ATA Carnets: What are They and How do they Make Music Touring Managers Rock Stars

International music touring is a huge production, and it takes a number of freight forwarding logistics experts with various specialties and responsibilities to make sure that millions of fans around the globe get to see their favorite artist. From warehousing logistics to stage setup, there are entire teams put together to tackle various tasks. Without a reliable freight forwarding company that handles ATA Carnets, your favorite band wouldn’t be left shrugging in some field where the stage is supposed to go. Learn what this document is, what it does, and why it takes experts to handle them.

What is an ATA Carnet?

An ATA Carnet (pronounced car-nay) is a temporary international customs document for importing and exporting. When bands embark on international tours their equipment and all the necessary gear they ship out for touring must clear customs without any delays, import tax, or duty fees. In essence, they are passports for guitars, stage equipment, lighting, and even the spandex pants.


What Does a Freight Forwarding Company do with ATA Carnets?

The best freight forwarding logistics companies are able to generate their own ATA Carnets in the house, making the process of applying for one much shorter. In turn, this gives the band’s touring manager more time to prep for travel. The freight forwarding company generates the right Carnets based on the freight and the country of entry to ensure temporary imports and re-importation into America are met with speedy ease and incur no monetary expenses. When foreign customs receives the ATA Carnet the touring company can pass the equipment and gear through duty-free without incurring any taxes for up to one year. This gives even the largest music performers more than enough time to roll off one big monster tour across Asian, Europe or through more than 80 countries.


What Won’t ATA Carnets Cover?

Basically, ATA carnets will not cover consumable or agricultural. If the band wants 1000 bags of M&Ms, forget about it; you will have to run those through customs and pay fees on them. You also can’t bring in seeds, soil or pesticides. You also can’t bring explosives (some pyrotechnic equipment is allowed into certain countries), nor can you take postal traffic under the canopy of an ATA Carnet.


What does ATA Carnets Usually Cover for Music Touring?

For the most part, all types of goods can be covered under ATA Carnets so long as they are professional equipment, staging items, or goods for exhibitions. There are 38 categories covered by ATA Carnets that range from sports equipment to antiques, and from theatre props to security camera equipment. This means guitars, stages, lighting, trailers, electronic equipment, wardrobe, and set designs for the stage are covered for the long trip with multiple tour stops.


How Music Touring Managers can Get ATA Carnets

If you are a touring manager then you need to find a professional freight forwarding company that can get the right ATA Carnets to meet your needs. Based on the items you are shipping, their weight, dimensions, the countries you are going to, the length of your stay, and a number of other considerations, there are fine points that need to be identified in order to make sure you sail through duty-free with no roadblocks or annoying inconveniences. And doing this will make you the real rock star of the tour!


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