Getting a Reliable Freight Rate Estimate
Pinning down a reasonable freight fee estimate is a crucial first step in shipping items overseas. Whether you’re importing or exporting or both, you have to know beforehand how much it’s going to cost.
But to receive a reliable estimate, there are a few details you must know:
KNOW EXACTLY WHAT YOU’RE HAVING SHIPPED
The kind of product you’re having delivered is important. Certain regulations affect deliveries of raw, unprocessed lumber that wouldn’t affect the delivery of, say, a wooden table. Home products operate differently than industrial deliveries in terms of insurance and who is responsible for shipping them.
Be clear with the freight forwarding agent about the contents of your shipments. It impacts whether certain online freight quote services will ship your products, whether air or ocean freight is preferable, the kind of shipping box that’s required, and how much the service will cost.
KNOW YOUR SHIPMENT’S WEIGHT AND DIMENSIONS
This is particularly true for air freight deliveries, which are priced according to weight and dimensions, whereas ocean freight rates are typically based upon size alone.
Very heavy deliveries like industrial equipment may impact the cost for ocean freight also.
You have to know your shipment’s exact weight and dimensions for air freight. When sending products by ocean freight, you generally ship by box or container, and smaller shipment costs are assessed per cubic meter.
KNOW THE LOCATION OF YOUR DELIVERY AND/OR PICKUP
While this might seem obvious, you need to realize that there are alternatives in terms of shipping products overseas, and the freight forwarding agent must have this info.
This includes whether you need your pickup or delivery shipped door to door, port to port, door to port, etc. If you’re shipping to the door, what type of location are your goods in? Some delivery trucks cannot pass through residential zones.
Having the address info for the delivery/pickup of your products prepared is the most efficient way of receiving a precise price estimate on how much your shipment will cost.
If your shipment is traveling from one port to another, inform your freight forwarding agent about which ports you need your products shipped to and from.
GET YOUR ESTIMATE CLOSE TO YOUR SHIPMENT DATE
A lot of newbie overseas shippers
aren’t aware that shipping rates fluctuate significantly, appearing to be in a perpetual state of disequilibrium.
Unless you happen to be a major global shipper such as Costco or Walmart, you’ll be contending for spot rates (i.e. searching for available room on a freight ship), and these spot rates are always in flux.
In most cases, freight shipping price estimates are valid for around one month. So it’s important to obtain a freight price estimate within roughly 30 days of importing and/or exporting.
It’s wise to make budgetary allowances in advance, and you can certainly check to see what shipping your kind of product costs currently to get a general idea of what it may cost later on. But it’s best to wait until the month you’re shipping to receive a reliable price estimate.