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Advice for purchasing from overseas

Allen Corneau

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Howdy folks,

I would love to tap into the knowledge of anyone that has experience buying and shipping equipment from overseas, either Europe in general or specifically Germany.

I found some smithing equipment at what seems to be a very good price (even considering USD/Euro exchange rates) but I don't know anything about arranging shipping, VAT and other possible taxes, etc.

I'm happy to either discuss on or off-line. Thanks!

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The reason containers come partially loaded is because you can not share containers. The shipment must be in one person or company name and that person is responsible.

If you only want to ship that small amount,  you go LCL. Talk to a freight forwarder, they will tell you how to do it and how much it costs. There are hundreds of Freight forwarder in texas and everywhere else. 

I am sure you understand that buying and shipping are two different things. You will not pay germany consumer tax but there are other tax involved at your end. 

The hurdle to overcome when buying in another country is the reluctance from private sellers. Companies in Europe are familiar with shipping and will most likely do it for you. 

A freight forwarder can organise pick up at the sellers address, truck to a depot to be packed or palletised and placed in container, paperwork for export and import and ship to your place. 

Talk to the freight forwarder how to minimise the risk of picking up a dud or losing your payment by paying with a letter of credit.


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Ha ha, it is actually less than container load, but that does not matter. Sharing container space presents a legal issue because unless you are a shipping company you can not have a container with multiple owners and bills of lading and only one must be responsible for the lot, particularly when it comes to illegal imports discovered by customs. 

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