Shipping from Italy to US

Shipping from Italy to US: The Ultimate Guide

If you would like to learn the ropes of Shipping from Italy to US, read this guide.

It tells you how to ship goods you source from Italy to US hassle-free.

Here, you may find clues to choose the cheapest and fastest shipping methods, cut costs for your business, and much more.

Top Products Shipping from Italy to US

Italy offers a rich and diverse marketplace, providing a wide range of fascinating products.

The country has maintained a reputation for top-quality products and has become a popular market for the US.

According to statistics, in 2019, USA’s top imports from Italy were vehicles, pharmaceutical products, wine, machinery, and electronics. The same goes for 2020.

Here are some of Italy’s most common products that you may import for your business in the US.

· Vehicles

Italy is known for its luxurious vehicles.

They’re fast, sporty, and, well, pretty high-end.

With the US’s knack for quality, vehicles from Italy make a hot commodity in some of the US top vehicle yards.

In 2019 alone, the US imported over $4.6 billion worth of vehicles from Italy.

This only shows how popular Italian vehicle brands have developed a liking across the US.

If you’re considering shipping vehicles from Italy, popular brands such as Lamborghini, Ferrari, Fiat, Alfa, and Romeo are a sure place to start.

· Pharmaceutical Products

You should know that Italy is Europe’s largest producer of medicines and pharmaceutical products.

For these reasons, it is among the US’s top marketplaces for pharmaceutical products.

In 2019, the US imported well over $8 billion worth of pharmaceuticals from Italy, the 2nd largest US’s imports that Year by monetary value.

With Italy’s skilled workforce and machinery, the country’s pharmaceutical industry guarantees quality product production.

You can import nearly any kind of pharmaceuticals from Italy as long as it is within the confines of the US’s quality and safety standards.

· Machinery

Italy boasts of having some of the best machinery in the world.

Companies such as Pietro Carnaghi, Jobs S.P.A, and the Sacmi group offer an array of machinery.

You can import machinery of any kind from Italy, ranging from packaging, grinding, and processing machinery to the US.

With many other countries heading to Italy for machinery, you can seize the opportunity before the market is flooded.

· Electricals

On average, each household in the US has an electronic appliance in use.

This shows how electronic products are essential and have an equally high demand.

You can import electronic products from Italy either for resell or for personal use.

Electronics from major suppliers such as the AMARC Srl, Tasker, and others are pretty popular among US customers.

· Wine



In the U.S., imported wines are many, but the ones that are from Europe – the land of fine wines.

While European wine has been a favorite of the crowds for a long time, Italian wine, in particular, has been gaining fame at a steady pace.

Wine from Italy is highly praised by food and wine connoisseurs and loved by drinkers all over the US.

Italia wine is well known for its distinctive flavor and taste relished by the regulars of many US wine stores.

Other products you can ship from Italy include food and spices, electrical products, optical, photo, and technical apparatus.

How to choose your Supplier in Italy

The most important part of a successful shipping process is having a good supplier.

And when Shipping from Italy to US, it is vital to have a good relationship with the supplier.

It is more of a standard requirement as Italians, like Chinese, value relationships a lot, whether personal or business.

This is vital if you intend to develop stable business relations for your import from Italy to US business.

With that in mind, there are many ways of finding a good supplier in Italy.

You can rely on your connections for recommendations or search online.

Physically visiting Italy and getting to know your supplier is also another option.

This may not only land you a good supplier but also help you establish the much-needed trust in Italian business relationships.

Note that an ideal supplier in Italy should:

  • Be able to provide quality products
  • Have flexible payment terms
  • Supply you with any quantity of product
  • Have prompt turnaround time
  • Genuine prices that give you impressive profit margins

Sea Freight from Italy to US

You have three options in shipping your goods from Italy to US.

When you choose which method to use, consider the total volume and weight of your shipment.

Cargo ship in transit

Cargo Ship in transit

The first method of shipping your goods is through Sea freight which advisable if you’re shipping large volumes of goods.

However, sea shipments take a considerable amount of it, at least several weeks to reach the destination port.

Ocean shipping also has additional costs like customs clearance and inland transportation to your distribution center.

Then there are the documents that you have to process in the port of origin and destination.

You can spare yourself the hassle of preparing the paperwork by hiring a 3rd party agent with custom broker capabilities.

