In today’s worldwide market, there is a massive demand for used machinery. Many U.S. companies are able to generate income by selling their second-hand machinery to developing countries. Although the equipment is no longer new, it can often be used for years to come. The exporting procedure for used machinery requires careful inspection and certifications by engineers, as well as the help of a project forwarding company.

Things You Will Need
  • Project forwarding company

  • Shipping documents (commercial invoice, bill of lading, engineer's certificate, certificate of origin)

Step 1.

Obtain a used machinery appraisal by a certified engineer from The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). You may find your local branch by using the link on the official U.S. Government Export website. Contact your local NIST office to request an engineer to physically inspect your equipment and issue an engineer's certificate. Provide relevant information to the engineer such as: the original value of the equipment, your estimated current value, the date of assembly, serial numbers and repair history.

Step 2.

Determine if the used machinery requires an export license. The U.S. Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) requires an export license for certain items that could cause a possible threat to U.S. security if exported. Use the Commerce Control List to properly classify your export item. A link to this list can be found on the BIS website. If your machinery is not found on the list, you do not need an export license.

Step 3.

Screen the company or organization that is going to buy your used machinery. A blacklist of denied countries and organizations can also be found using the link on the BIS website. It is illegal to export to prohibited countries.

Step 4.

Apply for a license electronically on the BIS website (if your item requires an export license). A license could take several weeks or up to several months to arrive.

Step 5.

Contact a project forwarding company. These companies specialize in the logistics involved in moving heavy or over-sized freight internationally. Contact several companies and provide information regarding your export: weight, dimensions, value and when you need it to arrive to the country of destination. You will likely receive a rate quote within a few days by email. Call to follow up if you do not receive a response. Compare the quotes, history and customer service provided by the companies before making a selection. Use industry publications, such as Supply Chain Digital, to view full company profiles to help you make a decision. It is especially important to choose a company that has successfully handled similar shipments to your own.

Step 6.

Prepare shipping documents to include: bill of lading, commercial invoice (stating the value of the machinery) and certificate of origin. Provide these documents to your project forwarding company, along with the engineer's certificate. Agree on a date with your forwarder when your equipment will be picked up for shipment. Your forwarder will then coordinate the movement of the freight from your local port to the desired point in the country of destination.


Exporting to a country on the prohibited list carries the risk your shipment will be confiscated and severe fines.