just increases costs and traveling back and forth from the last mile things can go wrong. So it's best to pay now.

Mark: There you go if you want international shipping with expertise and super efficiency, the guys to see are Phantom Couriers in Vancouver. You can reach them at 604-899-5447. Call and check them out, they're awesome guys to deal with and Mark Huggan is the owner. Thanks Mark

Mark: Good, thanks for calling me up. See you again.

Phantom Courier Trucking Services

Hey I'm Mark from Phantom Couriers. Let's talk about local trucking today. Phantom Couriers can offer you 3 ton, 5 ton, flat deck, power tail gate. We have rates for the entire Lower Mainland. So you want to do some shipping with Phantom, just get in touch with us. Mark from Phantom Couriers. Thanks

Phantom Couriers Same Day Shipping To Vancouver Island

Hey, I'm Mark from Phantom Couriers and today we're going to talk about same day shipping to Vancouver Island.

Phantom Couriers has hourly flights to Victoria and Nanaimo. They leave by Harbour Air, we have couriers on the island to pick them up and get them done. If you have a specific time, just tell us and we'll get it done.

A success story. A guy on Vancouver Island had a tortoise. So we brought a tortoise over via Harbour Air, took it out to a vet in Pitt Meadows and that tortoise is going to live another 70 years.

I'm Mark Huggan from Phantom Couriers. Remember any package anywhere, Phantom Couriers gets it there! Thank you

International Shipping tips

Best International Shipping Services for Small Business

international shipping tip

 

A lot of small and medium businesses need to ship internationally. If you’re a brick-and-mortar store, run an e-commerce shop, or a drop shipper, international shipping allows you to expand your business beyond just your back door. By offering competitive international shipping, you will be able to serve customers throughout the world.

Obviously, when you offer shipping services, you’ll need to work with a courier company to ensure that your package gets you to its destination on time. It can be daunting to put such an essential business service in someone else’s hands; after all, they are responsible for actually getting the product to your customer. There are many international shipping companies that offer services to small or medium-size businesses at reasonable prices so how do you choose? It is vital to choose a reliable company with good reviews, similar values, and you can trust. To help you get started with your international shipping, we need to give you some of the most important things to think about.

Shipment Size

As one might expect, the size of the package or container is one of the most important aspects of how much it will cost to get your package to its destination.  When you offer shipping options for your products, you need to know the precise measurement of the weight of all your products to ensure you give an accurate cost assessment.  

Delivery Time

Depending on when your customers want to receive your products will determine how expensive the shipping will cost. You’ll also have to decide whether you want to pass on shipping costs to your customers. A lot of companies offer free shipping over a certain dollar amount. As a business owner, you need to decide what is best for your business.

Shipping Method

Most products are shipped via ground, air, or sea. Most customers don’t care on now they get the package to its destination, however, the shipment method will have a direct impact on the time of delivery.

Distance Being Shipped

Another factor that will have an obvious impact on price is the distance you are shipping the product. Most shipment services will offer an estimate of how much it will cost to ship to a specific destination depending on where you are shipping from.

Insurance

Nobody likes to think about insurance but it’s important to plan in case a shipment gets lost or broken during transportation  – accidents do happen. The type of insurance you purchase depends on the value of the items, destination, and the shipping method of transportation. The most frequently purchased type of shipping insurance is carrier liability insurance, which usually covers the goods being shipped and the cost of shipping up to $100 in the event the shipment is damaged or lost. For international shipments, you may also want to purchase additional insurance, especially if the item is of higher value. Shop around for different prices and if you ship frequently, use it as leverage to get discounted rates.

Shipping Volume

As a small business, every cent counts which is why shipping volume is important. If you are shipping products daily, you can get a better rate than if you only ship once a month. As an e-commerce store, shipping rates can make or break your company. It’s important to shop around for the best rates. Often times the bigger international shipping companies won’t negotiate with you; however independent couriers will give you a much better deal.

international shipping tip

Points System or Loyalty Program

Only international companies used to use loyalty programs; however, even smaller businesses have used some kind of points system or loyalty program to engage their customers. This can include offering free, discounted, and faster shipping to any member. This type of program can create lifelong customers who buy more frequently from you.

Cargo

The type of product you are shipping will also determine the price you pay. For example, most shipping companies will charge you an additional fee to ship hazardous materials. Products that need to be kept refrigerated or can expire, such as food items, need to be insulated while shipped, which also costs more.

Conclusion

No matter how often or where you ship, it’s important that you make your shipping policies clear to your customers by listing them on your company website and in email communication. Your policies should include the cost to the customer (taxes, duties, customs etc), estimated shipping time, and return policies.  With a good shipping strategy in place, your business will be able to service your customers more effectively while bringing your products to new corners of the world. If you have any questions about international shipping, please don’t hesitate to give us a call.

International shipping tip #1

International shipping tip – Shipment size :

As one might expect, the size of the package or container is one of the most important aspects of how much it will cost to get your package to its destination.  When you offer shipping options for your products, you need to know the precise measurement of the weight of all your products to ensure you give an accurate cost assessment.  