The agent also has to have extensive experience with the port of origin and destination you’re working with.

· Advantages of Sea Shipping

The advantages of sea shipping are many. They include:

  • Economical– You cannot mention ocean shipping without talking about how it saves on budget. Compared to other modes of transport over long distances, ocean freight rates are estimated to be four to six times lower.
  • Efficiency– Regardless of your cargo’s size, shape, or weight, ocean freight covers you. With LCL availability, FCL, and bulk cargo, you can ship all types of products.
  • Safety- Certain types of materials that included Hazmat goods cannot be transported by other means of transport. Nevertheless, ships are designed to ensure safety and offer you safer shipping for all kinds of goods.
  • Environmental friendliness- Unlike other transport means, ships provide the most efficient form of carbon transport.

Sea Ports for Shipping from Italy to US

Some top and busy seaports to consider when importing from Italy to US are:

· Port of Napoli

The port of Napoli is among the largest ports in Italy.

It is also one of the largest ports serving the Mediterranean region.

This, therefore, shows how busy and established the port is.

The port has many sufficient terminals that are well equipped for container handling.

With the large docks and storage, this port can suit your needs if you import larger cargo volumes.

· Port of Cagliari

This port has a large capacity of around fifty-five million tons, which adds to the list of large ports in the Mediterranean region.

This port prides itself in handling bulk cargoes, general cargo, and container goods with a large capacity.

· Port of Genoa

Genoa’s port is the busiest in Italy and covers 1,250 acres of water and over 1,700 acres of land.

With a capacity of over 57million tons per year, this port can handle any type of cargo.

· Port of La Spezia

The port of La Spezia is known for its specialization in handling containers.

It has high-end technologies and equipment to ensure smooth and fast handling of cargo.

This port can serve your needs if you are importing from inland parts of Italy because it gives you direct shipping.

Additionally, your receiving port in the US has an impact in determining the process of customs clearance, offloading and safe storage of your cargo.

The major ports in the US you can use to receive your cargo from Italy include:

  • Port of Los Angeles
  • Port of savannah
  • Port of Seattle
  • Port of long beach
  • Port of New York

Airfreight from Italy to US

Airfreight is the second method you can consider for shipping your orders from Italy to US.

It is advantageous if you need products to be shipped to you in a short time.

Compared to sea freight, air freight is more considerable if your order is low volume, low weight, and value.

Cargo Airline

Cargo Airlines

There is also a lot of Italy to US Air shipping service providers that you can choose from.

· Advantages of Airfreight

Like every other form of transport, Airfreight offers several benefits.

These are:

  • Fast shipping – When your customers are on your neck and need delivery as soon as possible, you can use air freight.
  • High reliability in terms of arrival and departure time – When it comes to scheduling operations, Airfreight offers the best.

The flights are scheduled, and once you book a space, you are confident of receiving your goods at the exact date and time unless otherwise communicated.

  • Easy tracking of cargo – The use of mobile apps and online tracking systems within the aviation industry allows you to monitor your products from departure to arrival.
  • Less need for warehousing – When you are using Airfreight to deliver your goods from Italy to the US, the need to warehouse your products is reduced. You can order your goods and receive them as early as two days depending on the Airfreight service you choose.

· Airport Guide when Shipping from Italy to US

When it comes to airport choice, you should consider several things.

These include how busy the airport is, its efficiency, and the number of flights operating within the transport route.

The major airports in Italy you can use to transport your goods to the US include:

  • Leonardo da Vinci Fiumicino airport in Rome
  • Malpensa Airport in Milan
  • Venice Marco polo in Venice
  • Orio al Serio in Bergamo

Before choosing an airport to use in Italy, it would also help to factor in its proximity to your supplier and flights’ availability.

When choosing an airport in the US, you should note that certain airports are specific to passenger handling.

Thus their efficiency in handling cargo may not suit your needs.

Moreover, it would be best if you chose the closest airport to where you want your goods.

Some of the major cargo airports you can use to deliver your cargo from Italy to US include:

  • Los Angeles International Airport, California
  • JFK International Airport, New York
  • Indianapolis International Airport, Indiana
  • Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, Texas

Express Shipping from Italy to US

Express shipping is a type of expedited shipping.

It means that once the cargo reaches the shipping terminal, it must be delivered 2-3 business days.

· How Express Shipping Works

Express shipping takes place by air freight, and the emphasis is on ensuring that goods are delivered as fast as possible.

