sea freight china

A Guide to Sea Freight Shipping from China

Sea freight is the largest method of shipping for international import and export business. Competitive prices and multiple options make sea freight the first choice for global trade. When it comes to shipping from China, businesses need experienced freight forwarders like our team at Supreme Freight who are familiar with transporting for companies of differing sizes as well as to a wealth of countries. As a China freight agent, we hope that you are able to gain something from the knowledge and experience shared in this article.

Trade Terms

Get accustomed to all the codes and terminology with our simple breakdown:

Incoterms – A term given to one of the common terms of trade. When applied to buying goods from China, there are four incoterms. Each of the incoterms are assigned a code relating to how far the suppliers transport the shipment to. The codes of these incoterms are as follows:

EXW – Transport as far as the factory/manufacturer

FOB – Transport as far as a nearby port in China

CIF – Transport to a nearby port in your country

DAP/DDU – Transfer to your place of business

The codes can be split into two further categories:

  • EXW/FOB Category – The buyer can utilise your own freight agent and liaise with them directly regarding payment.
  • The Other Category – The buyer uses their own freight company and your company subsidises that.

When looking for a freight forwarder, it is important that you understand these terms and codes to enable them to know your requirements when shipping your goods to China.

Container Types

It is important to know the following commonly used container types:

  • 20’GP – Allows for 20ft of storage. 20’GP is designed to carry more weight than voluminous cargo. E.g. Minerals, metal and machinery
  • 40’GP – Allows for 40ft of storage. 40’GP is designed to carry more voluminous cargo than heavy cargo. E.g. Furniture, tyres, and toys
  • 40’HC – Allows for 40ft of storage for shipments of a great height.

Although the volume of the 40’ containers are double the volume of the 20’, they are still bound to the same weight restriction that China applies to its exports which is no more than 27-28 tons. The ocean rates for a 40’ container shipped from China are less than two 20’ containers and it is no extra cost from a 40’ container for a 40’HC.

Freight forwarders are also knowledgeable of these commonly used container types. Knowing this information upfront will allow the freight forwarder to help and advise you with the right service.

Shipment Type

Shipment types come in the following two categories:

  • Full Container Load (FCL) – In which a company fills a whole container with their own goods. Containers can be from 20 – 45 feet long.
  • Less than Container Load (LCL) – Where different companies share the same container and load their shipments into it. This would then get split once it reaches port.

In order to ascertain what shipment type is best for your business you need to consider the packaging that your shipment requires whilst being transported, if you select an LCL, would it be better for your shipment to use a courier or decide whether it is possible to use an FCL.

Major Ports

Each port has a different charge for FCL and LCL containers. The breakdown of the Chinese ports are as follows:

  • Shanghai – This major city enjoys the most economically developed of everything. From where it is located, it serves interior provinces via river ports along the waterway that extends from it.
  • Shenzen – This port is accessible to Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta making it another key port for the South of China.
  • Ningbo-Zhousan – This port serves both Ningbo, which has good connections with Central and Western China and Zhejiang, a wealthy region with a manufacturing industry.
  • Hong Kong – Fastly expanding into the ‘international shipping service hub of the Far East,’ Hong Kong provides 340 container liner services per week, connecting to around 470 destinations worldwide.
  • Guangzhou – Historically, a key centre of trade in China, the port is striving to be the international shipment hub for the Maritime Silk Road component. It is a port that provides options for importers, exporters, third party logistic companies and ocean carriers with its reduced port and berthing fees.
  • Qingdao – The most important port of Northern China. It is located next to the Bohai Bay region of which it serves.
  • Tianjin – This port is second only to Qingdao port in capacity in Northern China. The port’s container handling business are developing additional domestic and international routes.
  • Xiamen – The port is located at the mouth of the Jiulongjiang River and has over 68 shipping routes to over 50 countries including Kaohsiung in Taiwan.
  • Dalian – This port is located at the most northern ice-free port of China and is the largest port in North East China serving seaports in East Asia, North Asia, and the Pacific Rim.

Researching into the port that best serves where your shipment will be transported to, will enable your freight forwarder to connect you with our most suitable partners.

For a consultation and advice on your shipment, get in touch with us and we will do our best to help.

 

Air-Freight-vs-Sea-Freight

Air Freight vs Sea Freight

When shipping goods internationally, there are many factors to consider. One of the biggest, is what mode of transport you are going to use to get your goods there.

