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How To Ship Art Domestically and Internationally

Young Woman Painting For Art Gallery

Shipping artworks is not an overly complicated process, yet it is somewhat more complex than shipping regular, less-fragile items. When you wish to ship art, the main issue will often be proper packaging and acquiring the necessary documents for shipping internationally. As artwork is often easily damaged and the dimensions can vary significantly, special protections need to be taken to secure it.

Then, you will need to have all of the standard clearances and documents for shipping internationally, but complying with the applicable laws and regulations (unlike with some hazardous materials, alcohol, etc.) will not be too much of a burden. This article will explain how you can ship art securely, thereby securing your product and safeguarding your business’ reputation.

Packing Artwork Before Shipping

As was previously noted, the biggest issue with shipping art is the packaging. The easiest solution is to have your carrier pack it for you. Most carriers have professional packing staff on retainer. They have the experience and expertise to pack your art pieces safely and securely. If this is your chosen method of packing, you can skip to the next section.

However, if you do decide to take care of the packing yourself, there are a few things to consider. First, as art comes in different dimensions, you need to measure the height, width, and length of your piece. This will help you select the proper sized container so that the piece does not move around during transit and potentially get damaged.

You should also use glassine paper and acid-free tape to protect your artwork from moisture. Cardboard corner protectors are a must, as corners are easily damaged during transit. Then, if you intend to ship framed art pieces, you will need to secure the glass on the outside with tape – this way, even if the glass does break, the tape will prevent it from puncturing the canvas beneath it.

You should also use glassine paper and acid-free tape to protect your artwork from moisture. Cardboard corner protectors are a must, as corners are easily damaged during transit. Then, if you intend to ship framed art pieces, you will need to secure the glass on the outside with tape – this way, even if the glass does break, the tape will prevent it from puncturing the canvas beneath it.

How To Ship Artwork Internationally

When you ship art internationally, you will need to prepare all of the documents beforehand. Otherwise, the shipment may be delayed or even returned. If your clients expect your artwork to arrive within a specific time frame, even small delays may harm your reputation. You will require the following documents:

Export Invoice

The invoice should contain a detailed description of the goods being shipped, their value, the buyer and seller, the accurate dates and addresses, and the terms of sale. If you are selling the artwork, you will need to use the commercial invoice, which is effectively the bill of sale. However, if you ship art for an exhibition, you should use the proforma invoice.

Customs Declaration Form

All commercial shipments require a customs declaration form, including those from art shippers. But keep in mind that you may need to fill out different forms depending on the value of the goods. For art shipments over $2,500 in value, you will need to fill out the EEI documents.

Export Licences

You may or may not need an export license, depending on the country you are shipping to and the age of the artwork you are shipping. Always determine whether you need an export license before shipping your goods.

Harmonized System Codes

The HS codes are used by the U.S. and many of its trading partners for classifying traded products and to assess the duties and taxes that need to be paid. The U.S. uses a 10-digit number, known as a Schedule B number, to classify products for export. You can find your Schedule B number here. You will need the appropriate HS codes for both the country of origin and the country of export.

Taking Out Shipping Insurance

Finally, you should consider taking out full-value insurance if you are shipping high-value art pieces. Most major carriers provide basic insurance, but it is rarely enough to cover the full price of the item being shipped. UNIVAL Logistics provides end-to-end solutions and offers insurance coverage of up $150,000 for domestic and $100,000 for international shipments.

Ship Art In Three Steps

Shipping art properly can be summed up in three steps: 1) proper packing; 2) preparing the necessary documents; 3) taking out the right insurance to safeguard from any loss or damage. If your intent is to ship art safely and securely, contact us to learn how we can help you and of the specific services we provide.

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