In this, shippers must book shipping space during the day.

This allows the shipping company to schedule the shipment for transportation overnight or the next day, whichever is suitable.

Express shipping is advised for very small and light packages, usually below 500kgs, as anything more than that maybe a tad too costly.

·  Benefits of Express Shipping

Express shipping provides several benefits, especially if you’re shipping goods from different suppliers in Italy.

  • You get to receive your orders fast. – One of the major benefits of express shipping is that you receive your products more quickly. This way, your customers don’t have to wait longer for their orders.
  • Satisfaction is guaranteed – When importing goods, you want to receive them in the best condition possible. Express shipping ensures safe delivery due to the minimal handling and speedy delivery time.
  • Fewer inventories in the store – Express shipping has made it easy to directly get your products from a supplier and fulfill a customer’s order without keeping long inventories.

· Express Shipping vs. Standard Air Freight from Italy to US

The main difference between express shipping and standard Shipping from Italy to US is the delivery time.

Express shipping can deliver your products from Italy to the US on the same day.

In terms of shipping costs, standard shipping offers cost-effective shipping because no special provision is given to the product.

Because express air freight utilizes air couriers, its rates are high.

Also, on average express air freight takes from 1-3 days for products to ship.

On the other hand, with standard shipping, products take between 2-8 days to ship.

Most important is to note that standard air freight allows you to ship more volume and weight.

Express shipping is cost-effective for packages weighing 500kgs and below.

· Popular Express Shipping Companies from Italy to US

Many companies offer express shipping services from Italy to US.

The most popular of these companies are:

Express shipping companies

Express shipping companies

  • Dwarka courier
  • DHL
  • FedEx
  • UPS
  • DB Schenker

These companies are all at the top of their game.

They provide top-quality express shipping services with a safety guarantee like no other.

The companies have also invested in quality and fast-tracking systems, which allow for easy monitoring of shipments.

Shipping Container from Italy to US

Shipping container involves leasing a container to carry your products from Italy to the US.

It can also imply booking container space and having your products shipped alongside other importers in the same container.

· Container Shipping Options

Types of shipping containers

Types of Shipping Containers

Container shipping is mainly identified by the type of shipping container you choose to use.

Depending on the type of goods you’re shipping, there two main types of containers to consider.

These are:

  • Dry van containers – these are the typical metal containers. They are a common and versatile option widely preferred for shipping dry cargo.

These containers have a very sturdy structure.

They are watertight and weatherproof, making them safe for shipping over long distances.

Dry Van containers come in standard 20ft, 40ft, and 45ft sizes.

  • Reefer Containers – These are also known as refrigerated containers. They comprise an outer metal construction and a delicately refrigerated interior.

These types of containers are used to ship perishable goods and any other that require refrigerated conditions.

· FCL vs. LCL Shipment

Apart from the options above, container shipping can be done in two ways: Full container load (FCL) Shipping or Less than Container Load (LCL) shipping.

Your choice between FCL and LCL shipping will depend mainly on your shipment volume and your budget.

With FCL shipment, you’re renting out an entire container for a single shipment. Only your goods are shipped in an FCL container booking.

FCL is effective if:

  • You need your products delivered from Italy to the US on a specific date.
  • You have enough products to occupy a whole container
  • You are shipping delicate or high-value cargo
  • You value the safety of your products and want them sealed for the entire journey

The Less Than Container Load (LCL) shipping is applicable when your products’ quantity is less and cannot fit a container.

In this case, you don’t hire the whole container but instead pay for your products’ space.

You can consider the LCL shipment  option when:

  • Delivery time is not an issue
  • The nature of your cargo allows sharing of a container.
  • When the quantities of goods you are Shipping from Italy to US is less.
  • Airfreight is not a viable option.
  • You don’t want to spend extra cash on hiring a container.

Though cheap when shipping fewer goods, LCL means that other shippers’ products are consolidated in the same container.

Once they are delivered in the US, they are de-consolidated.

This means that there is a time lag before you receive your products instead ofthe FCL shipping option.

· Benefits of Container Shipping

Container shipping is widely adapted for shipping all types of products.

It offers many benefits to the shipper, which include;

  • It is a secure method of shipping since it protects the goods. After selecting the products in Italy, you only break the seal on receiving them in the US.
  • In a way, container shipping offers a fast means of transport at a lower cost.

