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How to make a manifest for internationally shipping your gear

A Carnet (pronounced kar-nay)

AKA “Merchandise Passport”, is a document created for international customs to facilitate the temporary import of goods.

In order to easily ship gear around the world as cargo and not personal luggage, you’ll need to create a general list of the gear you plan to send and then apply for a Carnet. You will be issued an ATA Carnet, which is excepted in 84 countries and territories, unless your trip includes a stop between the U.S. and Taiwan which requires a TECRO/AIT Carnet.  This will ease the temporary importation of your professional equipment (PE). It will also save time and money by avoiding extensive customs procedures and payment of duties and value-added taxes.

This Carnet is good for one year and will create easy exit and re-entry during that time period. Be aware that carnets DO NOT cover consumable or disposable goods such as food and agricultural products. They also do not allow things you plan to sell, AKA merch (merchandise). If your gear is traveling as airfreight you need to remove all aerosols, bleaches and lighter fluids. Basically anything flammable.

In order to have a proper manifest you will need to put together a list

which should include the following:

  • A case number (this can contain one or more items)
  • Item description: make/model/serial# (of the individual gear in each case)
  • Number of pieces (cases and items inside)
  • Weight/volume (of all cases or containers)
  • Value (of all items including cases)
  • Country of origin code (of all items including cases)
  • For each case and container
    • Length (in)
    • Width (in)
    • Height (in)
    • Weight (KG)
    • Volume weight (lb)
    • Cubic feet (cbft)
    • Cubic meter (cbm)
  • Totals (of all cases, dimensions and weights)

Having a detailed Carnet will help you avoid the possibility of being accused by customs of purchasing any of the items in country at the time of departure. Missing details like serial numbers can lead to having to pay duty, taxes and VAT on items. Split shipments are allowed and items may be removed, however items can not be added once the carnet is issued.

download an example