Welcome to our Frequently Asked Shipping Questions!

Air Transportation

How do I calculate the chargeable value on my freight for international shipments?

To calculate the volumetric weight in lbs, you need to multiply the three dimensions in inches (length, width and height) and divide the result with the dimensional factor 166, which applies for international shipments. The airline will charge for the higher result (physical weight or dimensional weight).

What’s the difference between parcel and freight?

Parcel or courier shipments are small, lightweight, individually packaged and labeled, and they typically weigh 75 pounds or less. However, most parcel carriers allow shipments of up to 150 pounds and 165” in length + girth. Freight, on the other hand, is any shipment that weighs more than 150 pounds and is normally boxed, palletized or crated.

What are the packing guidelines for airfreight?

Individual pieces over 150 lbs. should be secured by strapping to the pallet with either metal or plastic straps. Some airlines require double strapping. For international shipments, countries require the wood used in pallets or crating to be treated with chemicals or heat to avoid possible pest infestation. A viable alternative to wood pallets, are plastic pallets. We recommend to use stretch wrap to keep all pieces of a shipment together and to avoid movement of boxes during shipment. This practice is highly recommended for safety reasons.

Ocean Transportation

What is an ITN number?

It’s and internal transaction number that the Us Foreign trade regulation requires to file electronically for goods which are exported from United States and value is from and exceed USD 2500.

What is an OBL release?

This type of release is requested by the freight forwarder in origin in order to the shipping line can print the original bl at destination and let the cargo out the port.

What do ETD and ETA mean?

ETD stands for Estimated Time of Departure and its related with the estimated time or date the cargo will be depart from the terminal of export. ETA stand for Estimated Time of Arrival, and its related with the estimated time or date the cargo will arrive to the designated destination terminal.

Ground Transportation

What is a freight classification?

The freight classification system was created by the National Motor Freight Traffic Association (NMFTA) to provide a standardized freight pricing structure for all types of shippable commodities.

Commodities are grouped into 18 freight classes, signified as numbers between 50 and 500. The classification of your freight is determined by the weight, dimensions, density, ease of handling, value and liability (probability of freight damage or theft). Typically, the lower the class number, the lower the freight shipping price per pound.

Can transit time of freight be guaranteed?

While freight shipping services are very reliable, shipments do not typically come with a guaranteed transit time unless it is requested. Pickup day is not included in the qualification and calculation of transit time.

What are less than truckload (LTL) and full truckload (FTL)?

Truckload and less than truckload are both excellent options, but what are they? The transport of freight that does not require the entire space of a truck is also known as less than truckload (LTL) shipping, whereas full truckload (FTL) shipments take up the space or weight limit of an entire trailer. Depending on your specific freight requirements, one option is likely better suited than the other.

What is a truckload (LTL) shipping?

Less than truckload (LTL) shipping allows multiple shippers to share space on the same truck. It is the more cost efficient option of the two, with multiple companies paying for their portion of trailer space. The less than truckload (LTL) shipping route is also ideal for businesses who have freight shipments less than 15,000 pounds.
To protect items while in transit, it is essential to consolidate goods into large, crated or palletized packages. It is important to prepare the shipment to endure handling during transfer to multiple trailers before it arrives at the consignee or destination so that freight does not become damaged.

What is a full truckload (FTL) shipping?

If less than truckload shipping doesn’t meet your needs, then full truckload shipping might be for you. Companies use full truckload when:

  • There are enough items to fill an entire truck.
  • The customer prefers a whole truck dedicated to their goods.
  • The freight is time sensitive.
  • The weight makes it more cost effective than less than truckload.

With LTL, shipments typically travel on only one truck with one destination, so delivery time estimates are often accurate and fast in comparison to LTL shipping.
The chance of possible damage to items during transit also decreases since there is less handling of the freight at multiple stops. Truckload also makes more sense when the freight weighs more than 15,000 pounds, or the company has more than 10 pallets worth of goods to transport.

Is there an extra fee if I ship a cargo to a tradeshow or a tradeshow’s warehouse?

Yes, there is a fee/special carrier for shipping into a tradeshow and you should notify us if your cargo is going to or coming from a tradeshow as it will require a special handling from the carrier. Please note that GCA is currently not delivering to tradeshows unless we can ship via courier (FedEx or UPS). Note that there are specialized carriers who handle tradeshows.

