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How Difficult is Shipping Overseas?

Nov 15, 2010

overseas-shipping.jpgIf you are accustomed to moving your goods from one state to another you will find that shipping international freight overseas is significantly more difficult.  But that doesn’t mean you should avoid the opportunity of moving your products into new, expanding markets hungry for quality goods made in the U.S.  The good news is that the trade routes are well supplied with reliable, quality shippers and there are transportation brokers in place to take most of the hassle out of getting your international freight to its destination abroad.

The biggest challenge for you as the shipper is determining how you want to transport your goods.  A myriad of choices are offered.  International freight can be taken by truck, rail freight or air freight to the Americas, and by rail or air to destinations overseas.  When time is of the essence you may need to move it through the air, the most expensive means of transport. Surface transportation is more affordable.   In addition, even if you ship by ocean freighter you can choose expedited service or other options which affect your freight quote.

Once you’ve determined the mode of transportation your next tough decision is choosing the right transportation brokers to arrange for the necessary details involved in the transaction and transportation of the international freight.  When you find a reliable broker they will take the bulk of the difficulty out of getting your cargo to market or your customer.  Also known as forwarding agents, choose transportation brokers that have relationships in place with a wide variety of Ltl carriers and lcl carriers so that they can shop your bid around to provide you with the lowest possible freight quote.

Putting together a quote is also fairly simple these days.  These transportation brokers plug all of the variables into a freight calculator that delivers a custom freight quote for every load.  You provide the details and the freight calculator produces the quote in moments.  The forwarding agent will want to know exactly what you are shipping, how much it weighs, the size and general shape of the packaging, whether you require additional insurance for your consignment, if a pick-up is needed from your facilities, and the distance to its destination.

One factor that the transportation brokers will need to determine is the freight class of your goods.  The freight class is determined by giving consideration to 4 key issues.  The first is the density of your cargo since denser materials will weigh more than products of the same volume but lesser density.  The other factors are the liability of the goods, a way of describing how fragile they are, their stowability and finally any special handling requirements are involved, such as the need for refrigeration or issues related to hazardous materials.  The class of your goods and whether they are shipped via ltl carriers or in full containers are significant factors in the freight quote you will receive.  Working through all of these issues yourself might create a very difficult international freight shipping situation but the freight calculator employed by your transportation brokers mean you can often get your freight quote in just a few minutes.

Trying to ship international freight without the help of a forwarding agent would be a nightmare in terms of the documentation each load of cargo requires.  The basic documentation includes a Commercial Invoice, a Certificate of Origin which must be authenticated, and the Shipper’s Export Declaration.  In addition, various destination countries have different paperwork requirements for allowing your import into the country.  Qualified and experienced transportation brokers will handle the paperwork for you as part of the freight quote they provide.

While shipping international freight involves many complexities, the challenges are eased for you by these transportation brokers and their freight calculator.  They handle the difficult details so you can get back to building your business and finding new markets to expand into.