On occasion, it is necessary to procure items from an international source, but international shipping can be tricky. Failure to follow these best practices can cause unnecessary charges for both customs brokerage, storage of goods, and in some cases, the shipment will be returned to the sender.

First, both UPS and FedEx are worldwide and specialize in all size shipments. Vendors should be requested to use these companies exclusively to ensure they have obtained the cheapest rates, they act as the freight forwarder, and shipments can be traced. They are in every country or have partners that can reach every corner of the world.

Second, if for some reason, a vendor is unable to use UPS or FedEx for an international shipment, when sending the PO (or placing the order if under $10,000), the department must ask the vendor to forward the airway bill, flight details, and a copy of the invoice upon departure.  The department then must forward all documentation to UT’s customs broker so they can negotiate customs and have the package delivered to your destination.  Please note, if the customs broker is unaware of a shipment, the package will be detained in customs and may be moved to storage at your department’s expense.

Customs brokerage is a necessary service that is engaged when unfavorable shipping terms have been agreed to by the University or a carrier is used which is not authorized to ship to a U.S. destination.  Please make every effort to utilize UPS or FedEX to avoid any unnecessary confusion or costs. The customs broker under contract with the University is listed below. Please contact Blake Reagan (breagan@tennessee.edu) with the System Purchasing Office if you have any questions.


John S. James Company
Attn:  Jeanne Sanderson
2718 John Deere Drive
Knoxville, TN 37917
Phone: 865-544-0530
Fax: 865-544-0535