The whole unit in the container is documented, and there is no need to pass every product through customs.

  • Container shipping is dynamic, which means that it accepts all goods, whether large, small, dangerous, or even in batches.

Though beneficial, container shipping also has certain disadvantages that limit their usage by some shippers.

For example, if your product is irregular in shape and too large, you are limited from using a container for shipping.

Additionally, some containers may lack proper ventilation, leading to damage of certain products when Shipping from Italy to US.

· Cost of Container Shipping from Italy to US

Several factors determine the cost of shipping containers from Italy to the US.

These factors are the shipping company, the container’s size, the departure port in Italy, and the US’s arrival port.

You can use either a 20FT shipping container, 40Ft, or 45ft high cube container, depending on your product’s quantity and size.

On average, for a 20 Ft container, you will incur from $ 6,000- $7,000 depending on the mentioned factors.

On the other hand, you will incur from $12,000-$ 13,000 on a 40ft container.

High cube containers cost a little more, from $13000-$20000 depending on the carrier.

Shipping from Italy to US Customs Rules and Regulations

Like any other country, custom rules and regulations are vital.

They play a massive role in ensuring all importers abide by the set safety rules, pay custom fees, and only import allowed products.

· Shipping Requirements from Italy to US

Before settling on shipping as an option to serve your business need, you should consider looking at all the exporting and importing country requirements.

The USA is strict when it comes to importation, and all products entering the country must meet set standards, which can vary from product to product.

For instance, if you are importing steel, you first must acquire a steel license that you should apply for 60 days before the importation.

Other essential shipping requirements include;

  • Import declaration – US customs require all importers to create a packing list of the goods they are bringing into the US. This ensures that you declare everything you’re importing.
  • Power of Attorney-allows the transfer of liability from Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) to you, the importer.

· Prohibitions and Restrictions on Goods Shipped from Italy to US

When importing to the US, you should note that CBP officials may physically open and inspect your shipment.

Hence, you ought to know precisely what the US prohibits and restricts importation.

Remember, when your shipment contains prohibited or restricted products, customs will confiscate the cargo.

Also, you may face disciplinary action in terms of jail time, fines, or hefty penalties.

The following products are restricted for import into the US:

  • Certain alcoholic beverages – you must first provide an International Special Commodities (ISC) contract to be allowed to ship them.

Additionally, you must get permission from CBP, US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Alcohol and Tobacco Tax, and Trade Bureau (TTB) to be allowed to ship.

  • Batteries – All batteries imported to the US must be shipped with positive short-circuit protection, including insulating caps.
  • Electronic cigarette /vaping product – You can only ship this with a special ISC contract.
  • Jewelry – Shipping of Jewelry is only allowed for a value worth less than $200.
  • Seeds –You can only import seeds if you have a United States Department of Agriculture Plant Protection and Quarantine permit.

Other products are prohibited from importing to US, and you can verify with the CBP before shipping.

These products include:

  • Narcotics and medicines containing prohibited substances
  • Trademarked goods which are considered to be counterfeits
  • Weapons and firearms (fully automatic and semi-automatic)
  • Absinthe which is not thujone free
  • Soil, livestock, and animal pests
  • Pornographic materials

Checking with CBP for special requirements on your intended products can help save you.

Product Quality and Safety Regulations when Shipping from Italy to US

Different products shipped from Italy to the US must meet set product quality and safety standards.

Failure to which, Customs may refuse the shipment’s entry into the US on account ofcompliance breach.

Here are some regulatory requirements to consider when importing from Italy to US.

  • Country of Origin mark – the C/O label is mandatory for all products imported into the US.

There is no other way around it unless you buy parts and assembled them in the US.

Then you can label them as “made in the USA.”

Otherwise, it is not allowed for foreign manufactured products.

  • Textiles and Apparel – all textile and apparel products you import from Italy to US must comply fully with OTEXA textile standards.

The textiles must also have a country of origin label.

When you import textiles from Italy, make sure to provide your supplier with a digital of the OTEXA requirements.

This will help them manufacture, package, and label your products as per the requisite standards.

  • Children’s products– these must comply with CPSIA and have a Children’s products Certificate (CPC).

According to CPSIA requirements, you need to ensure that all children’s products you import meet the applicable safety standards such as ASTM F983.

