Confused by the complicated process involved in getting your business’s products to a customer overseas? Well, then you have come to the right place! Indeed, the good news is that you will find a simple and easy-to-understand step-by-step guide of the entire process below.
Getting your products to the port and loaded onto the ship
The first stage of the process is getting your products from your warehouse to the port to be shipped. The first part of this process is when products are moved from your premises to the location of the provider that will ship them overseas (freight forwarder) for you.
Whom you get to pick up and deliver your products to the freight forwarder will depend on the agreement you have with your customer. For example, if it's their responsibility to deal with this part, picking a freight forwarder that can come get the shipment is the best idea. Alternatively, if it's your company’s responsibility, then it will probably be cheaper to use local logistics instead. However, if you do go for this option, remember you will also need to pay someone to unload the shipment from the truck once it arrives at your freight forwarder's address as this isn't included.
While the second part concerns the cargo inspection and handling as it is loaded onto a container ready to be loaded aboard a ship. After all, most businesses don't have enough products to take up an entire container. This means that a variety of shipments will be combined in a single container to most efficiently use up space.
Clearing customs (Export)
You probably already know that when you are sending products abroad you have to meet the custom requirements that apply. To show you have met these you must make sure that a completed customs declaration is submitted to the proper authorities.
However, when it comes to exporting your products, you cannot submit this declaration yourself. Instead, you need to use a customs broker to complete this task for you. Of course, how quickly you can expect this clearance to be approved will depend largely on the broker that you use. That is why it's best to pick one with a reputation for fast customs clearance whenever shipping products abroad. Be sure to research your choice thoroughly too, as you will also want to find a broker that offers a smooth and hassle-free service, and reasonable prices too.
A shipping company will physically move your products across the ocean. A company sending their products overseas rarely has any contact with the actual shipping line that will carry their wares. Instead, the freight forwarder will deal with the shipper for you.
Of course, the cost of using the shipping line will be passed onto your business. Unfortunately, that is the only fee you can expect, as there will be additional charges including any adjustments made between the currency you are using and the one the shipping company uses.
Import customs clearance
As you will already know from the information above, custom clearance is one of the most important things to get right when shipping your products overseas. By this stage in the process, your products will have gone through the export stage and will be ready to complete the import stage.
The import stage involves a declaration being submitted to the import authority, so they can apply duty to the shipment, and register that it is coming into the country. Again the business shipping the products cannot do this and it must be completed by the freight forwarder or a customs broker.
Getting your products off the boat and to your customers
The last stage of the process is unloading your products from the ship they were transported on and then getting them to your customer's location. Cranes are usually used to offload containers from ships, and then they are taken to warehouses where they are unpacked with your goods being separated from any others. This part of the process usually incurs extra charges, as it's not included in the shipping costs.
Once this has happened your goods can be loaded onto local transportation that will deliver them to their final destination. Often your freight forwarder will provide this service, but sometimes it will be up to you or your customer to arrange it. To that end, it's important that you enquire about this at the time of booking, and make alternative arrangements. Otherwise, your customer may face unnecessary delays in getting their purchases at their end.