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Q: Shipping from Poland to United States ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   4 Comments )
Subject: Shipping from Poland to United States
Category: Business and Money
Asked by: getanswers-ga
List Price: $50.00
Posted: 02 May 2005 19:58 PDT
Expires: 01 Jun 2005 19:58 PDT
Question ID: 517050
What is the best way to transport merchandise (porcelain, glass, in
general household/kitchenware items) from various cities in Poland to
the United States, specifically Chicagoland. I am interested in both
air and sea transport.  It seems that I can find port-to-port or
airport-to-airport transportation, but the "first" and "last" miles
are a problem.  I would like to pick up the shipments from some
Chicagoland location as I don't have a dock to which a semi-truck to
deliver my products.  Also, I would like to find out what fees I need
to pay along the way (duties, taxes, what rates should I expect for
both air and sea transport, etc).  Where should I turn to get
appropriate papers/applications/forms to carry on this transport of
goods?  Are there minimum amouts that have to be shipped? At first, I
will not have a full container of goods.  I would like to ship smaller
amounts. How do I take care of the shippment from the manufacturer to
a sea port of an airport in Poland?  Who can take care of that first
leg ? ?first? mile?
Subject: Re: Shipping from Poland to United States
Answered By: hummer-ga on 03 May 2005 14:14 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hi getanswers,

Your question:
"What is the best way to transport merchandise (porcelain, glass, in
general household/kitchenware items) from various cities in Poland to
the United States, specifically Chicagoland."

The good 'ole postal system.

The easiest and most efficient way  to ship parcels valued at less
than $2000.00 is via the postal system. In this way, not only is the
cost of shipping alot less than if you used a freight forwarder, but
the parcel will be shipped to your door and no custom broker will be
needed.  Your contact in Poland need only make sure there is a
detailed invoice inside the parcel, take the parcel to their post
office, and affix a custom slip to the outside describing the contents
and value. It's also possible that their post office offers a pickup
service. It's also to your advantage to start small (under $1000
value) to learn the ropes, to smooth the way for larger transactions,
and to make sure your Polish contact does everything correctly. You
don't want a shipment of goods worth thousands stuck in customs or
returned for lack of the proper documentation.

>>> USPS 

"Importers have found that in some cases it is to their advantage to
use the mails to import merchandise into the United States. Some
benefits to be gained are:
* Ease in clearing shipments through Customs. The duties on parcels
valued at $2000 or less are collected by the letter carrier delivering
the parcels to the addressee.
* Savings on shipping charges. Smaller, low-valued packages can often
be sent less expensively through the mails.
* No entry required on duty-free merchandise not exceeding $2000 in value.
* No need to clear shipments personally if under $2000.
Joint Customs and postal regulations provide that all parcel post
packages must have a Customs declaration securely attached giving an
accurate description and the value of the contents. This declaration
is obtained at post offices. Commercial shipments must also be
accompanied by a commercial invoice enclosed in the parcel bearing the
Each mail article containing an invoice or statement cannot
conveniently be enclosed within the sealed article, it may be securely
attached to the article. Failure to comply with any of these
requirements will delay clearance of the shipment through Customs."

To estimate cost, try this link:
Poczta Polska (Polish Postal Service)

>>> Tariffs

To figure out how much duty you'll have to pay, you'll need to do some
research at the Tariff Information Center website. Tariffs depend on
many things (composition, shape, use, value, size, etc), for example,
one glass may have a tariff of 15% and another might be 6.9% even
though they are both used for drinking. The same goes for all types of
tableware, and only you know for sure exactly what you are importing. 
Probably the simplest thing to do is to order a small sample of all of
the items, shipped via the USPS, and see what customs charges. If you
want a very (very) rough estimate, use 10% of a parcel valued at $2000
equals $200.00.

Tariff  Information Center

(for example) Chapter 70 
Glass and glassware:  subsection 7013

>>> Custom Documents

In comparison, here is what you will need if you use a freight carrier:

Someone needs to be at the port of entry to receive the goods. It can
be you or you will need to designate someone (usually a Customs
Broker) to pass the shipment through customs. A broker will be
familiar with the proper protocol, but basically he will need:

Entry Manifest, Customs Form 7533 [broker will supply]
Commercial invoice [from Poland]
Packing lists [from Poland]
    * Country of Origin
    * Manufacturer or Dealer Identity

US Customs Guide to Importing:
"When a shipment reaches the United States, the importer of record
(i.e.. the owner, purchaser, or licensed customs broker designated by
the owner, purchaser, or consignee) will file entry documents for the
goods with the district or port director at the port of entry."
"Within five working days of the date of arrival of a shipment at a
U.S. port of entry, entry documents must be filed at a location
specified by the district/area director, unless an extension is
granted. These documents consist of:
* Entry Manifest, Customs Form 7533;...
* Evidence of right to make entry.
* Commercial invoice ...
* Packing lists if appropriate.
* Other documents necessary to determine merchandise admissibility."

Right to Make Entry:
"Customs brokers will prepare and file the necessary Customs entries,
arrange for the payment of the duties found due, take steps to effect
the release of the goods in Customs custody, and otherwise represent
their principals in customs matters. The fees charged for these
services may vary according to the Customs broker and the extent of
services performed."