No matter the reason of what and why you are shipping, deciding between sea and air freight is extremely important. Contacting an experienced freight company like the team at Supreme Freight can help you make this choice using our industry experience to get you the most suitable freight solution. Both methods have advantages and disadvantages to them, some of these may apply your needs, so before making a decision, doing your research is strongly advised. Today, we are looking into the differences and the benefits between sea and air freight to help you make that all-important choice!

Considering the Factors

When trying to make the important decision between shipping your items by air or sea freight is dependent on the following four variables:

  • Cost – No matter your budget or your circumstances, cost will have an influence over your decision making. It is typically thought that sea freight being the cheaper of the two and while that may be the case in a lot of situations, it’s not for all. Ensure that you shop around and get quotes for both modes of transport with different companies.
  • Speed – If you have a time restriction on when you need your goods to get to their final destination then we would strongly advise that you consider air freight. Sea shipments can take as long as a month, whilst air freight can be there in a day or two. If you are shipping for business, the time and convenience of your goods getting there in such a quick timeframe, may more than make up for the cost of air freight. If you don’t require a quick timeframe it could make a lot more sense to send it via sea freight.
  • Reliability – When we’re deciding on the right company for their services, we want them to be reliable and it is no different here. When it comes to air and sea freight, ocean sea freight companies have had a much longer history and time to perfect their processes; however, airlines are very keen to stay on top of schedules with much fewer delays and cancellations, it comes out at the most reliable.
  • Environment – With the ever-increasing issue of climate change pressing on the world, there’s no better time than now to make more environmentally friendly choices to help preserve our planet. As social awareness is growing, companies are trying to do their bit to provide more eco-friendly business solutions. When looking at both, it appears sea freight would surely win hands down as it releases far less CO2 emissions; however, with oil and chemical spills and sea freight impacting on water ecosystems that might not be so clear cut after all.

What are the Advantages of Sea Freight and Air Freight?

Still not completely sure with which to go for? Read up on the benefits of each:

Sea Freight

  • Cost Effective – For businesses looking to import large quantities of goods. Sea freight has been known to be 4 – 6 times cheaper than air freight. Additionally, duty and VAT are calculated at a cheaper rate than air freight keeping the costs down in other ways.
  • Flexibility – There are a lot of options to sea freight as mentioned above. This flexibility could suit a number of businesses. Sharing containers spreads the cost between companies.
  • Less Restrictions – Sea freight importing does not have as many restrictions of what companies can import, in terms of size and amount as other methods do. Bigger items such as furniture or vehicles isn’t going to be so much of a problem by sea as it would by air.
  • Accessibility – Sea freight is pretty much accessible from anywhere in the world. Sea freight importing is much better for the environment than other methods.

Read more about our Sea Freight services.

Air Freight

  • 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.

Read more about our Air Freight services. 

Contact us today to see which solution is the best fit for your shipment.

freight-forwarders-in-covid19

The Key Role of Freight Forwarders in the COVID-19 Crisis

According to Robert Keen at the British International Freight Association (BIFA), the COVID-19 crisis has put emphasis on the importance that freight forwarders play in delivering vital commodities through our international supply chains. After spending many years being the “invisible hand of international shipping” Keen speaks of freight forwarders as, “the important role……taking centre stage and being recognised.”

With BIFA seeking to influence the UK government on all issues surrounding international shipping, they have been pleased so far with the pragmatic solutions that have been made. These include the easing of opening hours at temporary storage facilities rather than going through the formal process of a change in legislation, that could have held up the change. Currently, BIFA are looking for the government to ease VAT on import tax as they have done with domestic VAT.

Keen spoke of the official statement made in Parliament recently that the government acknowledged that international freight services are, “vital for ensuring the continuity of supply chains.” The government recognised the individuals working in this sector as key workers. Keen added it was important to recognise that the key worker title didn’t just extend to the obvious employees such as drivers and warehouse operatives but also people working behind the scenes such as customs data entry clerks.

 



COVID-19 and Freight Forwarding

As we consider the potential impact, COVID-19 will have on sea freight and supply chain management, it is important for freight forwarders and logistics operators to take vital steps to prevent the unnecessary spread of the pandemic which at present, continues to disrupt the movement of goods. Whilst this will undoubtedly cause significant delays to shipping and put a stop to many companies shipping altogether, the following provides some guidance on the potential risks to freight forwarders and how to combat them.

