Working with a freight forwarding company is the best way to maximize your shipping schedule while minimizing your shipping budget. Freight forwarders handle all the logistics of moving cargo both domestically and internationally. So whether you are shipping retail products for international markets or raw materials to a manufacturer, a freight forwarding company can handle everything including packaging, shipping, customs, and delivery. And although there are innumerable benefits to working with freight forwarding companies, many companies have a limited understanding of what to expect when entering into these partnerships.
When you first partner with a new freight forwarding company you will need to begin with meetings to discuss project scope, scheduling, goals, etc. In these initial meetings, it is important to get an understanding of any extraneous details for your cargo. For instance, oversized cargo or project cargo may need to be shipped using a breakbulk method. If that is the case there will be a lot of planning that your freight forwarder will need to address. Packaging will need to be decided and logistics for shipping will have to be considered. For international shipments, one of the biggest decisions will be whether to ship via air or sea. Ocean freight has higher fixed costs compared to air freight, however air freight is not ideal for larger shipments. Another decision for your freight forwarder will be whether to utilize consolidation methods or not. If you are shipping less than a full container load (FCL) you will need to figure out the best way to ship and less than container load (LCL).
After all the initial decisions have been addressed and figured out, your freight forwarder will need to work through a few forms depending on where a shipment is going. A Bill of Lading (BOL) form is a contract between the owner of the goods and the carrier and can be either non-negotiable or negotiable. An export license is needed to authorize goods for international travel, as well as an export packing list that details all goods entering a different country. For more forms, visit our forms page. When forms are completed the shipping process can begin. Ocean freight can take a few weeks to a month for cargo to travel from one port to another. For instance, London, England to Shanghai can take a full month via ocean freight.
Assuming all goes well, your shipment will arrive in its expected port on time. Once it arrives there is still more work to be done before it can travel to its final destination. Before your shipment can leave the port you will need to clear local customs. Based on international tariffs you may owe money to customs before you can pick them up. With a freight forwarding company, they can handle customs declaration forms and get your goods out of the port or warehouse they are being kept quicker. Once your goods have cleared customs they will need to travel by truck or another shipping method inland to their final destination.
Freight forwarding is a very complex process. No two shipments are the same, and for accurate timelines and budgets, you will need to speak with a freight forwarding company. If you need help moving your cargo internationally or domestically contact Bruning International.