You should also submit samples of the products to a CPSIA accredited lab for testing, for which you will get a CP certificate.

The label should also extend to the packaging.

That is not all; CPSIA requires that you affix a permanent tracking label on each product you import into the US.

If you fail to comply with any of these requirements, US customs may seize your products.

CPSIA may also recall the products at some.

Fail to comply with one of these, and US customs can confiscate your product.

  • Electronic products– the FCC regulates electronics products distributed in the United States.

It mandates all electronics imported into the country to comply with its regulations and contain an FCC mark.

There are also other standards, although voluntary that electronic imports to the US should comply with.

Examples are the UL (Underwriter Laboratories) requirements.

Please note that there are no mandatory standards areregulating every aspect of all products you import to the US.

Be that as it may, all product imports to the US must be safe.

That is, even if there are no specific standards that apply.

If your products are, for any reason, found to be unsafe, the CPSC and other regulatory agencies have the right to issue a recall.

Meaning, you’ll have to order customers to return the products and refund them.

Of course, you will not be compensated for your loss by the government or supplier.

How much it Costs to Ship from Italy to US

The cost of shipping goods from Italy to US is not cast in stone.

Certain factors determine the final shipping cost.

To calculate the shipping cost from Italy to the US, you must first factor in shipping mode.

Depending on the mode you choose, your sea freight costs will be lower than the air freight and express shipping modes.

However, the actual shipping costs vary from one port to the other and with your shipping company.

Fortunately, many shipping companies provide cost calculators that can help you determine the shipping cost.

· Factors that Determine the Cost of Shipping from Italy to US

As I have said, many factors influence the cost of shipping goods from Italy to US.

These are:

  • Nature of goods – The complex handling of your goods, and the more space they occupy, the higher your shipping cost will be.

For example, bulk cargo and reefer freight cost more to ship compared to normal shipment.

  • The chosen mode of transport (FCL, LCL, and Air) – In terms of transport mode, air transport will attract higher shipping costs, followed by FCL and LCL.
  • Weight of the cargo – Depending on the mode of transport, weight can significantly affect shipping costs.

In Airfreight, the greater the weight, the higher the shipping cost.

This, however, is not the case in sea shipping as weight and volume are all essential in determining freight rates.

  • The cargo dimension – Cargo with larger dimensions occupies more space and hence attracts a higher cost of shipping.
  • Distance between origin and destination – The longer the distance covered during shipping, the higher the shipping costs.
  • Type of service – If you are looking for convenience by having your products delivered to your door (The Door-to-door method), you will incur higher shipping costs. Port-to-port delivery is significantly cheaper.

How to Reduce your Shipping Cost from Italy to US

To reduce your shipping costs from Italy to US, consider the following tips.

· Have all the Required Documents

Documentation is an important aspect when Shipping from Italy to US.

You should get everything right to avoid extra expenses.

· Book Early

Many importers are venturing into the Italian market, which means that many ports and vessels are busy, leading to an upsurge in shipping costs.

Booking in advance can help you save costs and reduce delays, especially when you intend to ship during peak seasons.

· Comparing Prices of Different Shipping Companies

The first shipping company with prices seeming moderate does not mean they are the best.

You can compare the prices of different shipping companies before settling on one.

How Long it Takes to Ship Cargo from Italy to US

Shipping time from Italy to US depends highly on the shipping mode you use.

· Airfreight Shipping Time

Airfreight offers a faster shipping option but is limited to only a given type of product.

The shipping time varies from one port to the other and can even last up to 6 days.

Some of the examples of transit time in major air freight routes between Italy and the United States are:

Airport in ItalyAirports in the USShipping time
  1. Milan
Chicago O’Hare3 days
  1. Rome
JFK, New York3 days
  1. Milan
JFK, New York6 days
  1. Milan
Miami4 days

· Ocean Freight Shipping Time

Vessel speed also influences shipping time from Italy to US.

The shipping time is also influenced by shipping FCL or LCL, with FCL shipping time being shorter.

Some examples of shipping times include;

Seaport in ItalySea Port in the USShipping time
  1. Genoa
Charleston 25 days for FCL
  1. Genoa
Savannah21 days for FCL
  1. Naples
Houston36 days for FCL
  1. La Spezia
New York23 days for FCL

· Express Shipping Time

The express shipping time is the shortest and is determined by when packages are delivered to the booking station.

