Do you have questions about shipping?  RCL has the answers!!  Here are some questions frequently asked of RCL:


Do I need marine cargo insurance?

Most certainly, yes! This will protect your financial interest in the value of your cargo as well as protect your financial obligation to the ship owner if the ship declares general average. You the shipper have a financial obligation to the ship owner and you can protect this position by purchasing marine cargo insurance.  Additional information on Marine Insurance from Wikipedia.

Why can’t I load a container to its maximum stenciled payload capacity?

Every State in the USA has maximum legal over the road load limits. These limits are approximately 18 metric tons per 20′ container & 20 metric tons per 40′ container. Cargo must be evenly distributed along the container floor or else there can be an overweight fine.

Should I use the port of St. Petersburg, Russia to move my cargo to and interior Russia-CIS final destination?

This should only be done if you and your receiver have proper arrangements in place with Russian Customs at port Petersburg. There can be delays as well as significant unforeseen extra charges if arrangements are not in place before the cargo is shipped.

Why do I need to sign a limited power of attorney for RCL Agencies to execute my AES filing with USA Customs?

This is needed to establish a written document for all concerned that RCL Agencies is legally empowered by you the shipper to execute this USA mandated function.

How much can I load into a 20′/40′ container?

You are limited to legal over the road weight limits which are 18 metric tons per 20′ container & 20 metric tons per 40′ container, however, every State in the USA has it’s own maximum payloads and you are bound by each State’s Law. Note that cargo must be evenly distributed along the container floor, if not, then you may be overweight even if you only load the legal payload.

Can I load heavier than State Law allows?

Sometimes. Sometimes we can purchase an “overweight permit” however this varies from state to state. Some states allow overweight permits and others do not. We would also use a tri-axle chassis which spreads the payload over a greater area and allows for a more stable load. (More information)

What are inside container dimensions?

Approximate inside container dimensions:
20’dv: 5.90×2.34×2.37 (inside space: 33.2cbm)
40’dv: 12.05×2.34×2.37 (inside space: 67.5cbm)
40’hc: 12.05×2.34×2.68 (inside space: 76.28cbm)

What is an EIN and how i can get it?

What is an EIN?

The Employer Identification number (also known as a Federal Tax Identification Number) is a nine-digit number used to identify a business entity.  Employer Identification Numbers are assigned by the Internal Revenue service, and can be used for tax returns, business permits, opening a bank account etc.

Can I use my SSN if I don’t have EIN?

Every person who is exporting from the USA must obtain an EIN, which is needed to file export information via AES (Automated Export Systems). You cannot use a SSN.  The Office of Management and Budget has mandated the Census Bureau to eliminate the collection of the SSN for Automated Export System purposes. This rule is being implemented to ensure that a U. S. Principal Party in Interest’s or U.S. authorized agent’s SSN is protected in accordance with the Privacy Act of 1974, Title 5, United States Code, Section 552a.

Do I have to get a number if I don’t have a business?

If you are filing as an individual and not as a company, the EIN number should be done under the Sole Proprietor category-even if you are not planning to start a business.

How can I get an EIN number?

The easiest way to obtain an EIN is by phone (800) 829-4933 or online on the IRS website. It shouldn’t take you more than 15 minutes.  Apply for the EIN now

If you have additional questions about EIN’s please visit the IRS website

What is an HTS code and why do I need it?

The Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) assigns a number to each product that is traded internationally to insure that customs officers and statisticians around the world are referring to the same thing when classifying a product. Almost all countries now use the harmonized tariff system. Each country can assign on its own four additional numbers, making the entire number 10 digits. The United States does this with its Schedule B system, which is used to describe exports from the U.S.
 You are required to provide us with the first 6 digits of the HTS code. If any of the commodities are more than 2500 USD invalue, you will need to provide us with the 10 –digit number.  The codes can be found at http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/schedules/b/ 

Requirements for shipping a car

According to the U. S. Code of Federal Regulations in Title 19, legal requirements for vehicle export include:

  • The shipper should have the car’s title, proof of insurance and registration readily available.
  • If you don’t own the car, you are required to have a notarized letter from the lien holder of the car authorizing you to ship the car overseas
  • If the vehicle is a new car that has never been titled, it can be exported by submitting a document known as a manufacturer’s statement of origin in lieu of the title.  The manufacturer’s statement of origin may be obtained from the auto dealer.  The original and two copies must be presented to Customs
  • The car shouldn’t contain any personal belongings due to liability reasons. Exceptions are the spare tire, jack, floor mats, factory equipped kit and child car seats.
  • The gas tank should be no more than 25% full.
  • The battery should be fully charged and the tires properly inflated.
  • In the event the car has mechanical problems, it should be documented along with special instructions if needed and given to the driver.
  • Carefully check the car for any damages before shipping. Any damages should be documented.
  • Both the vehicle and documentation must be presented to Customs at the port of exportation. The vehicle cannot export from the U.S. until Customs has reviewed the documents and issued a release.

