ports open

Southampton Port remains open as normal

Southampton port has been classified as a vital site for the country in terms of supply chain, and there are no plans to cease operations, despite the crippling effects of the Covid-19 virus taking hold of the country.

We’re working hard as ever from their homes to ensure critical medical supplies and other essentials can get into the UK. Essential frontline staff at the port being thoroughly supported and operational teams are being segregated to ensure plenty of cover, as well as several other measure to ensure they stay safe, and the port stays open at all costs. 

See below the official statement from DP World…

DP World Announcement

We’re also in the fortunate position to be able to help the country in the fight against the Coronavirus, by offering net cost from the airlines and shipping lines and free customs clearance on the import of ALL MEDICAL SUPPLIES.

Whatever is going on in the world, you’re still at the centre of ours. 

Please get in touch if you have any queries about your shipments, and above all, stay safe. 

digital age

What does Freight Logistics Mean?

Freight logistics is the overseeing and management of a cost effective operation and the delivery of goods. It combines logistics experience, human resources and knowledge to ensure the smooth journey of goods between carriers and shippers.

Freight logistic activities in their most basic form include:

  • Making contact, selecting and engaging carriers and transport companies.
  • Negotiating terms and conditions and rates for the transportation of goods.
  • Preparing the labelling and appropriate paperwork that is associated with the transportation of shipments.
  • Scheduling shipments to be picked up by carriers at desired times.
  • Planning to optimise the best mode of transport, routing and load balance.
  • Tracking the movement of shipments through the Supply Chain.
  • Working with Customs brokers to ensure compliance.
  • Ensuring the necessary insurances are in place to ensure goods are insured whilst in transit.
  • Handling freight claims.
  • Managing the receipt and payment of invoices associated with the shipment of goods.
  • Constantly looking for optimal methods to improve delivery performance, reduce time and cost and lower environmental impact.

This long list of tasks can be very much underestimated and underappreciated when it comes to freight logistics. Without a proper Freight Management Company most company operations would cease.

The Role of Freight Forwarders

A freight forwarder assists companies in the process of transporting goods from one place to another. They use the most cost-effective methods with a suitable shipping company to ensure that every point of the journey goes smoothly.

Freight forwarders contract with a number of companies covering sea, air or road to transport goods on behalf of their clients. Although some freight forwarders have their own warehouses and vehicles, they aren’t necessarily the ones to carry out the transportation. Usually, they are the experts that are able to lead on the logistics and arrangements that will enable a smooth process giving companies piece of mind that their goods will be delivered.

What Can you Expect from a Freight Forwarder?

A freight forwarder will be able to listen to the shipping needs of your business and be able to tailor those to a logistically sound plan at every step of the way. From your budget and time requirements they will able to recommend you the best method of transportation, whether by road, air or sea. As well as this a Freight Forwarder will be able to make recommendations on:

  • Customs Clearance – From origin to destination, forwarders should be able to deal with all customs processes. This includes handling all paperwork and fees on your company’s behalf.
  • Shipping Documentation – Forwarders should be able to deal with all shipping documentation including Bills of Lading, Certificates of Origin, letters of credit or any documents required by banks before payment is released.
  • Insurance – A reputable freight forwarder will be able to recommend insurance services that will cover a shipment for loss or damage.
  • Logistics and Supply-Chain Management – Which can include but is not limited to fulfilment, customs consultancy and contract logistics services.

Communication

Logistics collaborates with several departments in an organisation, among those; operations, manufacturing and marketing. These interactions influence finance, production, engineering, marketing, transport, warehousing, purchasing and inventory management. When the responsibility of communication is passed to a reputable logistics provider, related costs are reduced as they minimise the amount of connections needed to link a variety of economic players all working towards the same goal.

Tracking Your Shipment

Freight forwarders typically use specialised software called a Transport Management Systme (TMS) to track shipments, making any freight’s journey transparent to the freight forwarder and to the company instructing them. This helps logistics management to save money, develop more efficient procedures and improve customer service.

A TMS provides important data regarding carrier performance, costs and market trends. This enables freight forwarders to constantly stay cost effective. Additionally, the TMS enables forwarders to pick up on potential delays earlier enabling them to notify customers quicker.

Warehousing and Distribution

Diligent procedures in the warehousing and distribution area of freight logistics can pay dividends within the supply chain. Many costly mistakes can be made in this area. Consistent warehousing and distribution procedures help logistics earn trust within the industry and strengthen relationships between partners.

Several value added warehousing and distribution services include:

  • Cargo Packing and Crating
  • Pick and Pack (where individual components of an order are gathered together and placed into a box.)
  • Labelling
  • Vendor Assembly and Consolidation
  • Kitting (where individual items that are related packed together into one unit)
  • Visual Inspection Services

Customs

When goods enter or leave the country, customs brokers provide documentation for the shipper to prove that the required procedures have been carried out and that the goods are cleared for shipment. This is easier said than done. Goods are warehoused whilst going through customs clearance and if procedures aren’t complied with and mistakes are made, the fees can accumulate to hundreds and thousands of pounds.

The paperwork for customs clearance can be extensive and can differ from country to country and even port to port. Without the proper attention from a licensed customs broker, errors can be made when importing or exporting freight which can cost time, money and trust.