Are there guaranteed pickups?

There are not guaranteed pickups for LTL carriers but there are guaranteed deliveries. If there is a weather problem, strike or even health situations (e.g. Covid), guaranteed deliveries passed to a accelerated service. If there is any delay on the service, it may happen that the carrier will charge the regular rate, but they are not going to remove the fee as some customers believe.

What documents are needed to submit a claim when the cargo is being delivered as damaged?

  • Commercial Invoice
  • Packing list.
  • What are you going to do with the cargo (repair, sell, destroy).
  • Pictures.
  • BOL (bill of lading) with a signature of the recipient putting the note or exception of the cargo damaged.

I need to coordinate a shipment but I can’t help on the loading and unloading. Does the driver help on this process?

The shipper is resonsible for loading and consignee for unloading the cargo. Loading freight involves heavy lifting, strapping, and operating heavy machineries like forklifts and pallet jacks. Drivers on LTL or FTL does not help on this process and if they do, there will be a charge for it, fee that can not be quoted. In other words, you have to make sure that both ends will do the loading and unloading.

Can you deliver LTL to a residential area?

Our contracts don’t cover residential deliveries. We can deliver to a nearby warehouse or business and the final consignee can pickup the cargo in that location. Also we can deliver to the nearest terminal. This restriction also applies for residential pickups.

For LTL shipments, is the insurance included in the freight?

No, it is not. If something happens to the cargo, a carrier’s liability might apply. The amount of coverage usually ranges between $0.50 and $2.00 per pound, but for the highest freight classes, it can be as high as $25 per pound. Regardless of the freight class, coverage for used goods is much lower and starts at $0.10 for every pound. Also, if an event occurs, the carrier might take up to 6 months to respond. According to this fact, we always recommend our customers to take an additional insurance that is calculated based on the commercial value and not on the weight. Also a claim resolution, is quicker through an insurance company.

What is an inside delivery?

If delivering to a business, inside delivery generally means the shipment will be left inside the door of the business and no further, due to liability reasons. The LTL carrier will bring the freight a few feet inside the main entrance. If the freight needs to be delivered to the interior of the building, up a staircase or up an elevator, the delivery charge will increase and if the service is not requested ahead, the driver can refuse the extra step.

How many pallets fit in a 53′ trailer?

In a 53′ truck, if we load regular pallets of 40×48 inches, we can fit up to 26 pallets.


When should I schedule an appointment in order to ensure the receiving of my cargo?

When your load weighs 5000 lbs or more, when your load consists of 5 pallets or more, when your load is coming from a flat bed or a FTL, when your load requires special handling due to its shape, size or weight. To make an appointment just call us or send an e-mail to receiving@gcargo.com

Can I use the warehouse services as a distribution center for my products in the United States?

In GCA you can consolidate your cargo, separate it, repack it and distribute it to your customers directly. You can also connect your e-shopping cart with our software so you don’t have to worry about anything, let us pick, pack and ship your orders.

How can I get information or make a claim about my invoice?

We have an expert team in our accounting department that will be willing to answer all your questions and correct any differences within 15 days after receiving it.

Your warehouse has received a box / pallet that needs to be to picked up. Do I have to pay in&out so I can coordinate the pickup?

Yes, you have to pay $55.00 to us (check, credit card or wire transfer to Global Cargo Alliance) for in&out concept and you have to send us a proof of purchase that could demonstrate that you are the one who bought the product. This can be done with the purchase receipt. In case that the cargo or box is not from a GCA’s client, a warehousing cost of $55.00 per month will apply. Please note that we need to receive the proof via email at least 24 hours before. We can NOT do any exceptions in this process. If the cargo or small parcel received by GCA is not properly marked with a client’s name that we recognize, GCA reserves the right to hold the merchandise for up to 3 months until the shipper, agent or client claim for it. If there are no claimant or responsible on the merchandise, GCA reserve the right to dispose it without any future responsibility.

Imports and Brokerage

For documentation purposes, how should we cut the Master AWB to GCA?

Global Cargo Alliance
6735 NW 36th Street, Unit 320 Miami, FL 33166
Tel: 786 507 0462 Ext 115 / 122
(add our imports team email)

What is the HS or HTS Code?

