Simple rules to ensure successful delivery of your samples
Here we are! The quote has been approved and signed. You are excited to finally get MS results for your project and start thinking about shipping your precious biological samples to PhenoSwitch. Since we're all about getting your samples in the best possible condition, we decided to write some of the rules that should be followed to ensure proper shipment of your package to Canada (if you are outside Canada)! Customers shipping from the US from whom international shipping can be an issue, please refer to this alternative shipping route.
Disclaimer: Those are guidelines, the shipper is always responsible for proper identification, packing, labeling and following transportation rules when shipping samples.
When shipping samples to us from outside of Canada (general guidelines for temperature sensitive biological) :
For starters, here are some of the main rules to respect if you don’t want trouble!
Ship on Monday or Tuesday (Wednesday is the maximum limit, but chances are the package gets held at customs during the weekend);
Include enough dry ice for 3-4 days;
Always include a detailed pro-format invoice with details of your goods and estimate price of the goods (see tips below);
For example : Eppendorf wrapped in absorbant paper, in a screwed 50 ml Falcon tube sealed with parafilm. The Falcon is then placed in a styrofoam box.
Please, IDENTIFY YOUR SAMPLES! You would be amazed the see the number of packages we received with no names, no affiliation and a handful of microtubes identified with nothing but numbers. In every box/bag, please include a printed sheet with at least the following :
The number of samples
A brief description of the samples
Whatever additional information you deem necessary.
Which carriers should I use?
From our experience, both Fedex and UPS do a great job for US package. From Europe, note that DHL Canada doesn't carry dangerous goods (like dry ice). Please follow carrier rules for dry ice shipment as it’s classified as dangerous goods.
UPS: Biological Substances may include human or animal excreta, secreta, blood and its components, tissue and tissue fluids, etc. being transported for diagnostic or investigational purposes.
If your samples are very precious World Couriercan assist you, providing temperature controlled shipment (more $$$). Other temperature control courier exist.
Pro-format invoice tips
Describe the material as clearly and simple as possible. State it is "for analysis and research, no commercial value".
The correct description of pathogen-free samples is: EXEMPT HUMAN / ANIMAL SPECIMEN
Some Harmonized Code (helps the border agency understand what is in the package)
Prepared samples: 3822.00.1090
Other samples for analysis 3822.00.00.30
Including a material safety data or certificate of conformance is always good, even if the shipper’s declaration is not necessary for exempt specimens.
Minimal per item price is the price of the samples container (e.g. tubes). Usually, an Eppendorf tube is worth less than 1$, so there is no use putting more than that. But writing 0$ value items will raise flags. Just be fair, this way we don't pay fees that are useless but the package price will look realistic!
975 Rue Leon-Trepanier Sherbrooke, Quebec Canada J1G 5J6 Mobile phone: Contact us to get Hugo's mobile phone number
Alternative shipping route for US customers
Some institutions have a hard time allowing US to Canada shipment as they have strict limitations on international sample shipping. Luckily, our broker has an office in Vermont and has agreed to relay samples to our lab after clearing the package at the border. This allows you to only make a shipment to the US. To use this route, please address the package to:
PhenoSwitch Bioscience c/o Livingston International 395 Casswell Ave, Door C Derby Line, VT 05830 USA
*Remember that you will still need a Proforma invoice for the shipment.
There you go! You can now ship your samples to PhenoSwitch. If you follow these simple rules, your shipment should arrive at our labs safely, without unpleasant delays. On a final note, this blog post is in no way an official document. It was written for help only. The final responsibility relies on the shipper. For any questions, feel free to call us or your carrier.