Some of the documentation required for importing and exporting cargo are:

  • Purchase Order from Buyer
  • Sales Invoice
  • Packing List
  • Shipping Bill
  • Bill of Lading
  • Bill of Entry
  • Certificate of Origin

When shopping around for a freight forwarder, it is important to research their experience in dealing with customs brokerage. If not consider hiring a customs broker independent from your forwarder.

Insurance

According to experts, the theft of cargo is a $30 billion a year business. Alongside this there are other threats that could happen to your cargo along the way which include:

 

  • Long Voyages
  • Extensive moving of cargo
  • Handling
  • Bad weather

 

The protection of your cargo from any of this is extremely important. Some forwarders will provide a range of insurance options. Check with yours to see if there is an appropriate premium to suit your needs.

Lufthansa cargo

What is Air Freight Logistics?

Air freight logistics is the shipment of goods via a chartered or scheduled air carrier. Air freight is a popular choice for many companies as it ensures passage for their goods to anywhere in the world that an aircraft can fly to and land. Goods transported by air have the advantage of being taken to their final destination at high speed which could prove advantageous if the shipment is time sensitive. For smaller and medium sized companies, it allows them to participate in international trade in as an effective manner as larger companies. Furthermore, shipments that are transported via air carrier go through a higher level of security than other methods which makes it one of the most secure ways to transport goods.

There are a few choices when it comes to organising an air freight delivery:

  • Consolidated Freight – Where one flight contains many shipments.
  • Back to back or Direct Services – Where a flight contains one single shipment.
  • Charter Services – Where an entire freight plane is chartered for a single air freight delivery.

These shipments will either be placed into the hold of a regular passenger jet or in a dedicated freight aircraft, which can hold huge amounts of cargo on one flight.

How does Air Freight Work?

In a lot of cases, air freight is arranged by an experienced Freight Forwarding Agency. Freight Forwarders contract with a number of companies covering sea, air or road to transport goods on behalf of their clients. Although some Freight Forwarders have their own warehouses and vehicles, they aren’t necessarily the ones to carry out the transportation. Usually, they are the experts that are able to lead on the logistics and arrangements that will enable a smooth process giving companies piece of mind that their goods will be delivered.

These are the general steps to receive shipment of your goods via air freight:

  • Choose an air freight company and negotiate a price to ship your goods.
  • The Freight Forwarder will arrange for your goods to be collected pre-packed or will arrange for the packing to be done prior to transportation.
  • The goods will be taken to the airport and go through Customs checks at the point of origin.
  • The goods are loaded onto the plane. If being delivered with a consolidated shipment, the plane will remain on the ground until it is filled with cargo which could take a few days.
  • On arrival at its destination, the shipment will go through another Customs inspection and will not be released into the country until all duty and taxes are paid.
  • The shipment is delivered to you as per the agreement with your freight forwarding company.

The Advantages of Air Freight

There are a number of advantages for transporting goods by air. These include:

  • Efficiency – Air freight is quick, particularly if you use a direct service. You can expect goods to be at its intended destination within days of sending it whilst sea freight can take several weeks.
  • Good Value on Smaller Deliveries – Air freight is charged based on weight as opposed to volume which makes it more cost effective to send smaller deliveries via air freight than by sea.
  • More Options – Shipping companies are able to offer more options to the importer with air freight, including consols and direct routes.
  • Less Potential to Damage Shipment – Providing the goods are correctly packaged, air freight is usually a better way of shipping fragile items as damage is less likely compared to sea freight.
  • More Traceable – As flights are tracked, shipments are more easily traceable which can give businesses more peace of mind.

The Disadvantages of Air Freight

Depending on what exactly you’re shipping and where you are shipping it to, air freight could potentially cause businesses some problems. Some of these include:

  • Expense – Using air freight can be a lot more expensive than sea freight, not just for the cost of delivery but for import duty and VAT. These are calculated as a percentage of the cost of the goods plus the cost of shipping
  • Logistical Restrictions – When using a consolidated freight shipment, the business will have to wait until the flight is full with other deliveries before it is sent. This can add time to the delivery with some flights only going once or twice a week to main destinations.
  • Transport Restrictions – Air freight is much stricter in what it is allowed to transport than sea freight. Hazardous materials such as explosives, gases, flammable or radioactive items, toxic chemicals and strong magnets are among some of the items that are prohibited from being delivered by air freight.
  • Environmental Restrictions – Air freight is considered worse for the environment compared to shipping goods by sea.

Should I use a Freight Forwarder?

A freight forwarder assists companies in the process of transporting goods from one place to another. They use the most cost-effective methods with a suitable shipping company to ensure that every point of the journey goes smoothly.

Freight forwarders contract with a number of companies covering sea, air or road to transport goods on behalf of their clients. Although some freight forwarders have their own warehouses and vehicles, they aren’t necessarily the ones to carry out the transportation. Usually, they are the experts that are able to lead on the logistics and arrangements that will enable a smooth process giving companies piece of mind that their goods will be delivered.

Why do Businesses Use Freight Forwarders?

Freight forwarders are seen as a necessary extension to many businesses. Mistakes made in shipping processes can be costly and delay goods getting to the places they need to go.

The wealth of knowledge and expertise they have on the process of importing and exporting is invaluable to companies and saves them both time and money.