7 Steps Behind the Logistics of International Shipping

Online shopping has blown up, and now there are a lot more small businesses that need to ship their goods around the world. Keep reading to learn about all of the different steps involved with international shipping before you have to send your first shipment.

Between the shipper to the consignee, there are two documentation steps and five physical steps, all of which must occur for every shipment. Each step has a price tag attached to it which must be paid by the shipper or the consignee. Always find out who will pay for each of these steps before you book a shipment.

The seven steps are:

1. Export Haulage

The export haulage stage is where the cargo or package goes from the shipper to the forwarder. In shipments that are less than a container load, the forwarder’s locations is going to be an export consolidation centre. The package is usually moved there on a truck or by rail. Please note that loading at the shipper’s location is not included in the cost of export haulage, nor is offloading at the forwarder’s location.

2. Origin Handling

The origin handling aspect of international shipping describes all of the actual handling and inspection of the cargo, from where it is received at the origin’s premises until it is loaded on a ship into a container. All of these steps are the responsibility of the freight forwarder, or the agent hired by the freight forwarder.

3. Export Customs Clearance

Any time a shipment of goods leaves a country, there are formalities that require the shipment to meet regulatory requirements. The transaction of customs clearance describes the process when a declaration is developed, required documents are provided to the authorities, and only companies that hold valid customs licenses can carry out this step of the shipping. This step must be completed before the shipment can leave the country from which it originates, and if it isn’t done by the freight forwarder, it will have to be done before the shipment can enter into the forwarder’s origin warehouse.

4. Ocean Freight

The freight forwarder will choose which shipping line will provide the ocean freight from the origin to the destination.

5. Import Customs Clearance

Import customs clearance is, like export customs clearance, a formality in which a declaration is provided to the authorities that will allow them to register and levy any customs duty on the cargo. This is done by the freight forwarder or their agent, or a customs house broker that has been chosen by the consignee. This step must be completed before the cargo can leave the customs bonded area of the destination country.

6. Destination Handling

Cargo handling is also required in the destination country before it can be released to the consignee. This step includes the transfer of the container from the ship to shore and from the port to the forwarder’s destination warehouse location. This step also includes removal of the cargo from the container and the preparation of the package for the consignee to collect.

7. Import Haulage

The last step of the transportation is the delivery of the package or cargo to the consignee. This can be carried out by either the freight forwarder or a local shipping company that has been hired by the consignee. Import haulage usually includes the transportation to the address for the consignee, but not unloading from the truck. This is up to the consignee to carry out.

As you can see, there are many steps involved and probably one of the easiest ways to have something shipped internationally is for the shipper to hire a freight forwarder who will arrange for everything from beginning to end.