Express shipping will take 3-8 days to deliver goods from Italy to US.

· Factors Affecting Shipping Time from Italy to US

The main factors that affect shipping time from Italy to the US include;

  • Distance– the longer the distance from the loading port in Italy to the US’s delivery port, the longer the delivery time.
  • Processing time– your product must undergo fulfillment in several processing points, increasing the shipping time.
  • Shipping method– Your shipment’s shipping time is affected by the shipping method you choose.

As you know, Air freight is fast and express shipping is faster.

Ocean shipping, on the other hand, is slow but very cost-efficient for shipping large volumes.

Best Incoterms to Use when Shipping from Italy to US

Incoterms define boundaries in terms of the transfer of responsibilities.

It dictates the amount you pay the supplier for shipping.

Different suppliers in Italy can quote different prices depending on the incoterm you choose to use.

There are many incoterms you can choose from depending on your needs.

Shipping Incoterms

Shipping Incoterms

However, if you are just getting into shipping from Italy, you can adopt the Delivered at Place (DAP) incoterm.

This incoterm gives you the freedom to relax and let your supplier deliver the goods at your desired location.

Nevertheless, if you want transparency in handling your product, you can choose the free Onboard (FOB) incoterm.

It allows you to monitor every part of your product’s shipping process.

If you are already experienced in Shipping from Italy to US, you can use the EXW incoterm.

The EXW incoterm implies that your supplier will only quote the product’s cost and then allow you to arrange all other shipping processes.

EXW is complex and involves a lot of processing.

From picking your product, arranging for inland transport, booking a shipping vessel to even the most complex part of customs clearance.

For those who need goods insured during shipping, CIF shipping is a viable option.

How to Package your Products to Ship from Italy to US

Proper packaging is essential when shipping products from Italy to the US.

As an importer, you need to liaise with the supplier to ensure the products are well packaged to avoid during handling.

The following guidelines can help you safely package your products for shipping to the US:

  • Use a robust and rigid box that has no creases
  • Wrap each product in the box separately.
  • Use proper packing materials and seal the package well
  • Maintain a suitable number of products in the box that meet the set limit
  • Use proper labeling that states the content of the package and weight
  • Cushion the items in the box as tight as possible to reduce toppling over

For proper packaging, use a double-lined box for quantities above 10 kg and less than 30 kg.

For those above 30 kg, use a triple-lined corrugate box.

If your products exceed 40 kg, use a wooden box or a pallet to prevent wrecking of the box.

Indicate the pallet’s dimension at the booking port in Italy to prevent instances of your box is rejected.

Wrap each box with suitable shipping tape and wrap as many times to prevent damage during shipping.

When shipping to the US, you can also use pallets to group your boxes into units.

If you are shipping HAZMAT products from Italy to the US, it is essential to identify them for easy and safe handling.

Labelling HAZMAT for Shipping

Labelling HAZMAT for shipping

Note that HAZMAT products require declaring with the CBP before shipping.

They also require special labeling and packaging for safe shipping.

US Customs Clearance, Duties, and Paperwork

Customs clearance is a must when importing from Italy to US.

In this, you need to complete all requisite formalities and abide by the regulations to ensure smooth shipping and clearance.

Remember that customs formalities consist of having the right paperwork and paying all applicable duties and taxes.

It also involves going through the necessary clearance procedures before goods can be admitted for entry.

· Shipping documentation

For you to get your goods, you must present the necessary documents to the US CBP.

Some of the necessary documents needed for customs clearance include:

  • Certificate of origin
  • Bill of lading
  • Commercial invoice
  • Letter of credit or other payment terms

Customs might as well need other documents before the clearance.

You can check with your freight forwarder of CBP.

It is also worth mentioning that all importers must fill a customs declaration form which contains the following information.

  • Quantity of items
  • Value of each imported item
  • Name and complete addresses of the sender and receiver
  • Terms of payment
  • Weight and dimension of the package

· US import Clearance Procedure

The US customs clearance process is relatively straightforward.

It begins with the shipper starts by filing the applicable shipping and import documents.

Customs officials confirm that details on the documents match the shipment details and review the products’ HTS classification.

Upon HTS review, customs will calculate the applicable taxes and duties.

The exact amount of duty to be paid will depend on the type of goods shipped, the shipment value, and the US customs regulations on duties and taxes.

You or your customs broker will fill the entry summary, after which CBP will release or hold the products for examination and forward duties owed.