 


Impacts on Freight Forwarders and Logistic Operators

Social Distancing – Sea freight supply chains include many physical and clerical processes, many of which traditionally involved people interacting with each other in large groups. Similarly, this extends to physical cargo packing operations. All of these processes are usually executed in large offices and warehouses where constant interaction is necessary. Despite the increasing levels of digitalisation, the industry still heavily relies on transferring and dealing with physical documentation. With the introduction of social distancing now being implemented in all industries to kickstart the economy. Freight forwarding and logistics must find its own way of implementation.  

Commercial Impact – Any reduction in the amount of goods handled and shipped will inevitably have an impact on the customers of any freight forwarding company. Potentially, freight forwarding companies could see key customers lean on them to create expensive “workarounds” and use non-core ocean service providers to make voyages to ensure that their items are shipped.

Furthermore, as business travel has been restricted for the foreseeable future, it will be important for freight forwarding companies to keep lines of communication open and accessible to them through the use of remote conferencing applications.

 


Legal Implications for Freight Forwarders

Special Contracts – Whilst many freight forwarders operate to standard trading conditions in terms of the contracts that they hold with their customers, there are a number that hold special contracts with their key customers. With regards to these, it has been questioned whether these special contracts need to be reviewed and identify the obligations of the supplier to perform in contexts such as COVID-19. Specifically, such questions as, Is the forwarder or the its agent required to issue a Forwarders Cargo Receipt (FCR)? Is the operator required to undertake consolidations? As well as obligations, it may be necessary for forwarders to impose force majeure clauses in their contracts whereby the problems in China may be a reason for the contract to be terminated and their obligations to be discharged.

Industry Standard Terms – For freight forwarding companies that operate to standard trading terms, it is recommended to look into whether imposing force majeure clauses into existing contracts with your customers may be an option. In terms of taking on new transactions relating to a supply chain reliant on China, scrutiny on its logistics and legal advice will probably be required.

Communication with Customers – It is imperative that freight forwarding companies keep customers updated of all issues that arise in the supply chain whether this from the vendors, hauliers, lines, agents or terminals. To be able to claim a force majeure clause or discharge the company’s obligations there needs to be sufficient evidence that customers losses were caused by matters genuinely outside of their control. Companies will also be required to consider any alternative workarounds that could be implement with a moderate additional cost to the customer.

Communication with Supply Chain Stakeholders – Freight forwarders and logistics operators need to maintain good communication with the other stakeholders of the supply chain to evidence that they did everything that they could to avoid customer losses. A high level of detail and accuracy should be maintained when explaining the steps that were taken and problems encountered.

freight-forwarders-in-covid19

How to Choose a Freight Forwarder

Whether you’re a large company shipping many products internationally or a small business looking to make their first international shipment, deciding on the right freight forwarding company for you is a vital part of the success of your shipment. Ensuring the smooth transit of your goods is an important investment of your company’s time and money and it is worth researching freight forwarding companies to ensure that you pick the right company for the job.

 

What is 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.

Supreme 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.

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. Even large Beneficial Cargo Owners such as Marks and Spencer work with freight forwarders in parts of their businesses. They are seen as a necessity and even regarded to some as an outsourced shipping department.

 


 

Important Questions When Finding a Freight Forwarder

With the freight forwarding Industry growing at an increasing rate, there is a lot of options for businesses to choose from. Many of these options will have varying experience levels and offer different services. It is important for companies to consider exactly what it is they want their freight forwarding company to do for them and to trust that this will be done correctly. With this in mind, it may benefit businesses to find out the following information when looking for a reputable freight forwarder:

Accreditation – Trustworthy firms such as Supreme belong to at least one trade association such as the British International Freight Association (BIFA). Members of BIFA trade to a collective set of trading standards that are backed by the insurance sector. Going with a company that is a member of one of these trade associations will give you peace of mind that your goods will be in the right hands.

Clarification of Services Offered – Different shipments require different services. It is important that you clarify with your potential freight forwarder that your goods will be transported the way that you require them to be. If you are unsure of the services that you will need it may be helpful to ask other businesses for advice. A good freight forwarder will give you a run down of the services that they offer and will be able to advise on the best course of action for your shipment.

Experience – Freight forwarding is a complicated and intricate business. Experience in the industry is key to ensure that everything runs smoothly. It may be even more pertinent to ask about experience if you are transporting cargo that requires additional needs such as specialist transport.

Shipping Process – A good freight forwarder should give you a run down of their shipping process with a clear explanation of how your shipment will reach its final destination, costs and transport plans.

Insurance – Checking a freight forwarder’s insurance policy is imperative. It is important to ensure that your goods will be insured for all of their journey, particularly if they are of high value.

