Introducing individuals to terms in the shipping industry can be confusing in some cases due to how some of those words interact with one another. For instance, you might wonder about the difference between taxes duties, and tariffs. All three of these terms have different definitions, but remain part of the same family, so to speak. You can learn what sets each term apart today by reading these swift, detailed summaries.


Duties and tariffs are types of taxes, so let’s define what a tax is first. A tax is a charge imposed by the government and comes in two primary forms—direct and indirect. Although each form is similar, the rest of this guide will show you what sets both apart, like the definitions of duties and tariffs themselves. Next, we will discuss where duties fit into your international shipping fees.


Duties are indirect taxes that affect imported goods, as well as items produced domestically. Being an indirect tax from the government, the charge is part of the item’s base price.

In other words, the seller of the good is taxed, but the seller ensures the price of the item accommodates that tax, so the buyer is paying the extra cost indirectly. As specialists in expedited freight delivery and more shipping strategies, we want to help you understand the costs embedded in the shipping world so you can navigate them without any misunderstandings.


Now that you have more context for the terms above, discussing tariffs should be relatively straightforward. The tariff on international shipping refers to taxes applied to goods imported from another country to the U.S. Tariffs can also apply to exports. More specifically, this is a form of direct tax from the government.

As a result of this tax potentially raising shipping costs in certain situations, that higher charge often affects those goods when consumers buy them. Since this result is somewhat similar, though not identical, to how duties influence market price, it’s understandable that tariffs and duties can confuse some people. Thankfully, this discussion of the difference between taxes, duties, and tariffs is here to help you learn the essentials and plan your shipments accordingly.

Transporting your cargo overseas using our international air cargo services requires time, effort, and money. Even though air is the safest method of transportation, damage does occur. While you cannot avoid all cargo losses, you can prevent packing damages from occurring when you avoid these mistakes when prepping international air freight.

Choosing the Wrong Type of Pallet

There are multiple types of pallets to choose from. The type of pallet you should use depends on your cargo. If you need to transport heavy freight, use pallets that have bottom deckboards. These bottom deckboards provide additional strength and stability for your shipments. Additionally, many businesses use 4-way pallets that workers can pick up from any side. It not only makes the transportation process faster and easier, but it also reduces damage from mishandling.

Overpacking With Too Much Cargo

Overpacking can damage your freight during the shipment process. Additionally, freight forwarders charge based on size and weight, using the largest of the two measurements to determine your rate. So, overpacking will not save money, and it increases your risk of cargo damage.

Wrapping Your Pallet Incorrectly

Wrapping a pallet incorrectly is one of the most common mistakes businesses make when prepping international air freight. Wrapping secures the pallet and keeps your shipment firmly in place. If you do not wrap the pallet correctly, the shipments can slide around and damage each other. The best way to wrap a pallet with stretch wrapping is to begin at the bottom of the pallet and work up to the top.

Creating Pallet Overhang

Pallet overhand occurs when cargo moves past the boundaries of the pallet. While this may not sound like a problem, pallet overhang can damage and even destroy your cargo. During the shipping process, employees can pack your cargo tightly with other cargo. As the plane moves throughout the flight, all the cargo moves and shifts as well. To prevent other items from bumping and damaging your goods, keep your shipment within the pallet.

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