Shipping Restrictions: What You Can and Can’t Ship
Since the inception of the United States Postal Service, we have been ‘shipping’ things back and forth to each other across valleys and mountains alike. It’s a great way to keep in touch with friends and family – sending care packages and gifts. Or leftovers from childhood. Or trinkets from your travels. We like sending things to others because we want to share our environments with them. Especially those that live particularly far away.
Whatever you’re sending, you need to be sure there are no shipping restrictions associated with the items in your outgoing packages. Every service, from the USPS to FedEx and USPS, and other carriers have shipping restrictions. These restrictions range from limitations on items and how they’re packaged to that of which may be considered illegal activity.
We’re here breaking down a list of shipping restrictions across the globe so you can rest easy when you’re sending something in question. Keep reading to learn more.
Alcoholic Beverages Come With Strict Shipping Restrictions
It is absolutely illegal to ship alcohol through the United States Postal Service. There are no acceptions to this rule.
If you must ship alcohol, you’ll need to learn about the specific guidelines and regulations in your state.
Generally, you can ship alcohol via FedEx if you’re licensed to do so. UPS doesn’t accept shipments of beer or alcohol for delivery to consumers. But UPS does ship between selected states depending on the nature of the transaction.
When shipping alcohol, it is imperative to wrap it with several layers of soft packaging to prevent leaks if it breaks or becomes compromised. You’ll also need to include the Adult Signature Required option on your shipping package. The Adult Signature Required option will require the recipient to present their ID at time of delivery.
You should try to stick with sending only a few bottles of alcohol at any given time to avoid penalties associated with these regulations that recommend you don’t ship in volume.
You can ship things that are breakable but it is strongly recommended that you package the materials accordingly.
Depending on the value of what you’re shipping, it could require insurance. Even while shipping services take the best care possible with your packages, accidents happen and breakables do break.
Follow the packaging guidelines set forth by your carrier. Most carriers recommend selecting a box that is at least two inches larger than the item you are packaging in all directions. Then, put three inches of padding on the bottom and cover the item(s) with three more inches of padding.
Padding material should be something like bubble wrap or peanuts. Something that will withstand impact, such as dropping.
Computers and Electronics
The post office notoriously asks if you are shipping items with lithium or ion batteries because they have shipping restrictions associated with these items.
Computers and electronics often have lithium or ion batteries and they can ship with any carrier. You’ll need to find out the shipping restrictions for each carrier based on how and what you’re shipping. It will also depend on where it’s going that could cost additional fees.
Generally speaking, batteries should remain in the device that is shipping and they should be small batteries. Make sure if you’re shipping something with a particularly large battery that you’ve checked the shipping restrictions with your carrier.
You should probably insure electronics and technology items because they can damage easily, even if you pack them well.
Perishables and Baked Goods
It’s okay to send food and crafts made with perishables but again, pack it well and pack it accordingly. You’ll also need to select faster shipping so the items don’t go bad in transit.
Check with your carrier about how you should specifically package food items, especially if they need to be kept cold.
Firearms and Hazardous Materials
Guns and ammunition are prohibited through the United States Postal Service.
FedEx will ship firearms as defined by the United States Gun Control Act of 1968, but only between licensed importers. Individuals may ship to licensed importers or manufacturers and dealers. Likewise, these importers etc. may ship to individuals.
UPS accepts handgun shipments by next day air. You can ship rifles and shotguns using UPS’ ground service.
Hazardous materials include items like gasoline and explosives. You may not ship these items with any carrier. There are no exceptions to this rule.
The shipping restrictions for hazardous materials are maintained in the commercial sector and should not be violated.
FedEx prohibits the shipment of tobacco but UPS does accept shipments from shippers with the proper licensing. Shipping restrictions surround local and federal laws.
You can ship cigarettes and smokeless tobacco through the United States Postal Service. A Post Office or Postal employee must approve the package prior to shipment.
You can ship live animals with UPS from any UPS shipping facility for next day delivery only. You may not ship on Fridays or before a holiday in the origin or destination country.
FedEx ships zoo animals and horses but does not accept household pets such as domestic cats and dogs. Live fish are not accepted.
There are some animals that you may ship with the USPS but you should check their shipping restrictions. Mostly these conditions apply to special shipping options for animals such as live, day-old poultry, or adult birds.
When You’re Shipping
Whether you’re shipping across the street or around the world, there are regulations for your packages across all carriers.
Make sure to pack your boxes efficiently so that items won’t rattle and break or become exposed in transit. It’s always a good idea to get insurance on your packages. Your carrier should always provide you with a tracking number for your package so you know where it is and when it’s delivered.
As an added security measure, you should always notify recipients of packages that are getting delivered if you don’t ask for a signature on delivery. This will ensure that your recipients know when to expect the package.
When you’re ready to ship your next package, contact us for superior service and rates.