There are many players to take into account when shipping goods from one place to another. Shipping Lines, Agents, Freight Forwarders, Customs Brokers; the list goes on and can be quite daunting but it is unlikely you will need All of them on an individual basis.
You may be sending your goods by Land, Air or Sea, it may have time restraints, it may only be the odd Carton or Pallet or perhaps a Full Container Load (FCL). Either way you’ll need a Logistics Company to assist.
Here we will aim to explain the main process for shipping goods from one point to another but would always recommend a phone call should you need further clarity or would like to utilise our services.
THE 7 STEPS OF SHIPPING
A Puzzle Box Waiting to be Opened!
There are effectively 5 physical steps and 2 documentation steps for the movement of goods with every shipment. Export Haulage, Export Customs, Origin Handling, Freight, Destination Handling, Import Customs, Import Haulage. There are costs related to each step and to avoid delays and any unnecessary charges these costs should be agreed prior to shipping, whether they are to be paid by the Shipper or the Consignee.
The first move will always be shipping the goods from the shippers premises to either the Forwarders Depot (In the case of LCL – Less Than Container Load) or direct to the Port of Export (In the case of FCL – Full Container Load). LCL cargo requires that the goods be delivered into a receiving depot in order for the forwarder to load the cargo into a container and then move the fully loaded container to the quay. For FCL containers the shipper will either have the container on site and load it themselves for export or they will have the goods shipped to a forwarders depot where they will arrange the loading.
The goods will typically move via road and/or rail and it will be agreed ahead of time as to whether the shipper is responsible for arranging this, or the consignee. A shipper would be able to liaise with local transport companies whereas if the consignee was arranging this they would use a freight forwarder who would offer the full routing.
Export Customs Clearance
In order for goods to leave a country customs formalities must take place and meet regulatory requirements. Customs clearance is a transaction whereby a declaration is made and required documents are submitted to the appropriate customs authorities. This can only be arranged by companies that hold valid customs licences.
This will usually be the freight forwarder themselves, or an appointed Agent.
Some shippers may have their own broker who may arrange the customs process but take no further part in the shipment. This step must be completed before the goods are allowed to leave the country of origin (CofO). If the process is completed by a broker outside of the forwarders control then this is likely required before the goods even arrive at the forwarders respective depot.
There are many processes that fall under the ‘origin handling’ bracket, all of which will be arranged and sorted by the appointed forwarder(s). This would include handling of the freight, consolidation (For LCL Cargo) and the terminal handling at the port of export to name a few. The agreement will have already been made as to whether the charges are paid for by the Shipper or the Consignee. Should the shipper pay the charges they may also have their own forwarder/agent to handle all processes at origin, leaving the customers appointed forwarder to take charge from when the shipping line have the container loaded and on its way.
There are primarily 4 different options for shipping & paying for the goods. Door to Door, Port to Door, Door to Port and Port to Port.
Door to Door means the agreement is in place for the full shipment, from the shippers premises all the way through to the customers door. Port to Door and Door to Port is when the agreement is either from the Port of Export through to the customers door, or from the Shippers door through to the destination Port. Finally Port to Port is when the agreement is simply that the forwarder arranges the shipping from one port to another, this is usually the case when a shipper has their own agent and the customer has their own means of moving a container inland for delivery upon its arrival.
Quite simply the main movement for the freight, Land, Air or Sea. It’s means of travel from one destination to another. In respect of Ocean Freight in particular the forwarder and chosen shipping line enter into a contract of carriage and neither the shipper or consignee will have any direct interaction with the shipping line. This would be the same for Airline or Road Transport Operator.
The cost of the freight will ultimately be charged to the shipper or consignee through their chosen forwarder. Additional charges to make up the freight such as Bunker Adjustment Factor (BAF) and Currency Adjustment Factor (CAF) will be included either in the main price or as a separate charge.
Import Customs Clearance
The process for Import Clearance will usually begin before the cargo has arrived. Preparations will be put in place to assist in a smooth process so that when the cargo arrives the relevant customs authorities have already got the required documentation in order to raise appropriate Duty/VAT for the shipment. The Freight Forwarder or appointed Agent will perform this process ensuring they have all relevant paperwork from both the shipper and/or consignee prior to release of the goods.
As with Origin Handling there are multiple processes taking place, all of which must be completed before the goods can be released to the customer. In short the main process is for the container moving from ship to shore and then from port to either the forwarders depot or direct to the customers final destination. There are multiple charges involved that will be charged by both the shipping line and port authorities to the forwarder that should have already been advised to the customer. Additional charges such as Quay Rent or Customs Exams would be additional as they will not have been apparent until the goods physically arrived.
The final step in the process is for the goods to be transported to the customer direct or to their choice of destination. It will either be performed by the forwarder or the customer may request release and arrange their own collection and delivery.
Congratulations, You Unlocked the Puzzle Box!
We hope these 7 Steps give a Reliable Guide into the process required to ship goods internationally around the world. Any further information can be found throughout the website or by calling the office where a member of Reliable staff will be more than happy to assist.