International transport is not always a simple process for everyone. There are many obstacles from the seller to the buyer. In order to achieve the best possible shipping, it is necessary to find the perfect freight forwarder.
Succeeding in all these steps require a very good understanding of the process, that's where you can call on Docshipper, their expertise in 3PL service will save you time and money! Do you want to understand how international transport works ? Then you're in the perfect place. This guide allows you to understand the complete functioning of all the stages of shipping.
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Table of Contents
Step 1: The importer acquires goods and asks for quotations
For the first step to begin, an importer must place an order with a supplier.
Once importers are interested in products, they will request a quote from the supplier. The quote is in this case in the form of a proforma invoice. This invoice is a perfect way to have a price estimate, and it can also be changed. The commercial invoice differs because it is a final and official statement.
Once an agreement is reached for the quote, the recipient will set up a purchase order. This is a contract that details the order. It also includes the shipping date, the origin, the delivery address, and the dimensions of the freight container.
Make a decision concerning the shipping incoterms
For each order of a buyer to a seller, an incoterm is set up. We will explain how incoterms work.
To put it simply, incoterms designate who covers the risks and costs between the buyer and the seller. They designate who is responsible for the transition of products from point A to point B.
Choosing the right incoterm is therefore essential so that the buyer does not incur additional costs that are not anticipated. The incoterms will designate the person responsible for hiring a forwarder. The table at the bottom of the text gives you all the information about the incoterm process.
Hiring a good freight forwarder
Once the incoterms are chosen, the importer may have to choose a freight forwarder for the transport to the arrival point. Finding the right freight forwarder for the right price can be quite complicated. That’s why we have to be careful about the incoterm chosen because if a buyer chooses the wrong incoterm when he does not know the country well, he will have to find a freight forwarder alone. It is therefore very important to make the right choice.
Pay the supplier with a letter of credit
Once the order is placed, one way to pay the supplier is by letter of credit. This is an excellent way to pay internationally, as it is very secure. It is a legal agreement issued by a bank that guarantees that payment for the order is made. Once the buyer's bank confirms the order, it sends a letter of credit to the seller, who then checks it to make sure everything is in order.
Once the order is placed, one way to pay the supplier is by letter of credit. This is an excellent way to pay internationally, as it is very secure. It is a legal agreement issued by a bank that guarantees that payment for the order ismade.
Generate the commercial invoice
Now that the confirmation is done, the seller sends a commercial invoice.
This invoice details the price and quantity of products sold, it will also indicate the incoterm used. The importer will then keep this invoice as proof of purchase and for customs clearance.
Step 2: Coordinating exports by your freight forwarder
The freight forwarder plays a very important role, indeed it is him who will contact his partner abroad for the transport of the goods. His partner abroad will then supply him to organize the export of the goods. In order for the goods to comply with the customs, many important documents must be present.
All the documents that the supplier must get ready
A packing list: the supplier must provide this list to the freight forwarder to indicate all the details of the freight. All the details of the buyer and the seller will be present, as well as the packaging of the products.
A certificate of origin: This certificate is always transmitted by the seller in case of export to a free-trade country. It will certify the origin of production of the products, so that the buyer does not pay customs fees. Mandatory for the seller to provide this document, which indicates all shipping information to the forwarder.
A Manufacturer's Declaration: This document is provided by the manufacturer to indicate if the products have any toxicity issues and the materials used in their manufacture.
Dangerous Goods Forms: This document is mandatory if the goods are potentially dangerous, so it indicates all potential dangers. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) or the International Maritime Organization classifies dangerous goods.
What the purchaser need to prepare
The customs differ for each country, the buyer must prepare documents for each order, here they are:
An import declaration: Each importer must complete an import declaration. The forms of declarations may well be deferred, depending on the circumstances.
An import permit/permission: Import permission may be required for certain types of products. This is the case for products such as firearms, chemicals and toxic products.
An export declaration: When you order to another country for a sum that exceeds a certain amount, you must make an export declaration. The only exceptions are for military products and animals.
A permit to export/import prohibited goods: Some products are prohibited to be sold without a permit, so the buyer must have a license to import.
DocShipper Advise: Finding the right freight forwarder at the right price is not always easy. The obstacles can be quite numerous especially if you know a country poorly. Docshipper will help you to find the best freight forwarder at the most competitive price. Our 11 years of experience in this field ensures you an impeccable service! Contact us to find out how we can assist you.
Step 3: Reserve the shipment as soon as possible
If all documents are in order and present, then the supplier can start the export for transportation. It is important to choose your freight well in advance. If, you take too much time to purchase the transport delays may occur.
Step 4: shipments of goods to an international depot or port
Once the third step is done, it is necessary to pack the products so that they are ready, then they are transported to a port or airport for the international transport. The responsibility of the transport between the buyer and the seller depends on the chosen incoterm, then the freight forwarder will take care of the transport.
