Planning a shipment: all you need to know about restricted items

Pubblished on: 28 July 2021
Category: About shipping

Moving goods across the sea is not easy, and one of the difficulties you might encounter is that the items you can put in your cargo are subject to severe restrictions.

It is always best to consult with an expert to determine whether your shipment is feasible, and navigating the rules and regulations is one of the services we at Global Shipping can provide.

Let us give you an overview of the broad categories of items that should not be put in shipping containers.

Flammable and toxic items

It seems intuitive to be careful when shipping items that will cause damage in case of a fire or a leak; it is a lot less intuitive to understand which items are subject to such a risk. Items in this category include batteries, aerosols, cleaners and solvents including nail polish and nail polish remover, a number of chemicals, oils, and fertilizers, and of course, fireworks. All these items can be shipped, though they require specific types of transport; consult with your shipping company and/or the authorities if you are uncertain.

Plants and animals

No animal can survive an overseas trip in a container with no food, water or light, and as for plants, many countries will object to introducing non-native seeds and vegetation which may turn out to be infected or invasive and destroy the local plant life.


Deep sea shipping takes time, some of which is spent waiting in storage until the shipping is scheduled, so it is inadvisable to ship fresh produce and other items with a short shelf life in dry containers: it is always advisable to ship them in reefer containers.

Illegal items

Not all countries have the same definition of what is illegal: an item that is permitted in the starting country may not be allowed to reach its final destination due to differences in local laws. The items most likely to be frowned upon are firearms and ammunition, drugs, and certain types of medication.

Paying more attention

Apart from the last category mentioned, there are no absolute prohibitions on shipping for the other items listed so far. It is rather necessary to organize the shipment differently, so as to comply with all the rules for transporting these objects safely. With Global Shipping, you can rely on an experienced partner and in-depth knowledge of all shipping laws to ensure that your goods arrive safely at their destination.

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