Expanding your customer base should be at the forefront of every business’s operation goals. While you may be starting on a local scene, it’s just a matter of time before it’s time to go global.Overseas freight shipping enables you to access thousands of potential customers, which, in return, significantly expands your company’s revenue potential. For organizations looking to take the next step, here’s what you need to know:
The Basics of International Shipping
Simply put, shipping overseas freight is the process of importing and exporting goods between different countries via ocean or air. Because international shipping is inherently prone to logistic complications from moving freight over borders, to successfully import or export freight, businesses must:
- Understand their local regulations
- Follow specific international shipping policies
- Collect paperwork, so their freight passes customs clearance
- Plan for time zones changes, language barriers, and currency exchanges
Moving overseas freight is far more intricate than domestic shipments since every country has their own set of unique laws.
Navigating Overseas Freight Shipping: Three Tips To Make the Process Run Smoothly
Here are some key factors to be aware of when shipping international cargo:
1. Collect Information
While it may seem simple, a crucial step in completing your overseas freight logistics is gathering all the shipment information and presenting it in the required form. Human error is arguably one of the biggest causes of shipping delays. By diligently filling in the documentation and providing the required paperwork, you become a more prepared, reliable shipper.
2. Track Progress
Ensuring a successful operation doesn’t stop after the paperwork, as you need to track your shipment to make sure it safely reaches its final location. That’s why so many companies are starting to leverage the advantages of real-time tracking, because they know the value in holistic freight monitoring.
If you process a lot of international shipments, outsourcing your logistics with a third-party logistics provider (3PL) enables you to oversee seamless and timely updates on your freight. Reach out to your local 3PL provider and ask them about their transportation management systems, this will save you time and money while improving your overall supply chain and warehouse efficiency.
How To Ship Containers Overseas: Exploring Your Available Options
Having a trusted partner to work with when dealing with international freight is always a good idea, which is why 3PL companies can be so beneficial. They have years of experience in navigating the nuances behind international transportation and logistics, with most offering the following services:
International Ocean Freight Shipping
Overseas freight shipping is one of the first ways humanity began moving goods internationally. While old, it remains a staple of global logistics due to its consistency. However, it’s not a “cookie cutter” solution, and determining which shipping container size is right for your goods will depend on your cargo.
The standard size of ocean freight is 20-foot and 40-foot containers, both the standard width and high cube. There are a variety of options freight forwarders might offer, but these specific containers are widely used as they make international relocation and shipping much easier. Almost all global shipping companies will use these containers, but they don’t always offer the same services. For larger shipments that don’t fit in standard ocean containers, you’ll use what’s known as a “flatrack”. Regardless of the size of your goods, your shipment will either be classified as Full Container Load (FCL) and Less Container Load (LCL), let’s explore what each one means:
International Less than Container Load (LCL) Shipping
Hypothetically speaking, let’s say you have to move out of a one-bedroom apartment with only 250 cubic feet of cargo. It wouldn’t make sense to book an entire 20-foot container and only use a small amount of space, would it?
The same is true for overseas freight logistics. LCL shipping refers to the process of sharing or consolidating container shipment with other distributors. LCL containers are filled with multiple shipments bound for the same destination, and can save businesses a substantial amount of money in the long-run.
Looking to reduce costs with consolidated shipping? Request a free quote to see how much you could save.
International Full Container Load (FCL) Shipping
Essentially, LCL shipping is the equivalent of sole-use container services, which means you’ve booked your own container and can use the space to the fullest. With LCL shipping, containers don’t leave until they’re full, and you could be stuck waiting on other goods to arrive. However, with FCL shipping, you won’t be left handcuffed waiting on new cargo. Because your goods are the only thing in the container, the entire pre-shipping process is consolidated, which helps your overseas freight meet logistic timelines.
International Air Freight
As you well know, shipping overseas doesn’t always have to be done through ocean freight. Overseas air freight shipments are a popular solution for many businesses. While air freight services tend to be more pricey than ocean freight, some companies view air freight as a necessary cost. The viability of airborne shipping depends on your:
- Logistic timelines
- Client project needs
- Cost trade-offs
By far, air freight is the fastest method of international shipping, with the price reflecting the expedited timelines.
FW Warehousing: Your Top Choice for Overseas Cargo Services, 3PL, and Everything in Between
FW Warehousing is a dynamic logistics company focused on helping you meet your overseas freight needs. Since opening our doors in 1949, we’ve grown exponentially within the industry by providing customized services to each of our clients. Need a trusted 3PL provider? You’re in the right spot. Start a conversation with our expert team to learn more.