Examination of Good and Entry Documents:
"Examination of goods and documents is necessary to determine, among other things: 
The value of the goods for Customs purposes and their dutiable status. 
Whether the goods must be marked with the country of their origin or
require special marking or labeling. If so, whether they are:
* marked in the manner required.
* Whether the shipment contains prohibited articles.
* Whether the goods are correctly invoiced. 
* Whether the goods are in excess of the invoiced quantities or a shortage exists.
* Whether the shipment contains illegal narcotics."

International Shipping Checklist
"Follow these step-by-step guidelines for international shipping
preparation to avoid unnecessary delays as your shipment moves through
the international shipping process."

Commercial Invoice
Certificate of Origin 
Shipper's Letter of Instruction
Proforma Invoice
Packing List

>>> Freight Forwarders

"... if you are importing your goods in small quantities, try to
contact a forwarding company who may have agents in the country where
you are importing. Many forwarders also act as consolidators, i.e.,
they gather small shipments from different shippers and consolidate
them into one 20 feet or 40 feet containers. Then they ship the
containers by SEA freight. Costs are far cheaper than using AIR
freight. Although the shipping time may take longer because there
might not be enough cargo to consolidate and shipped to your

"Welcome to Freightnet the ultimate freight resource for forwarders,
shipping lines, sea port authorities, airlines, airport authorities,
household removers, warehousing, packers and fulfilment, freight
software, track & trace, cargo and marine insurance, recruitment and
freight associations.
Exporters and importers regularly use our freight enquiry email
facility to source freight rates as well as forwarders and others
using the listings to find new contacts for co-operation and

Freight Forwarders in Chicago: search for "Chicago":

Freight Forwarders in Poland:

I hope I've been able to give you a good start. If you have any
questions, please post a clarification request *before* closing/rating
my answer and I'll be happy to reply.

Thank you,

I was able to use my extensive research on the subject.
getanswers-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Thanks a lot for your answer.  I have some work to do now to follow up
on all the info you have provided, but it is an exceptional starting
point.  Thanks!

Just a note, the postal system is probably out of question.  At first,
I will not be able to order a lot of merchendise, but I still think it
will be a pallet or two so the size/weight will be outside of the
postal service's range - I think.  I will however follow up on this
just to make sure.  Also, the monetary limit may be just a bit too
small.  I am thinking of $4 to $5 k worth of goods.  On the starting
small point, I will not be able to do much of that.  A lot of products
that I am looking at importing are made to order and minimum amounts
that will bring me to around $5k are required in most cases.

Thanks a lot for all the links.

Looking at this I will have to go with freight carrier/forwarder.

Thanks again for all the info.

Subject: Re: Shipping from Poland to United States
From: myoarin-ga on 03 May 2005 06:39 PDT
If you want door-to-door service of what is generally household-type
goods that require careful handling  (even if they are already
packed), I think you will need an international moving company.   You
will want an outfit based in the States with an office in Chicago. 
They will (should  - find one that does) know all the answers to your
questions and handle the international documentation, customs,
shipping by air or sea, etc.  The US company will work with a Polish
outfit to handle the other end but will be responsible for its work,
and may charge US prices for it too, but you will have a US contract
if anything goes astray or breaks.

A search with:  international removals OR movers poland chicago
gets 20,000 hits.

With just: international removals OR movers chicago 

you get sites that offer free estimates, but these probably can only
suggest basic differences in pricing, unless you can detail what is
needed in Poland.

Of course, if you have good connections in Poland, you could probably
save money by having a Polish company collect and pack the goods for
shipping.  Then a
freight forwarder would handle shipping and delivery in Chicago.

If the goods are coming from manufacturers, they probably can arrange
delivery to a freight forwarder, partner of "your" Chicago forwarder.

If the goods are less than a container-full, they may be shipped by
sea with other goods going to Chicago, which could delay things,
depending on the traffic and the efficiency of the forwarder in
compiling a container load.

If you want go that route, then talk to freight forwarders in Chicago.

That is a little about the mechanics of the matter.

Hope it helps, or inspires a researcher to give you an answer.
Subject: Re: Shipping from Poland to United States
From: getanswers-ga on 04 May 2005 20:17 PDT
Also, myoarin thanks for getting this thing going!
Subject: Re: Shipping from Poland to United States
From: myoarin-ga on 05 May 2005 07:49 PDT
My pleasure, Getanswers, and you sure got a good one!

If you are getting pallets of goods, they will surely be packed for
transport and can be delivered by the producers to the freight
Since they are getting your business, I would think that you are in a
good position to bargain with them to have them arrange or even pay
for this portion of the transport.

Good luck!
Subject: Re: Shipping from Poland to United States
From: hummer-ga on 08 May 2005 12:28 PDT
Dear getanswers,

Thank you for you nice note, rating, and update and good luck with
your new venture. Maybe this link will help - just follow the wizard
to receive quotes from various shippers.

"Compare International movers or cargo shipping companies. Fill a
quick cargo shipping request form and get many offers. Make your own
informed shipping choice!"

Good luck!

Also, thank you to myoarin-ga for helping with this.

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