What is International Shipping?
International shipping is a process of importing and exporting goods/services between different countries via air, ocean or over the road. International shipping can be complicated process as it involves many rules and policies. To successfully import or export freight, you have to know and follow specific regulations and paperwork so your freight passes the customs smoothly. It is a difficult process to arrange international shipping, especially if you are doing it for the first time. That’s why most businesses who deal in import and export turn to freight forwarding companies to ship their freight.
Isn’t shipping just sending goods from one place to another?
Are there anything else involved in the process?
80% of the total international trade i.e., 11 billion tonnes are done through the route of the sea, every year worth of $1 TN goods are shipped across globe. So, it will be right to say that shipping is the backbone of international trade. Shipping connects international markets, products and even people.
But its shipping is not as simple as it looks. There are many processes involved in the total transfer of the goods
International shipping can be explained as a parcel delivery or group of parcel deliveries in which the parcel is taken from a country and delivered to an address in another.
Many online sellers will offer international shipping to attract an audience that goes beyond the limits of the country, they’re selling in.
Because of the number of resources involved to get a parcel from one country to another, international shipping is typically a little more expensive and the process is chaotic than domestic deliveries.
Key players in the International Shipping Process:
Before understanding the process lets us first know the players who are involved in the process
Importer :Importer is the buyer. The one who makes sure that the customer gets the good at the right time and at right place.
Exporter :These are the ones who sell the goods to the importers.
Bank :Bank has a huge role in the total international trade. They act as a financier by providing loans and letter of credit.
International Shipping Process:
Now let us see the step to step process of the total shipping.
1. Request freight Quotes :The first step is to ask for the freight quote. But before that first, the details like shipping date, the port of origin, the port of destination, commodity & packing details and type of freight is required to share to all your freight forwarders in your network. Once this is finalized you can start getting the quotes from your freight forwarders or you can choose for the digital freight forwarders like Boxnbiz to automate this process & start getting quotes within seconds.
2. Choose the Freight Forwarders :After receiving the quote, the next step is to finalize the freight forwarder or the carrier whose rates & factors like network & support fits best to your requirements. There are more than 10000 freight forwarders which includes digital freight forwarder like Boxnbiz and traditional freight forwarder. The only difference in both is that in digital freight forwarder the quote are delivered in real-time basis and the process of shipping is tracked through the digital app helping exporters to get visibility into their supply chain.
3. Preparing of Necessary Documents :After choosing the freight forwarder, next is to get the necessary document ready. The document included are:
- Performa Invoice : In an international transaction, the quote that is requested would serve as a proforma invoice and it can be used to arrange financing, to open a letter of credit, to apply for the import licenses, and more.
- Commercial Invoice : Once the Performa invoice is sent, the order is received you need to prepare the good for shipping along with the required document. The document includes:
- Time and Place of selling
- Seller’s information (Name, Contact, Address)
- Buyer’s Information (Name, Contact, Address)
- Description of Merchandise
- Country of shipment
- A signature, title of the signor, and date of signing.
- Additional information provided in the terms and conditions on the document.
- Packing List : It is the list that identifies the quantity of shipment and their weight and dimension.
- Certificates of Origin : It is a legal document that confirms that the country mentioned in the commercial invoice and packing list is correct.
- Shipper’s Letter of Instruction : It includes the information needed to move the goods from one place to another.
- Bills of Lading : It is a legal document issued by a carrier to a shipper that details the type, quantity and destination of the goods being carried.
- Dangerous Goods Form : This document is issued to the goods that are considered dangerous by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) or the International Maritime Organization (IMO)
- Bank Draft : A bank draft is important because it is used for transferring control of the exported goods from the seller in exchange for funds from the buyer.
4. Confirm the details of Shipment :When you are done preparing for the shipping process, you need to make sure to double-check and confirm the shipment details. Verification of the origin of shipment, B/L number, number and type of containers, reference type and number are necessary.
5. Raise booking request/ delivery order to the carrier :Once all the Confirmation is done now you can book your freight provider. You just need to update all the details with the selected freight forwarder. Details like origin date, origin place, destination date and place, type of container etc. Now, wait for them to submit your booking to the shipping line once they’ve completed the booking and payment.
6. Track shipment activities :Once you receive a booking confirmation email from the freight forwarder, you can start tracking your shipment. Some forwarders like Boxnbiz, offer to track the shipment through online and it’s real-time. They don’t just offer online tracking and real-time management, but also features other platforms such as invoice, document and contract organization.
7. Shipment passes through customs at the port of entry :Your shipment will be evaluated by the customs, and they will check whether the requirements set by custom are fulfilled. If it does, no issue will be set on your shipment and it can pass through. But if not, your shipment will be held under the custody of customs until the balance is paid.
8. Reimburse the bill for customs duties and taxes :This bill includes the duties and taxes directly from the forwarder and it must be paid directly to the forwarder. There are many forwarders who don’t accept payment through cheques or bank transfer. When there’s a request made for inspection service, the charges will also be billed directly to you.
9. Receive the Shipment :Once everything is done smoothly you will receive the shipment as soon it reaches the port. In Boxnbiz, instant rate search and booking features also work for LTL freight. Booking LTL freight or any other tracking services for your final delivery can be done easily on Boxnbiz.
In a Nutshell, the whole shipping timeline looks something like this:
About Boxnbiz - Your digital freight forwarder:
Boxnbiz is a digital freight forwarding company helping small and medium businesses ship goods internationally through its tech enabled logistics solutions. Boxnbiz automates the entire flow from price discovery to tracking and payments everything from one place. Try us today!