 

International Shipping From Vancouver, Step-By-Step Guide

Whether you’re sending a package or parcel to the United States, Europe, Asia or somewhere else, you need a courier company that knows the rules and regulations of that country. It’s not similar to a domestic package that you just need to put some postage on and send it through the mail. Shipping internationally can be very overwhelming which is why you should rely on a professional courier company like Phantom Couriers to make sure your packages are delivered in a timely and cost-effective manner.

The most unpredictable part of international shipping costs are the customs duties and fees. These can change based on country, time of year, and sometimes even the customs officer handling your package.
Having helped thousands of people and businesses ship to countries all over the world, we’ve put together a helpful guide so you can understand the process better. 

Service Levels

The two main factors you need to figure out is what is your budget and how long do you want the package to take to get to its destination. Since there’s a variety of ways to ship from ground to air, the most important aspect is selecting the best fit for your needs.

To see Shipping Prices and Services click HERE

Forms Needed

It can be a challenge figuring out which forms you need to fill out. However, the three most commonly forms required for international shipping are:

Customs Declaration

All mail containing merchandise must have a Customs Declaration form completed when sending the item to the U.S.A. or an international destination. The Customs Declaration forms are part of the Canada Post shipping label and also include the addresses and names of both the sender and the recipient.

It is the senders responsibility to ensure that all customs documentation and item content information and certificates for the goods being shipped are provided and are complete, accurate and legible. Failure to do so may result in the item being returned to sender, or could result in delays, non-delivery, voided guarantee, if applicable, fines or customs seizure in the international destination.

You’ll need to provide the following information for all shipments:
Contents Type:
• merchandise
• sample
• gift
**Please note it is illegal to mark an item as “gift” when it’s not. Some customers may ask you to do that to avoid import taxes, but you’ll be the one liable if it’s discovered.

Commercial Invoice

This is for any merchandise purchased or sent to an international country. Three copies of an commercial invoice is needed to be placed inside a clear pouch on the package. It needs to be removable and visible, so that the customs officer can review the information if needed. The commercial invoice is required for taxation and fee assessment. It’s typically a separate document from the label.

Certificates of Origin

Some countries require a certificate of origin for your shipment to pass through customs. It is a document issued by a sender that confirms where the package originally came from. These certificates of origins usually need to be signed by an official organization. A certificate of origin may be required even if you’ve included the country of origin information on the invoice. 

Other Forms You May Need

Export Documentation Form (B13A)

An Export Declaration Form B13A is required for the following goods when shipped to another country, excluding the United States:
• All goods (including gifts, donations and repairs) valued at $2,000 CAD or more
• All goods that are controlled, prohibited or regulated regardless of value.
An Export Declaration B13A should not be confused with the Customs Declaration form (see above)

Customs, Restrictions, And Duty

One of the benefits of working with a private carrier like Phantom Couriers is that they are a registered customs broker who will manage all questions from the import country authority on your behalf.

Common Abbreviations

Couriers have a wide range of abbreviations that you might find confusing. Here is a short list of some of the more common ones.
• Incoterm: A set of rules that defines whether the seller or buyer pays for duty, taxes and other fees. These rules are defined by the International Chamber of Commerce.
• DDU (Delivery Duties Unpaid by Sender) means the recipient is responsible for any duty.
• DDP (Delivery Duties Paid by Sender) means the shipper will be covering the costs of duty.
• Customs Items – brief description of the item being shipped, along with weight, quantity, value and country of origin.

Tariff Code (Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System) is an international recognized system to classify globally traded goods.

Tariff Codes are required on all official shipping documents for tax assessment and for better standardization. It is a six-digit number broken down into different sections and subsections. Providing a tariff number can be useful to smooth out the customs process (though you don’t need to have one). 

Insurance

You should consider purchasing insurance for your international shipments, especially if you are selling a fragile or luxury item. A generally rule is if the shipped item is worth more than a $100 then you should purchase additional insurance. There are a lot more handling and transitional points across various countries, where your package can be damaged, lost or stolen so it’s best to be on the safe side. Even if you have a tracking number, accidents do happen so why not cover yourself? Through Phantom Couriers you can purchase insurance easily in the first step of the label process. 

Export Permits And Other Documentation

Export permits are required for certain controlled items and the government is responsible for issuing permits for this type of product.

Examples of this type of product would be:
•Nuclear reactors
•Weapon technology
•Vehicles
•Agricultural and Food Products

If in doubt as to whether an item requires an export permit, contact the appropriate government department.

For a complete list of products on the Export Control List, please refer to http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/regulations/SOR-89-202/FullText.html to determine if an export permit is required.

Certain products may also require a permit or other documentation in order to be imported into the country of destination. 

Dangerous And Prohibited Products

If you’re considering shipping products that are considered dangerous like firearms, explosives, or weapons, there are some additional rules and regulations surrounding shipping requirement’s. Generally dangerous products are prohibited from being mailed whether being sent domestically or to another country, although there are some exceptions.