Paperwork – It is important to know upfront what is expected of you and what the freight forwarder will handle in terms of paperwork, particularly with regards to customs. Mistakes with customs paperwork can lead to long and expensive delays.

Shipping Network – Good freight forwarding companies will have an extensive shipping network. An extensive network means good relationships with partners and demonstrates that they have local expertise in the places that you want to ship to. It is important to check that your destination is a place that they cover.

 


 

What are the Advantages of using Supreme Freight Forwarder?

The main benefits of a freight forwarder include

• The transportation of goods can be a logistical nightmare especially when you are dealing with importing or exporting to countries that you have not dealt with before. Different countries have different customs regulations, shipping restrictions and fees and a mistake could not only be costly in terms of fines but could delay your shipment reaching its destination and have a dramatic impact on your business. It’s important that companies get this right first time and the only way to do that is working with somebody that has had previous experience with the logistical side. Not only will this save you a lot of time, freight forwarders provide you with the peace of mind that your shipments will arrive in the desired place, in the desired time in a method that meets your needs and is cost-effective.

• Freight forwarders that have a lot of experience working with the same shipping companies on an international level are going to have a lot more leverage over buying costs than a company that they have never heard of using them for the first time. There is always a deal to be had and shipping companies know that if they strike a deal with a freight forwarder there’s a potential for a lot more business to come their way.

• With the logistical side of shipping being taken care of externally, business owners have the time to focus their time and efforts on other parts of the business that require their attention. If importing and exporting goods is something that is happening quite regularly this could result in a significant increase in productivity.

• As a company that deals with freight services all the time, freight forwarders are going to have gained a lot of contacts and experience that will be invaluable to companies with different needs. This knowledge and expertise will ensure that freight forwarders will be able to tailor their services to your specific requirements.

• Working with a freight forwarder can open opportunities to businesses they didn’t know were possible. With extensive knowledge of the different markets internationally, it could see your business being taken to places you had only dreamed of.

HMRC

UK Tariff Changes announced from 1st January 2021

From 1 January 2021, the UK will apply a UK-specific tariff to imported goods.

This UK Global Tariff (UKGT) will replace the EU’s Common External Tariff, which applies until 31 December 2020.

The new tariff is tailored to the needs of the UK economy. It will support the economy by making it easier and cheaper for businesses to import goods from overseas. It is a simpler, easier to use and lower tariff regime than the EU’s Common External Tariff (EU CET) and will be in pounds (£), not euros.

The UKGT also expands tariff free trade by eliminating tariffs on a wide range of products. The UKGT ensures that 60% of trade will come into the UK tariff free on WTO terms or through existing preferential access from January 2021, and successful FTA negotiations will increase this.

This will lower costs for businesses, ensuring they can compete on fair terms with the rest of the world, as well as keeping prices down and increasing choice for consumers.

The Government is maintaining tariffs on a number of products backing UK industries such as agriculture, automotive and fishing. This will help to support businesses in every region and nation of the UK to thrive. Some tariffs are also being maintained to support imports from the world’s poorest countries that benefit from preferential access to the UK market.

The UKGT was designed following widespread engagement with businesses across the UK. As it will come into force on 1 January 2021, it’s important that businesses can familiarise themselves with the new tariff regime ahead of this date.

The Government are backing UK industry by:

Maintaining tariffs on agricultural products such as lamb, beef, and poultry.
Maintaining a 10% tariff on cars.
Maintaining tariffs for the vast majority of ceramic products.
Removing tariffs on £30 billion worth of imports entering UK supply chains. 0% tariffs on products used in UK production, including copper alloy tubes (down from 5.2%) and screws and bolts (down from 3.7%).

UK consumers will also benefit from more choice and lower costs on numerous goods thanks to zero tariffs. These include, for example:

Dishwashers (down from 2.7%).
Freezers (down from 2.5%).
Sanitary products and tampons (down from 6.3%).
Paints (down from 6.5%) and screwdrivers (down from 2.7%).
Mirrors (down from 4%).
Scissors and garden shears (down from 4.7%).
Padlocks (down from 2.7%).
Cooking products such as baking powder (down from 6.1%), yeast (down from 12%), bay leaves (down from 7%), ground thyme (down from 8.5%) and cocoa powder (down from 8%).
Christmas trees (down from 2.5%).

The Government will promote a sustainable economy by cutting tariffs on over 100 products to back renewable energy, energy efficiency, carbon capture, and the circular economy. The following are all dropping to zero tariffs:

Thermostats (down from 2.1%).
Vacuum flasks (down from 6.7%).
LED lamps (down from 3.7%).
Bike inner tubes (down from 4%).