Importers will then pay the import duty and tax as charged.

Upon successful confirmation of payment, CBP will release your goods for transport to the final destination.

· Customs Duties and Taxes in the US

By law, goods shipped from Italy to the US incur duties and taxes.

You must pay duties at the US customs before being allowed to pick your shipped goods.

The duties payable to customs include;

Merchandise Processing Fee (MPF)

The MPF is a small fee charged by US customs for the services of offloading and handling of your goods while at the port.

The fee is minimal and sometimes goes unnoticed for many importers.

The fee is calculated based on the order value but with a flat rate on goods whose value falls below a set limit.

For goods whose order value is less than $200, the MPF is charged $2, $6, or $9 per shipment.

Goods whose order value is above $200 are charged 0.3465% of the order value.

Finally, the maximum MPF should not exceed $425, and for any goods whose MPF exceeds the amount when calculated, a flat rate of $425 is used.

Harbor Maintenance Fees (HMF)

All goods shipped to the US must pay a fee that helps maintain the US ports.

HMF is charged on a standard basis of 0.125% of the total cargo value.

When it comes to customs clearance, keeping necessary paperwork is the only sure way to have your goods delivered swiftly.

Federal Exercise Duty

This fee is only charged on alcoholic beverages and tobacco

· How to Pay Customs Duties in the US

After determining the applicable customs duties, you can make payments through cheque, credit cards, and wire transfers.

To get hold of your goods, you present a receipt for clearance with customs.

How Shipping from Italy to US Works

To get your goods from Italy to the US, you can handle all the processes yourself or hire a freight forwarder’s service.

· Handling all Shipping Procedures Yourself

Handling the shipping process is overwhelming and can involve a lot of risks if not handled well.

If you want to handle the shipping process yourself, you should be acquainted with major US importation laws.

You should also have links with suppliers, shipping companies and understand major shipping terms.

Getting everything right requires experience and enough time to understand everything.

· Hire a Freight Forwarder to Handle the Shipping Process

A freight forwarder can be an individual or company specializing in arranging, storage, and shipping merchandise.

They provide a range of services that include tracking, arranging to ship, handling documents, negotiating freight charges, and booking cargo space.

A freight forwarder is, therefore, an important asset that can help uplift your business,

Advantages of a freight forwarder include;

  • Efficient tracking systems are allowing you to walk with your cargo at every point of the shipping journey.
  • Freight forwarders provide security by guaranteeing the safety of your cargo during shipping.
  • Accurate documentation process
  • Provision of warehousing services
  • Proper inventory management

Though necessary in shipping, freight forwarders have certain disadvantages to your business that include;

No Regulations

The freight industry is not adequately regulated, and as such, you are exposed to more risks of product theft, damage, and even seizure.

Unfair Pricing

Hiring a freight forwarder’s services can be expensive because, in many cases, you are not sure of the markups they add.


Given the nature of the relationship, communication is valuable, and any hitch can cause a lot of damage to your business.

Also, language barrier can lead to a misunderstanding causing delays in the delivery of products.

These disadvantages should not discourage you from using freight forwarders because they are avoidable.

To choose between handling the shipping process yourself and selecting a freight forwarder, you should first identify your shipping experience, budget, and the necessity of your business.

If you have a lower shipping budget, you can handle the shipping process yourself with caution.

Your business is valuable, and you require the best; simply choose a reputable freight forwarder and let them do what they do best.

Tracking your Shipment from Italy to US

When Shipping from Italy to US, it is crucial to track your shipment to plan your business operations effectively.

Regardless of your shipping method, your shipping company should provide you with a way to monitor your shipments.

Courier companies have a unique tracking number that you can use to track your express shipments.

For standard air and sea freights, the bill of lading number can also be used.

With the tracking number, head over to the company’s website, input the number and watch as your product nears you.

If you are shipping from Italy through a freight forwarder, they should help you trace your shipment at all times.

Tracking your shipment is one way that allows you to set your schedules, accept your customer’s orders, and increase your supply chain efficiency.

Final Thoughts

Italy offers a variety of products that can help increase your business profit margins.

However, the shipping process can cause you a lot of headaches or even losses.

You require a perfect business partner with a long shipping history.

At Bansar, we can help meet your shipping needs from Italy to US, reach our dedicated team today, and see your business grow.

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