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Shipping and Exporting Used Clothing and Used Shoes from the U.S.

Updated: Apr 3, 2023

The export of used clothing and used shoes (second hand) is big business from the U.S. to various countries in the world. The main export regions for used clothing include Sub Saharan Africa, Asia Eastern Europe and Latin America.

Most shipments of used clothing and shoes are loaded in 40’HC (high cube) containers. The shipper’s tend to load 44,000 – 60,000 lbs / 19,958 – 27,215kgs / 20 – 27 tons in order to maximize the freight charges they pay per container. The organizations that collect the used clothing and shoes include charities, community groups and clothing recyclers. The shippers of used clothing and shoes are a mixture of thrift stores, wholesalers, graders, and trading companies.

Top export markets for shipping used clothing and shoes from the U.S. include:

Angola, Australia, Benin, Bolivia, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, China, Costa Rica, Democratic Republic of Congo (Kinshasa), Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Ghana, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, India, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Liberia, Liberia, Mexico, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Philippines, Poland, Republic of Congo (Brazzaville), Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Uruguay

There are different grades and types of used clothing bales which include:

Clothing Type: female mixed clothing, mail mixed clothing, female and male mixed clothing and children’s clothing.

Clothing Grades: AA, A, B, C

Bale sizes are typically 100lbs or 45kgs.

The U.S. Schedule B number for used clothing as of 4/23/2016 is 6309.00.0000 with a description of “Worn clothing and other worn articles.” In 2010 alone, $705 million dollars worth of used clothing was exported from the U.S. according to the U.S. census bureau.

This article by the Huffington Post provides detailed information on who buys second hand clothing.

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