Looking to transport your business goods abroad? Whether to increase their value or to meet e-commerce demands, it’s a worthy investment for companies and entrepreneurs alike. This guide will outline the key steps of commercial shipping, and how using a freight forwarder can simplify the process of getting your cargo to its chosen destination.
Why Use a Freight Forwarder?
Multiple parties can be involved in moving commercial cargo, including shipping lines (the companies carrying your goods) and freight forwarders (the logistics providers). The latter are the party you often deal with directly, and will move your items (either from a store, warehouse, or office etc.) to the destination of your consignee(s).
Freight forwarders can also arrange customs clearance (including import/export commodity codes and EORI requirements), book cargo transport from freight to delivery, set up insurance, and implement delivery tracking. The biggest benefit though, is the use of their global connection network, which will help you get the best services, most competitive fees, and reduce the risk of hidden costs and/or unnecessary delays. Plus, you only have to deal with one company rather than several, so you can navigate the process smoothly.
The Commercial Shipping Journey
Before embarking on international shipments, it’s essential to be aware of the journey they’ll take. It’s often more complex than many anticipate, which is why using a freight forwarder can be so beneficial. Your business cargo will usually take the following 7-step trip:
1) Export haulage – where your goods move from your (the shipper’s) premises to that of the forwarder’s.
2) Origin handling – goods are handled and inspected (tallied) on entering the forwarder’s warehouse, loaded into a container and moved to the port.
3) Export customs clearance – a company with a valid customs license will submit compulsory documents to meet regulations before goods leave the country of origin.
4) Sea freight – the forwarder chooses a suitable shipping line and arranges a contract of carriage, factoring in potential bunker and currency adjustment factors.
5) Import customs clearance – a declaration must be submitted with the relevant documents before goods leave the customs bonded area (usually the forwarder’s destination warehouse). This process can begin before the shipment arrives.
6) Destination handling – before goods are released to the consignee, the container is transferred from ship to shore, then from port to warehouse, where goods are prepared for collection. Be aware of potential additional charges.
7) Import haulage – voila(!), following the above, your commercial goods are delivered to their chosen destination (a specific address).
Unforeseen costs can arise throughout the process, so make sure you arrange with your freight forwarder who (whether you or the consignee) will pay for any extra costs, and at each step. It’s safest to have this written and signed in a contract.
Freight Forwarder Costs
Depending on the services you require (e.g., whether that’s transport logistics only or additional services like customs clearance), freight forwarder costs can vary, and may factor in the following:
- Transport costs based on cargo weight and/or volume
- Product specific costs, if they’re very heavy, perishable, or hazardous
- Palletisation or packing for container loading
- Storage before and after shipping (if required)
- Extra fees for specific routes, peak delivery times, or costs incurred at ports
- Documentation costs, such as export and import paperwork
- Insurance and surcharges like fuel price fluctuations or currency exchange rates
- Admin or handling fees
Freight forwarding benefits more than outweigh their costs, and usually you’ll agree a quote upfront, so you know exactly what you’re paying for. However, it’s important not to base your choice of forwarder solely on price – be sure to consider their quality, reputation and experience as well. By using the professionals, you can have peace of mind your goods will reach where intended, safely and securely, so you can focus on growing other areas of your business.
Ready to go global with your commercial offering? Send your goods overseas quickly and securely, with a professional freight forwarding service you can trust. Contact Andrews Shipping today for all your business cargo transportation needs.