by Will Schneider
If your business imports goods from overseas to sell in the U.S., then you’ve come across freight forwarding. Simply put, freight forwarding is shipping product overseas, whether that’s importing or exporting. However, as easy as this sounds, international shipping can be extremely complicated. In addition to choosing the correct codes to classify your products, you must also clear your goods through customs.
This is why a lot of companies hire shipping companies in order to take care of all of their freight forwarding needs. But be careful, because not all freight forwarders are created equal. In fact, many of them aren’t completely open with their pricing, which makes comparing price quotes extremely difficult. Some things to keep in mind: always ask the freight forwarding companies to provide you with “all inclusive” pricing and to include services to get the product from the factory to your door.
There are quite a few other things that companies will not include in their pricing, in order to make their pricing look more competitive than others. For example, many freight forwarding companies will provide a quote to get your product from port to port. However, what this doesn’t include are the all important costs of getting your product from the factory to port exit, and then the port of entry to your warehouse. As you can imagine, these can be quite expensive – and if you make a decision without these costs factored in, you’ll no doubt be left speechless when you get your final invoice. I’ve seen numerous cases where companies were shocked with the final costs of freight forwarding once they get their invoice.
And remember, custom fees and custom clearances charges can add up as well, so please make sure that you get an adequate estimate of these charges before selecting a freight forwarder. Of course, you’ll have to know the precise product codes that apply for your goods, but this information will be needed regardless.
As you can see, there is a lot involved with bringing product in and out of different countries. Shipping is such an important part of your business. It really does pay to take a little time to learn more about it, so that you can navigate the shipping negotiations with confidence. Far too often, people are taken advantage because of their lack of knowledge. Our hope is that you’ll learn a little about the industry so that you don’t get taken advantage of.