Planning Your Shipment

For manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers, shipping products quickly and reliably is a major concern.  But transporting goods by ground, sea or air whether it be domestically or internationally can be a complicated operation for business owners who haven’t explored every shipping method and the costs associated with them.  Some of the most common mistakes include not knowing which shipping method to use, being unclear about international shipping regulations and not double checking shipments before they’re sent.

One way to avoid issues is to consult with a freight forwarder or courier who will explain the details and costs directly and without ambiguity or surprise charges as the goods hit port in the destination country.

In order to calculate the costs of a shipment accurately, the following information is required:

Weight & Dimensions

This is what drives the cost of a shipment so it’s essential to ensure correct information is provided at the quotation stage or the price would be increased once the goods are weighed and could take you beyond your budget if contingency funds aren’t available.

Generally we advise to slightly overestimate weights and volumes if the parts have not been physically weighed.  Although companies can estimate part weights based on 3D data etc, slight miscalculations over high volumes can make a big difference.

This isn’t as important with sourced items as data and spec sheets will have the actual details so efficient packaging is the major concern in this regard.

Depending on the details of your consignment, it may be more beneficial to ship either air or sea freight, a part container (LCL) or as a full container load (FCL).  We are happy to advise on the different methods of shipment to help you choose the best for your needs.

If lead time is the main driver of your project, then express air freight (2-4 days) is the quickest option however sea freight (average 35 days) is much more cost efficient if the longer lead time is an option.

Goods have to be classified before they are shipped and must have unit values declared for import duty and tax to be paid in the destination country.  These would be provided by the supplier and should be arranged in good time to prevent hold ups when the shipment hits its destination port.  Delays in providing the relevant documentation can result in goods being held in warehouses where they are charged on a daily basis, again based on the size of the consignment.

Incoterms are very important when working out what charges you will have to pay – there are several different terms, all of which have 3-letter acronyms, including CFR, CIF, CPT, DAF, DDP, DDU, EXW, FCA, FAS, FOB, etc.  Responsibilities are simply and clearly defined by referring to one of the ICC Incoterms; for a breakdown of each set of terms visit