What are the requirements for shipping personal/household goods?

  • A detailed list of the goods you are planning to ship should be provided to RCL before loading.  Certain items may be restricted. Items that can be classified as hazardous (including paint, cleaners, oils)- even if they are for household use –  may require special documentation.
  • Food, vegetable or animal products cannot be shipped together with household goods.
  • All the items should be palletized, boxed, and/or crated. Read more how to pack the freight.
  • If the loading point is in a residential area, the shipper should obtain a permit from the city or a letter saying that no permit is required.
  • If loading in a residential area, you should be aware that no ramp or forklift is provided.
  • Shipper is responsible for loading and securing cargo in sea freight containers.

How to pack the freight?

When shipping a container overseas, it is very important to securely package the items in order to prevent damage.  There are different ways of packing the freight.

What methods of payment can I use with RCL?

You can pay for your shipment either by wiring the money or sending us a check. Once we receive the payment, we can proceed with the shipment.

What services does RCL provide?

RCL focus’s on providing transportation solutions no matter what you are shipping and where it is being shipped too. Our goal is to provide on time delivery & precise communications on every shipment which moves via our system.

Our logistics team is set up to handle all types of freight to any domestic or international destinationwhether you are a first time shipper, or require more complex 3PL solutions – RCL has  the ability to service your needs.

We coordinate the shipping requirements on a full range of cargo, including:

  • Personal goods
  • Perishable, temperature-controlled
  • Manufactured goods
  • Pharmaceutical products
  • Bulk products
  • Chemicals
  • Dangerous goods
  • Electronic components
  • Forest products
  • High value goods.
  • Breakbulk / Project Cargo

You can ship your goods as a Full Container Load, or as a Less Container Load. However, note that we ship personal goods as full container load only.

We also provide the following type of services:

  • TIR Carnet
  • Letter of Credit and banking services
  • Chamber and consulate notarization

We ensure that there is value added to each transaction we manage.

What are the requirements for shipping dangerous goods?

RCL has significant experience in hazardous shipments. Our highly trained and certified specialists can provide you with all the necessary requirements to prepare your shipment. Dangerous Goods shipments must be prepared in accordance with the relevant Dangerous Goods Regulations:

  • Correctly packed, marked and labeled
  • Required documents completed: Preliminary Dangerous Goods Declaration that should contain the commodity name and the Class Number.

Note that all the hazardous shipments are subject to preapproval by the steamship line.

What cannot be shipped via airfreight?

There are extremely strict rules which regulate what cannot be shipped via airfreight. Some of the restrictions are: dangerous, hazardous, flammable, chemical items, waste materials.


Can you guarantee the transit time?

Please note that all the dates we provide are called Estimated. ETD –estimated date of departure. ETA- estimated date of arrival. The transit time provided in your booking confirmation is also estimated. Weather and other circumstances may arise beyond our control which can sometimes cause delays.

Can I amend the Bill of Lading?

We strongly recommend not to do any amendments on the Bill of Lading after the vessel has been sailed. As soon as the Bill of Lading has been issues, any amendments are subject to carriers’ amendments’ fee. The fee may vary from $70 to $200.  Please also notice that completing B/L amendments is not guaranteed and may take an uncertain amount of time

How do I file a claim in case of loss or damage?

In the event of damage or loss to your goods the following procedures should be compiled:

You have to submit a written claim to the Carriers, Shipping lines, Port Authorities for any missing or damaged goods within three days of receipt of your cargo. The following documentation should be submitted while filing a claim:

a)       A copy of the bill of lading

b)       Confirmation on payment of the freight bill

c)       Proof of the value of the commodities lost or damaged, as well as the commercial invoice for the cargo shipped

d)       Inspection / Survey reports which may have taken place

e)       Copies of request for inspection

f)        Copy of the Intent to claim & notification of loss

g)       Waiver of inspection by carrier

h)       Confirmation of the container # & seal #. The seal should be held at the site of where the cargo was unloaded

i)       Special documents when appropriate, such as

  • Photographs
  • Temperature reports
  • Impact records
  • Condemnation certificates
  • Dumping certificates
  • Laboratory analysis
  • Quality control reports
  • Package certifications
  • Loading diagrams
  • Weight certificates
  • Affidavits
  • Carrier’s passing reports
  • Loading and unloading tallies

After a claim is submitted with the proper documentation and is acknowledged by the carrier it should be settled within 30 days.