The working of the bill of lading
Once the freight forwarder has been chosen, he will be able to take charge of the goods, and it is at this moment that the bill of lading arrives. It is a document that will certify that the freight forwarder has received the goods in good condition. It is very important that the control of the products is very well done.
There may be several bills of lading involved in the same shipment. For example, a supplier may require an "inland" bill of lading if the goods are being shipped from a warehouse to a seaport. If the next leg of the journey is by sea, the ocean carrier may issue a separate bill of lading to the supplier.
The supplier is obligated to provide the bill of lading to the buyer once all is in order. This is a way for the buyer to claim ownership of the products and also to secure the release
of the shipment. What you need to know is that everything can be coordinated by the forwarding company.
Step 5: Processed merchandise that has been transported and undergone export customs clearance
The fifth step is very important because it concerns customs. Before the order can leave, the government customs will check the goods and the transport documents.
In order for the customs part to go as smoothly as possible, it is necessary to fill in an export declaration. This is always necessary for an international transit. If everything is in order for the customs, the export can take place to the buyer.
It is important to know that there are many different modes of transport available to the buyer when he wants to make a sea transport, so he has many different possibilities. Here are the different possibilities available:
Out of Gauge (OGG): this method is used when your goods do not fit into a single container. To overcome this problem, the goods will be transported with an overload.
Full Container Load (FCL): This is used when all the goods can fit into one container, and the container is sufficiently full.
Reefer: When you need to transport products that need to stay cool, then you can use the Reefer. Simply put, it is a large refrigerator, products such as vegetables, fruits, fish or meat use this means of transport.
Lesser Container Load (LCL): It happens that there is still space in a container, so the goods of other buyers can be in the same container.
Flat Racks: This mode of transportation is used when products cannot be transported in conventional containers. In this case, flat racks can be used to transport the goods.
DocShipper Advise: International transport can be very complex because of the present administration. Docshipper takes care of all the administration work related to the international transport. Do not hesitate to contact us, and a professional will take care of you.
Step 6: Products arrive in buyer’s nation for the import clearance
This step happens once the goods arrive in the country of arrival. The goods must go through the customs clearance.
In many different countries it is mandatory that the goods arrive from abroad for the import clearance. The regulations differ depending on the products you are importing. There are so many different goods that you have to pay attention to the regulations.
Depending on the country you are importing from, the costs for customs duties and taxes can be quite different.
For some products it is even mandatory that an inspection be issued. This is called a quarantine inspection. This happens for goods like animals, plants, minerals, human products. Everything that can be subject to potential diseases must be inspected.
Step 7: The product transit from the port to the purchaser
The last step can take place once the products have passed through customs. The goods must then be delivered to the warehouse. The incoterm will also have its role to determine who is responsible for the transport to the warehouse.
The transport can then be done in several different ways. It is the buyer who will decide what is most convenient for him. It can be done with a truck that transports containers, or with a Sideloader. The difference between the two is that the truck can deliver directly to the door, while the sideloader will put the container on the floor.
In brief – Your shipping schedule
It is very important to understand the shipping timeline to make sure that everything runs as smoothly as possible. Always keep in mind that many things can happen. The climate change is increasing the problems with the weather. It can also happen that the inspections take longer than expected, which can increase the delay.
Docshipper is always at your disposal if you have any questions regarding international transport. You can also call on our services which ensures you an irreproachable transport thanks to its expertise.
Do not hesitate to consult this infographic, which gives you a short summary of the steps for a shipping process in 2023.
FAQ | A 2023 : Step-by-Step guide to the Shipping Process
What is a proforma invoice ?
To make it simple we can compare a pro forma invoice to an estimate. This invoice is given before the shipment is made, so you don't have to make any payment to get it. It allows you to have an overview of the price you have to pay. The commercial invoice is given once the payment is made.
What is the most secure way to pay internationally ?
The letter of credit is the most secure means for an international payment. This operation consists of making a bank security by commitment, which gives to the buyer the fact of being sure that his payment will take place only if the documents are in conformity.
What is exactly a Bill of Lading ?
This is a document that is used only during sea transport, it is a contract that is handed by the sea carrier to the shipper who then acknowledges the goods to be carried by his ship. The document is also transmitted by the carrier to the sender. The carrier is then responsible for the condition of the goods.
What is the difference between FCL and LCL ?
These 2 modes of transport are different for many things. First the FCL does this when a shipper can fill a container completely, when it is not completely filled other shippers can use the container, this is where the LCL chose it. Then in LCL the container is not sealed, whereas in FCL it is. The LCL method also generally takes longer because of the different intermediate steps, but is more expensive than the FCL method.
What are the freight forwarder’s duties ?
It is a company that will manage the successive transports of goods to import or export. The freight forwarder must be able to manage the logistics, legal and customs aspects. Its main role is that the goods entrusted arrive at the right destination in a state where it has received. Its role is therefore very important in international trade.
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