Roughly 90% of world trade is carried by the international shipping. Without shipping the import and export of goods on the scale necessary for the modern world would not be possible.
Ocean based trade continues to expand, bringing benefits for consumers across the world through competitive freight. Thanks to the growing efficiency of shipping, the prospects for the industry’s further growth continue to be strong.
There are over 50,000 merchant ships trading internationally, transporting every kind of cargo. The world fleet is registered in over 150 nations, and manned by over a million seafarers of virtually every nationality.
For international freight forwarders and shippers alike, shipping internationally could be a complicated process. Moving product across borders always involves a complex mix of carriers, modes, and regulations.
What makes International shipping difficult
Rules and Regulations
Even the simplest international shipment requires the understanding of at least two countries’ import/ export regulations. It can also involve multiple currencies and carriers within both. Managing these issues is part of the value customs brokers, freight forwarders, and NVOCCs provide to shippers. Not adhering to rules and regulations will at best result in delivery delays, at worst there will be additional fines and a bunch of other costs. Needless to say, to cut through these challenges working with logistics providers who have expertise in your foreign markets is important.
The choice of transit time will impact international transportation costs. But, its effect is often magnified several times. For example, the difference between shipping a full load between the east and west coasts of the U.S. can run from 3-4 days with a truckload carrier and up to 9-12 days with intermodal. Ocean cargo transit time from Asia to the US can range from 2 weeks to as long as 4 weeks or more depending on the service level. The point? It’s important to budget cost and time correctly to meet delivery due dates.
Ocean rates are constantly changing with ever changing fees and surcharges. along with GRIs and other market factors, keeping ocean freight rates and contracts up to date is almost impossible. Trying to calculate international shipping rates manually with accuracy is never simple. Fortunately, there is technology to support the international shipping process. Working on a single, integrated platform that automates freight rate management is an important first step.
Tracking the freight
Tracking and shipping visibility is always more difficult when there are multiple carriers involved. The longer transit times involved in global shipping must also allow a greater margin of error with ETAs. The main issue is often that most carrier’s systems are not inter-connected so pin pointing a shipment’s exact location is often more difficult. Real time tracking like we’ve come to expect with companies like UPS or FedEx is generally unavailable. Forwarders and carriers operating on a single connected platform are able to provide more seamless tracking and reporting for shippers.
For more information about finding the right freight forwarder , please visit International 3PL