Investigating some claims may take longer. If your claim cannot be settled within 120 days, the carrier will notify you immediately about what you need to do to conclude your claim. The carrier will continue to keep you informed at 60-day intervals until your claim is settled.

If you purchased cargo insurance for your shipment through us, we are happy to assist you in filing your insurance claim. You must still file with the carrier, as required by law.

Are there any special requirements for residential services?

Please note if you are shipping from a residential area, you might be required to obtain a special loading permit from the city. Also there might be an additional fee that might apply to a primarily non-commercial location. This includes apartments, residences, farms, estates, remote locations, and possibly schools and churches. The cost to ship can also change when delivering to a limited-access location (i.e. construction sites, military bases, camps, and storage-unit facilities). In some cases special equipment may be required if you do not have a loading dock.  Please be sure to inform us if you are shipping to/from a residential location.

Will I be informed if my shipment is delayed or damaged?

All shipments are dynamically tracked. Any delay will be reported to the customer as the information becomes available. Customers will be advised of any freight that is damaged in transit immediately by phone or email.   All options will be discussed with the customer regrding disposition and instructions if an expedited replacement shipment is necessary.

What is an ATA Carnet and do I need one for my shipment?

An ATA Carnet usually called “Merchandise Passport,” is a document that facilitates the temporary importation of products into foreign countries by eliminating tariffs and value-added taxes (VAT) or the posting of a security deposit normally required at the time of importation. An ATA Carnets eases the temporary importation of commercial samples, professional equipment, and goods for exhibitions and fairs.

What documents do i need when exporting my shipment?

The documents that you will need for exporting will vary depending on which country you are exporting to, and how you are transporting the cargo. However, nearly all shipments will require a minimum of (a) a typewritten Commercial Invoice on your company’s letterhead, (b) a typewritten Packing List, (c) an export declaration and (d) a properly completed Bill of Lading. Additional documentation requirements may include a Certificate of Origin, document legalization and several others. Our customer service specialists can provide you with the requirements for your specific destination and will assist you in their preparation, if necessary.

What are Incoterms? How do i determine which Incoterm to use?

Incoterms are a series of standard trade definitions or international sales terms, published by International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and widely used in international commercial transactions. Each Incoterm establishes who is responsible for costs and risks such as transport costs, insurance, duties payable and customs clearance. Incoterms are accepted by governments, legal authorities and businesses worldwide for the interpretation of most commonly used terms in international trade. Before using Incoterms, consider the country of the buyer. Some countries stipulate that set Incoterms are used, while others set chosen Incoterms as standard practice. Transport may also affect your choice as some Incoterms can only be used for transport by sea and inland waterways. Right now there are 13 trade terms , the most commonly used are FOB (Free on Board), EXW (Ex-Works), CFR (Cost and Freight), CIF (Cost, Insurance and Freight) , DAP (Delivered at Place) and others.

What is a Letter of Credit?

Letter of Credit (LC) is a document issued by a financial institution guaranteeing that a buyer’s payment to a seller will be received on time and for the correct amount. In the event that the buyer is unable to make payment on the purchase, the bank will be required to cover the full or remaining amount of the purchase. Letters of Credit are used primarily in international trade transactions of significant value, for deals between a supplier in one country and a customer in another. Almost all LC are irrevocable, they cannot be amended or cancelled.

What is a Certificate of Origin (CO)?

A Certificate of Origin (CO) is a document attesting that goods in a particular export shipment are wholly obtained or produced or manufactured or processed in a particular country (country of origin). Virtually every country in the world considers the origin of imported goods when determining what duty will be assessed on the goods or, in some cases, whether the goods may be legally imported at all.. The CO is required by some countries for all or only certain products. CO’s are required when shipping to/from a country that has a Free Trade Agreement with the US. The exporter should verify whether a CO is required with the buyer and/or an experienced shipper/freight forwarder or the Trade Information Center

What is a Shipper’s Letter of Instructions?

Shipper’s Letter of Instructions is a document which provides shipping instructions to the shipper’s freight forwarder to ensure accurate and correct movement of their products across borders. Often this document will include billing terms regarding the freight and other charges as well as documentation preparation instructions in cases where the shipper is not providing those documents. In some cases product distribution instructions are also included. The SLI should provide the basic data elements that allow a forwarder to process the export with AES


What questions do YOU have about shipping?  RCL is ready to help – just call or email us!