Please refer to Section 7 Dangerous Goods of Non-mailable Matter of the Canadian Government website for a complete list of dangerous products. http://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/tdg/clear-tofc-211.htm

Valuable Items

Valuable items should always be sent with express shipping and with a tracking number. You can also request that the recipient must sign for the package. There are many different rules and regulations in different countries surrounding valuable items so do your research before sending valuable items.

Valuable items may include:
•bank or currency notes
•coins
•traveller’s cheques
•securities
•platinum, gold or silver
•jewels and precious stones

Currency And Monetary Instruments

All Canadian or foreign currency and monetary instruments ($10,000 CAD or more) entering or exiting Canada through the mail must be reported to the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). These monetary instruments include:
- securities
- stocks
- bonds
- treasury bills
- bank drafts
- cheques
- travellers’ cheques
- money orders

Foreign currency and monetary instruments with a value of $10,000CAD or more mailed out of the country must include form E667 (Cross-Border Currency or Monetary Instruments Report-General).

The customer must submit a copy of form E667 to the Canada Border Services Agency office, at the same time as or in advance of mailing the item.

Commercially-Prepared Food

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires Prior Notice of all shipments to the U.S.A. that contain commercially-prepared food. This includes items that contain food for human or animal consumption, vitamins, dietary supplements, herbal remedies and food additives.

The FDA and U.S. Customs Border and Protection will use their own discretion and may consider not taking any regulatory action when there is a Prior Notice violation and the commercially-prepared food is being sent from one individual to another individual for non-commercial purposes. Customers are cautioned to ship these types of items at their own risk.

The EU has very strict laws surrounding importing commercially-prepared food so do your research if you intend to send food to European countries.

For more information you can visit: http://www.fda.gov/food/guidanceregulation/guidancedocumentsregulatoryinformation/fooddefense/ucm267673.htm

Alcohol, Tobacco And Related-Tobacco Products

The mailing of alcohol or intoxicating beverages into the United States is prohibited and when discovered by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will be seized. The USPS will no longer accept packages with cigarettes; roll-your-own tobacco and smokeless tobacco in any quantity. Non-mailable cigarettes and smokeless tobacco are subject to seizure and forfeiture, and senders of non-mailable cigarettes or smokeless tobacco are subject to criminal penalties.

Cannabis And Cannabis-Related Products

Canadians can ship a maximum of 30 grams of dried, recreational cannabis to other adults (age varies by province). If shipping over 30 grams, you must be a licenced distributor of cannabis. An individual cannot ship cannabis internationally.

Shipping requirements across Canada:
• Odour-proof, leak-proof inner, tamper-proof of the inner and outer packaging
• Nondescript outer packaging without any writing, icon or advertising that indicates what’s in the package

Prescription Drugs To The United States

Senders and recipients must be aware it is completely at the discretion of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) whether or not to allow entry of drugs into the United States.

For more information you can visit: http://www.fda.gov/ForIndustry/ImportProgram/default.htm for more information.

Resources:

Phantom Couriers Makes Business in Vancouver’s Fastest Growing Companies List

Vancouver is known as a laid-back west coast city, but don’t tell that to the employees of Phantom Couriers who work hard to serve their customers around the clock. Their couriers’ stream in and out of their downtown office, picking up and delivering packages quickly and efficiently.

Whether you phone or use their automated online ordering system, there is no doubt that Phantom Courier is a well-oiled machine. Obviously, more and more people are discovering their amazing customer service as they choose Phantom Courier over larger companies like Canada Post, UPS, and Fedx. Phantom Couriers is Vancouver oldest independent courier, offering local, national, and international delivery.

Recently, Phantom Couriers was chosen as one of BC’s fastest growing companies by Vancouver Business Magazine based on 5 years of consistent growth.  To be eligible, the company needs to have its headquarters in British Columbia.

British Columbia might not have the economic heavyweights like Toronto – the banks, the insurance headquarters, or the media companies – but its natural resources and proximity to Asia make it a favourable place to do business as the businesses on the Business in Vancouver list can attest.

What is Phantom’s secret to success? Owner and operator Mark Huggan says it’s about” being the best tool for our customers. We focus on making our customers succeed and being an extension of their office.”

By being customer centric, Phantom is able quickly to react to customer’s needs – a must in the fast-paced world of package delivery. As attested by its growth, Phantom Courier is a welcome alterative to larger, faceless corporate couriers with poor customer service

Although they pride themselves on being locally owned and having a family atmosphere, they also have a network of world-class international delivery services in more than 220 countries and territories worldwide. They can get shipments to their destination overnight or can provide more economical options with standard international shipping.

Huggan comes from very humble roots and stays humble about making the Business in Vancouver list, quick to credit his closely-knit employees for the company’s success. Huggan started off as a single bike messenger working out of his art studio. He started his business by printing pamphlets and slipped them under the doors of local businesses.
Although Phantom Couriers has now grown to over 30 busy employees, they still use the personal touch with each customer they come into contact with. It’s this core value that allows the company to help more people while still staying true to its roots.

This attitude is what drives Mark Huggan, who doesn’t see making the list of fastest growing companies a big deal. For him, as long as he’s serving the people who trust him to get important documents and packages to where they need to go, he is happy.