An HS or HTS code stands for Harmonized System or Harmonized Tariff Schedule. The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, also known as the Harmonized System (HS) of tariff nomenclature is an internationally-standardized system of names and numbers to classify traded products. It came into effect in 1988 and has since been developed and maintained by the World Customs Organization (WCO) (formerly the Customs Co-operation Council), an independent intergovernmental organization based in Brussels, Belgium, with over 200 member countries.

Why is HS Code important?

  • Customs tariffs (aka HTS, Harmonized Tariff Schedule)
  • Collection of international trade statistics
  • Rules of origin
  • Collection of internal taxes
  • Trade negotiations (e.g., the World Trade Organization schedules of tariff concessions)
  • Transport tariffs and statistics
  • Monitoring of controlled goods (e.g., wastes, narcotics, chemical weapons, ozone layer depleting substances, endangered species)
  • Areas of Customs controls and procedures, including risk assessment, information technology and compliance.

What Does Deconsolidation Mean in Freight Shipping?

Once the consolidated freight shipment reaches its destination, it must be separated into smaller shipments and delivered to its final destination. This happens because one shipper’s cargo is sharing container space with other shippers’ cargo – separating the cargo and then sending them to their final destination is deconsolidation. To summarize, deconsolidation in freight shipping means separating or breaking down one big shipment into smaller packages or smaller shipments so that they can be transported to their respective destination, which could be a store, a warehouse or an end customer. Deconsolidation process occurs in several days and it is subject to additional charges which varies depending on the amount of cargo (cubic meter), port of unloading (e.g. Miami, LAX etc…) and other factors. LCL (less than container load) means that the cargo volume is less than a container and in all cases, deconsolidation costs at destination and operational processes apply.

As an Importer, when do I have to submit an ISF to customs?

You have to submit the ISF documents to us, no later than 24 hours before the cargo is loaded aboard a vessel destined to the United States to avoid any penalties with customs.

I am importing goods via ocean but I didn’t submit the ISF on time. Would GCA help me with this process?

Unfortunately we can not. We only process ISF documents when we are aware about the shipment prior the sailing. You will need to contact the shipping company who coordinated the shipment.

A foreign importer is able to have a continuous bond or the company has to be established in the US? Also, what type of documentation do you need from the foreign importer?
It is possible for a foreign importer to have a continuous bond, The company does not have to be established in the US. We need the a form (POA DL – FOREIGN ENTITY) to be filled out and signed. With the documentation you need to send a copy of the passport or other form of identification of the people signing the POA.

Do you work with individual as importers in the USA?

At GCA we work with companies established in the USA only. Our contracts, liabilities insurances are not covered by individual importers or receivers. The best way is that the person who wants to receive the goods, would seek a company in the USA to act as a importer of records.

Who is the responsible to check restrictions, permits for new products that will be imported?

It is the importer’s responsibility to have all the necessary permits and to be in compliance with all the regulatory agencies involved in the import of any commodity. GCA and its broker are not responsible for non-compliance of this requirements, quotas, dumping, etc…

Small Packages shipments

Can you guarantee an international transit time?

The transit time for an international shipment usually takes 2 business days, however everything depends on customs processes at the country of destination. We recommend having all the documentation needed before to proceed with the shipment or in case customs requires any additional information be open to provide it.

Can I send a shipment to a PO box?

Answer: We can send to a PO box location as long as you provide a physical address, phone number and a contact.

What is the difference between DTU and DTP?

DTP: Duties and Taxes Paid. Which means that the duties will be paid at origin and the consignee do not have to worry about paying to customs. DTU: Duties and Taxes Unpaid. The consignee should pay the duties at destination in order to receive the cargo without any trouble.

What is the maximum weight that I can ship with DHL?

The maximum weight should be 300 kgs (660 lbs) per piece and 1000 kgs (2200 lbs) per shipment.

Can you help me with a shipment that contains dry ice?

Answer: Yes, we can do it via FedEx or DHL, and the cost depends on the weight of the Dry ice.

Can you help me with a Dangerous goods shipment?

We can only ship Ion Lithium batteries and dry ice.

Is there an extra charge to deliver a cargo in a remote area?

Yes, you would only have to send us the address with the zip code and we can check how much it will be the extra charge.

Can you insure my shipment?

Yes, we can provide insurance service with all the shipments and in case of a lost or damage we will help you through the claim process.

Which information do I need in order to get a quote?