Almost all pharmaceuticals and most medical devices (including ventilators) are tariff free in the UKGT. However, some products used to fight COVID-19 maintain a tariff. To ensure those working on the frontline can access vital equipment easily, the UK has introduced a temporary zero tariff rate on these products. This relief waives the tariff and VAT for personal protective equipment (PPE), medical devices, disinfectant and medical supplies from non-EU countries.

The UKGT will apply to all goods imported into the UK unless:

An exception applies, such as a relief or tariff suspension
The goods come from countries that are part of the Generalised Scheme of Preferences
The country you’re importing from has a trade agreement with the UK

It only shows the tariffs that will be applied to goods at the border when they’re imported into the UK.

It does not cover:

Other import duties, such as VAT
The precise details of trade remedies measures
Other restrictions on imports, such as anti-dumping, countervailing or safeguards

Goods covered by a tariff-rate quota:

Some products are covered by a tariff-rate quota. This allows a limited amount of a product to be imported at a zero or lower tariff rate.

The limit may be expressed in units of:

weight
volume
quantity
value

If this limit is exceeded, a higher tariff rate applies.

If there is a tariff-rate quota on your product, you can apply to import a limited amount at a reduced rate of customs duty.

Some tariff-rate quotas are only applicable to products imported from a specified country.

Please follow the below link to check the tariffs that will apply to goods you import from 1 January 2021.

https://www.gov.uk/check-tariffs-1-january-2021

If you need any help or support please contact us.

NHS charter

PPE Equipment to arrive today for the NHS

We are very proud to announce that we have arranged a full charter of vital PPE equipment directly for the NHS to arrive today. Flight number F79540 landing into London Heathrow at 13.30 from China.

Our thanks as ever go out to the NHS and all those working to keep us safe.

 

china trade

Top 10 Things to Know When Importing from the UK to China

China is now the UK’s eighth largest export market. In 2017, the UK sold nearly £17 billion worth of goods and services and that figure is only going to increase.

As China’s economy grows and its middle class consumer base expands, the country will be an even more important market for the UK. For companies shipping goods to China, it can be a complex process with many things to consider. Whether you’re an experienced trading partner or expanding your business, these are the top tips to consider when exporting to China.

 

  1. Research Shipping Methods – When deciding to ship goods, companies need to consider whether they will handle the logistics themselves or enlist the services of a company to do it on their behalf.

 

  1. Transport Options – Deciding on the mode of transport that you choose to ship your items will depend on several factors; what your goods are, how much time you have, what sort of budget you have and whether you need to take special requirements into consideration.

 

  1. Sea Freight Benefits – If you are looking to ship bulky items of a high weight, sea freight is one of the cheapest options for you. If you are looking for advise on what the best option of transport would be for you, a freight forward company would be the best people to talk to.

 

  1. Cost – Before you ship your goods, it is important to know upfront the cost to do this. There are lot of potential hidden costs that you may not be aware of if you are not experienced in exporting goods overseas. Surprise costs may prevent your goods from arriving at its final destination and companies can potentially lose a lot of money.

 

  1. Declaring Goods – When importing goods from overseas, all companies must declare them with HMRC. This is done by completing a C88 form.

 

  1. Customs Charges – It is important for companies to familiarise themselves with UK Duty and VAT charges when importing goods into the UK. It is their responsibility to check and pay the correct charges for their goods. Any discrepancy could lead to delays and penalty fees which could be extremely detrimental.

 

  1. Shipping Terms – To avoid confusion, it is important for companies to understand basic shipping terms when transporting goods overseas. The following terms outline of the suppliers and buyers:

 

  • FOB (Free on Board) – Where the supplier pays all the charges at the the shipment’s country of origin which effectively makes it ‘free’ for the buyer to have goods transported by ship.

 

  • EXW (Ex-Works) – Where the buyer is responsible for all charges along the journey of the shipment.

 

  • CIF (Cost, Insurance and Freight) – Where the supplier pays all costs to get the shipment to the UK. Once it is in port the shipment then becomes the Buyer’s responsibility.

 

  1. Commodity Codes – When trading with China, companies must understand and find the correct commodity code. This is a 10 digit code that is required on all imports coming from outside the European Union.

 

  1. Import Licence – Depending on what you are importing, companies may be required to hold an import licence. Companies need to be familiar on what goods are restricted or banned. There are certain import controls on goods such as food, textiles and firearms.

