International freight is important to our global society and to businesses. It ensures that goods that are sought after arrive intact. This is especially true if you or your business deals with risky raw materials. Risky freight does not only limit itself to corrosive acids or other dangerous items. Risky materials include items that are time-sensitive like food and other perishables.
You cannot underestimate the value of a good international freight forwarder. But, the logistics side of the business is a complicated one. This is most especially true for international freight. You will have to deal with legal and compliance matters of at least two nations. There are also differences in culture and other important considerations. That is why you would need to know as much as possible about international cargo. Here are five things that you should know about international freight forwarding.
1. Different strokes for different folks. All countries have different laws.
Some countries consider some items in a special manner. This translates to more regulations and fees. Some items are not considered as import at all and will be without any tariff and may even get subsidies. This is a very important point to consider if you want to reduce your expenses or improve your profits. Have a talk with the international freight forwarder about the legal status of the cargo. If the freight provider cannot answer you right away, then that should be a red flag for you. The Bureau of Customs from both the importing and exporting countries can have a very big impact on your bottom line. Arming yourself with knowledge would help you in finding the right provider for you.
2. The devil is in the details.
Make sure that you have read the contract. Do this before you accept the proposal of the freight service provider. Making sure that everything is clear would mean smooth flow of goods. This means fewer headaches for you and even your pocket. Please know that international mercantile law can help. But, the local or national law will be prioritized over international law. That is a very important thing to remember so please make sure that you understand the contract.
3. Ensure that you are insured.
The freight forwarder that you partner with may be the best in the business. But, no one is absolutely certain of what will happen tomorrow. Make sure that you are properly protected. Ask the freight forwarder for insurance to protect the value of your cargo. Most freight forwarding companies would already have insurance premiums as part of your expenses. Bus, this is not true for everybody. Do not immediately assume that you have insurance for your cargo.
4. Haste makes waste.
Make sure that you have talked with the forwarding company at least twice after you already have a contract. Cover all the bases first. And then do a second review. Proper preparation for smooth operations for the transport. If everything has not been straightened out, then do know that your cargo may get delayed and it will be the fault of both the forwarding company and yourself.
5. Packaging is king.
The packaging of your cargo is not only for marketing your product but also for making sure that your products are safe. This is immensely important for freight forwarding services. Make sure that the cargo to be delivered is properly covered. It is best to do an ocular inspection at least a day before the transfer. Better yet, you can ask the freight forwarding services to send you a confirmation pictures that they were properly packaged and sent. By doing your due diligence, you will lessen the chance of your cargo getting damaged.
If you apply these 5 things to know whenever you talk with a freight forwarding company, then you can be assured that your cargo will arrive fast and safe.
Giovanni’s passion and interest in global sourcing and trade gives him insight and understanding that most would miss. His love of research mixed with his background in business makes for an interesting read.