Dimensions of the pieces, weight of each piece, commercial value, city and zip code at origin and destination, description of the cargo.

Can you help me with a shipment which destination is different than USA?
Yes, that would be a third party shipment and we can coordinate the pick-up, create the label and track the package.

Can you deliver to a residential area?

Yes, it has an extra cost which depends on the carrier.

Can you handle a pallet via courier transportation?

Yes, we can pick up your cargo weighting over 150 kgs or 331 lbs, at your door, and deliver it directly to your customer’s door. We can find a spot quote for these type of shipments.

Which documents do I need to send with an international shipment?

It depends on the commodity, however for general cargo you need commercial invoice and the label.

Do you work with individuals? Do you ship personal effects?

No, we work with companies located in the USA only and we don’t handle personal effects.

We received a document containing your company name. Can you tell me where is my package?

If you don’t have an account with us and you are not a company located in the USA, you might be victim of a Scammer. We don’t ship personal effects and we don’t work with individuals. We suggest to ship your packages with a reputable company such as FedEx, DHL or UPS and avoid paying fees or transfer money.

Can we ship via courier Door to Airport?

No, courier vendors only ship door to door. Courier shipments have to clear customs at destination and the figure Door to Airport withouth customs clearance is only used for freight services.

What is the dimensional weight and what is the dimensional factor for courier services?

Dimensional weight, also called volumetric weight, refers to a pricing method used by courier services. Put simply, dimensional weight calculates shipping costs according to the amount of physical space that a package occupies due to its cubic size. If you’re shipping a package that measures 20 x 20 x 20 inches, your calculation would be: 20 x 20 x 20 = 8000 cubic inches / 139 (dimensional factor) = 58 lbs (dimensional). If the physical weight of the box is 10 lbs, then the courier will bill for 58 lbs

General Questions

What is the Electronic Export Information (EEI)?

The Electronic Export Information (EEI) is the export data that must be filed through the Automated Export System (AES) whenever an AES filing is required. The U.S. Foreign Trade Regulations require an AES filing for exports to anywhere other than Canada if the value of the exported goods grouped by Schedule B number is more than $2,500, or if the goods require an export license. The EEI is used to compile trade statistics and apply export controls through the ITN number that is generated. This form is filled using the Automated Export System (AES) and we, at GCA, can help you filling it in case your shipments require it. Some of the information we would need is:

  • Information and Tax ID of the exporter
  • Information of the consignee
  • Harmonized System Code
  • Details of the cargo.

Please consider that effective June 29, 2020, all dutiable shipments going to Venezuela, Russia and China will be requiring an SED.

Schedule B vs. Harmonized Code The international Harmonized System (HS) and Schedule B are product classification protocols applied to all commodities and used for import and export processes, like determining applicable tariff rates. The first one is used internationally by customs on all on imported goods and the Schedule B is only used when exporting products from the U.S when filling the EEI.

The first six digits on both systems are the same, the difference is based on the last digits that may vary according to the regulations of every country. In case you have any doubts about the EEI filling or how to classify your products, please don’t hesitate on contact us.

What is an SDS?

The SDS (safety data sheet) includes information such as the properties of each chemical; the physical, health, and environmental health hazards; protective measures; and safety precautions for handling, storing, and transporting the chemical. There are several airlines and ocean lines who require this document, to verify if the product is considered as dangerous good and if is safe to transport.

Do you provide door to door service from the USA to other countries, terms DAP?

Yes, we provide this service, however we always recommend to our clients to sell their products with the incoterm CIF so their responsibility (and GCA’s) would be till the port or airport and the destination’s agent will be in charge of the final delivery. Also please have in mind that there are some countries where the delivery is complex to do reason why the CIF term is the best to negotiate with the final customer.

Restrictions on imports or exports

Exporting to Brazil?

The export process to Brazil seems to be a difficult task due to trade barriers and restrictive local regulations. For that reason GCA can provide accurate information for your cargo needs. Below you will find some information about Brazil regulations. Check the following link for more information. LINK

Exporting to Colombia?

Formal clearance into Colombia applies for shipments over $2,000.00, 50kg or more than 6 units. If the shipment exceeds these quantities, it is called a “formal clearance” and the importer has to have an import license. This import license can be requested to an agent in Colombia, but it takes some months to receive the approval from the local authorities.