 

  1. Consider a Freight Forwarder – Shipping to and from China is a complex process that has many steps. A freight forwarding company will not only be able to take you through the process, they’d be able to handle all documentation and have local knowledge to ensure that your shipment gets to its final destination smoothly.

 

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. Even large Beneficial Cargo Owners such as Marks and Spencer work with freight forwarders in parts of their businesses. They are seen as a necessity and even regarded to some as an outsourced shipping department.

 

What Can you Expect from a Freight Forwarder?

Supreme Freight will 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 be 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.

If you are interested in importing goods to the UK from China, please get in touch.

 

 

 

Freight Forwarder

What Questions Should You Ask when Looking for a Freight Forwarder?

Supreme Freight assist companies in the process of transporting goods from one place to another. We use the most cost-effective methods with a suitable shipping company to ensure that every point of the journey goes smoothly.

Supreme Freight contract with several companies covering sea, air or road to transport goods on behalf of our clients. In this article we have put together some questions we feel all customers should ask when speaking with freight forwarders.

The Right Questions to Ask

With the freight forwarding Industry growing at an increasing rate, there is a lot of options for businesses to choose from. Many of these options will have varying experience levels and offer different services. It is important for companies to consider exactly what it is they want their freight forwarding company to do for them and to trust that this will be done correctly. With this in mind, it may benefit businesses to find out the following information when looking for a reputable freight forwarder:

  • Accreditation – Trustworthy firms normally belong to at least one trade association such as the British International Freight Association (BIFA). Members of BIFA trade to a collective set of trading standards that are backed by the insurance sector. Going with a company that is a member of one of these trade associations will give you peace of mind that your goods will be in the right hands.
  • Clarification of Services Offered – Different shipments require different services. It is important that you clarify with your potential freight forwarder that your goods will be transported the way that you require them to be. If you are unsure of the services that you will need it may be helpful to ask other businesses for advice. A good freight forwarder will give you a run down of the services that they offer and will be able to advise on the best course of action for your shipment.
  • Experience – Freight forwarding is a complicated and intricate business. Experience in the industry is key to ensure that everything runs smoothly. It may be even more pertinent to ask about experience if you are transporting cargo that requires additional needs such as specialist transport.
  • Shipping Process – A good freight forwarder should give you a run down of their shipping process with a clear explanation of how your shipment will reach its final destination, costs and transport plans.
  • Insurance – Checking a freight forwarder’s insurance policy is imperative. It is important to ensure that your goods will be insured for all of their journey, particularly if they are of high value.
  • Paperwork – It is important to know upfront what is expected of you and what the freight forwarder will handle in terms of paperwork, particularly with regards to customs. Mistakes with customs paperwork can lead to long and expensive delays.
  • Shipping Network – Good freight forwarding companies will have an extensive shipping network. An extensive network means good relationships with partners and demonstrates that they have local expertise in the places that you want to ship to. It is important to check that your destination is a place that they cover.

What are the Benefits of using a Freight Forwarder?

The main benefits of a freight forwarder include:

  • The transportation of goods can be a logistical nightmare especially when you are dealing with importing or exporting to countries that you have not dealt with before. Different countries have different customs regulations, shipping restrictions and fees and a mistake could not only be costly in terms of fines but could delay your shipment reaching its destination and have a dramatic impact on your business. It’s important that companies get this right first time and the only way to do that is working with somebody that has had previous experience with the logistical side. Not only will this save you a lot of time, freight forwarders provide you with the peace of mind that your shipments will arrive in the desired place, in the desired time in a method that meets your needs and is cost-effective.
  • Freight forwarders that have a lot of experience working with the same shipping companies on an international level are going to have a lot more leverage over buying costs than a company that they have never heard of using them for the first time. There is always a deal to be had and shipping companies know that if they strike a deal with a freight forwarder there’s a potential for a lot more business to come their way.
  • With the logistical side of shipping being taken care of externally, business owners have the time to focus their time and efforts on other parts of the business that require their attention. If importing and exporting goods is something that is happening quite regularly this could result in a significant increase in productivity.
  • As a company that deals with freight services all the time, freight forwarders are going to have gained a lot of contacts and experience that will be invaluable to companies with different needs. This knowledge and expertise will ensure that freight forwarders will be able to tailor their services to your specific requirements.
  • Working with a freight forwarder can open opportunities to businesses they didn’t know were possible. With extensive knowledge of the different markets internationally, it could see your business being taken to places you had only dreamed of.

Feel free to get in touch with any questions, or if you need some assistance with freight forwarding.

 

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.