International logistics general goods, sensitive goods and contraband how to distinguish?

International logistics refers to the professional services of transporting goods across borders, involving various types of goods. When sending international packages, we often hear the terms general cargo, sensitive cargo, and contraband. Many friends are puzzled by this. In fact, the question is quite simple. In the international express delivery industry, there are three main categories of goods: ordinary goods, sensitive goods and contraband. Here are some guidelines to help you distinguish between them:

General cargo

General cargo: refers to “general cargo” which has no special requirements for transportation, handling and storage. They’re not super tall or wide. They are not dangerous or frozen goods and are not insured. They do not require special boxes such as frames, nor do they require commodity inspection. For example: books, bags, clothes, shoes, toys (without batteries), tableware, jewelry, etc., are all common supplies. The probability of being seized by customs in the process of transportation is very low, and it is a normal transit cargo.

International logistics, contraband

Sensitive cargo

Sensitive goods: goods of a certain sensitive nature that may require special handling or permission prior to transport. The definition of sensitive goods varies by country and industry. Common sensitive goods include chemicals, medical supplies, food, etc. When transporting sensitive goods, specific regulations and security measures need to be observed. Goods between general goods and contraband are goods that may involve or have involved some non-strictly regulated contraband. Depending on the situation, the specific definition is more complex. For example: liquid (cosmetics, soap, perfume), powder (medicine, flour), containing batteries (watches, computers), containing magnets (headphones, music boxes), containing motors (hair dryers, juicers), brands, imitation products, food (snacks, dried fruits), etc.


Contraband: Contraband refers to goods that are expressly prohibited for transport in our country and internationally. Any export involving such items is illegal. The contraband includes: 1. explosive, inflammable, corrosive, toxic, strongly acidic, alkaline and radioactive dangerous goods, such as detonators, gunpowder, firecrackers, gasoline, alcohol, kerosene, tung oil, paint, matches, pesticides, etc.; 2. Narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, such as opium, morphine, cocaine, etc.; (c) Items whose circulation or delivery is prohibited by national law, such as arms and weapons, national or foreign currency, etc.; 4. Perishable items (such as fresh fish, fresh meat, etc.), as well as various live animals.

To distinguish between common goods, sensitive goods, and contraband, you can take the following steps:

Be familiar with relevant laws and regulations: understand international and local laws and regulations, especially those related to the transportation of goods. Different countries may have different regulations, so make sure you understand and follow them before traveling to each destination.

  1. Consult professionals: If in doubt, it is recommended to consult a professional logistics company, freight forwarder or customs broker. They can provide accurate information and guidance to help you identify and handle different types of goods.

Use appropriate packaging and labeling: Use appropriate packaging and labeling according to the characteristics of the product. Sensitive goods and contraband may require special packaging and marking to ensure safe transportation, which also helps logistics personnel to identify and properly handle these goods.

Understand the requirements of the mode of transport: Different modes of transport may have different requirements and restrictions. If air transport is used, the airline will have specific regulations and restrictions; If sea transport is used, shipping companies and ports will also have relevant requirements.

The above is all the content we share for you. If you have any international logistics service needs, please consult our professional international logistics consultants.

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