Shipping in United States

Get up-to-date local information about export procedures and restrictions, demurrage and detention, container drop-offs and more.

Procedure / Requirements

  • A maximum of 4 cars in a 40/45' container. 2 cars per 20' container. Any shipments with inland movement via rail are restricted to ‘all 4 wheels on the floor of the container’ (2 cars per 40/45' or 1 car per 20'). Bookings considered hazardous until drain and disconnect letter received. Shipper must present ownership papers to US Customs for clearance to export.
  • As of 2/1/2009, for all US exports, the U.S. Customs & Border Protection and US Bureau of Census have made it mandatory to file SED (Shippers Export Declaration) data electronically using an automated system known as AES (Automated Export System). For vessel exports, the filing must be completed and proof of same submitted to the exporting carrier no later than 24 hours prior to cargo loading. 
  • In order to allow for proper operational planning, SeaLand has established an AES documentation cut-off of 12 hours prior to cargo cut-off at the port of load. Shipment without AES proof at the time of the SeaLand AES documentation cut-off will not be loaded to the intended vessel. All entities and carriers exporting from the US must be compliant with all AES policies/procedures. If cargo is controlled outside the USA, AES is still required. A US agent must be selected by the foreign party if there is no US exporter to file. 


  • Personal Effects or Household Goods CANNOT be railed cross border, either Canada to USA OR USA to Canada. Door deliveries for personal effects or household goods are prohibited in the USA. A clearing Agent in the USA is required. As per the dry acceptance manual, personal effects shall only be accepted through a forwarder.
  • Placard and Marking placement for Rail Cargo - Due to the well car usage on all rails (Double Stack), containers being placed in a well car first, sit approximately 3.5 feet down, therefore placards placed low on the container will be hidden from view once in the car. Therefore, all containers that move on the rail in North America, must have placards affixed to the container 5 feet above the bottom rail. 

Demurrage / Detention / Free time

Demurrage & Detention Disputes

• Demurrage and Detention disputes for U.S. shipments can be raised through our website in the MyFinance section. In the event you wish to change the party invoiced, please e-mail for assistance.

• When registering a dispute, please include the shipment number, container number, and a detailed description of the dispute including the applicable service contract number if pertinent to the claim. For disputes involving a change of paying party, written confirmation from the party who will pay is needed.

• Disputes must be submitted to Sealand within 30 days of the invoice date. We will provide feedback on your dispute within 5 business days of receipt. 


To view the detailed information for Demurrage and Detention in the United States of America, please click here

Email your local office

If you want to speak to a sales person about a new shipment or have a question about your existing shipment, you can email us. If you have a more immediate question, you can search for help online or contact us by phone