PLANNING YOUR TRANSPORT LOGISTICS
Whether your export volumes are large or small you need to develop a transport logistics plan. To do this you must find a good freight forwarder, decide your options between a full container load or a consolidation, and decide whether to send your goods by air or sea.
Choosing the right freight forwarder
A freight forwarding service can handle all of your logistics tasks by acting as an intermediary between you and various transportation services. Sending products from Australia to another Country can involve a multitude of carriers, requirements and legalities. Freight forwarding services guarantee that your products will get to its destination on time and in good condition. Freight forwarding services also negotiate the best possible price on your behalf and help you work out the best routes. In simple words, the freight forwarder is the middle man between you as the shipper/exporter and the truck company, airline or shipping line.
Forwarders come in all sizes, from 1 man companies, Sole Traders to the extremely large multi-nationals with offices in ever part of the globe.
Depending on your needs, here are some questions to help you choose the right freight forwarder for your business:
• Is the Forwarder willing to offer advice on Freight or Customs requirements?
• Do they have a network of offices in your country of export?
• Can they offer an “integrated service” from the Door to the Door?
• Can they take out Marine Insurance for you?
• Do they have competitive service rates?
• Can they provide you with order tracking?
• Do they have internal Licensed Customs Agents or use external ones?
• Do they have their own warehouse, handling facility?
• Are they a Licensed Regulated agent for Air Freight?
• Are they an IATA. (International Air Transport Association) approved?
• Do they have trained personnel in Dangerous Goods, Security Procedures, Export and Import procedures?
FCL (less then a container load) versus LCL (full container load)
An FCL is used when the exporter has exclusive use of the container. As a rule, containers are loaded and sealed by the exporter at its facility. They are then transported to the point of final destination.
An LCL is used for shipping boxed, crated or palletized cargo that does not fill an entire container. The main advantage of using LCL is to improve your shipping costs on smaller freight shipments by paying only for the space used in the container rather then the full container shipping cost.
Sea versus Air
Sometimes the choice between sea and air transport is governed simply by the type of product, the shelf life of the product, or the urgency in having a product available for consumers. At other times it comes down to price.
Sea is predominately cheaper than air and certainly more cost effective. Ocean shipping is the most widely used form of transporting freight overseas and the use of containers mean that goods can be easily transported door-to-door.
Container ships carry their cargo in standard 20′ or 40′ containers, stacked both on and below decks. They operate on fixed routes, to fixed schedules and usually charge a standard tariff.
The most common reason to use airfreight is to minimise the door-to-door transit time when the products are perishable, urgent, have a high value or are samples.
It is perhaps not surprising that airfreight is generally more expensive than other modes of international transport and is charged per kilogram – weight or volume, whichever is the greater – known as the chargeable weight.
You should analyse every shipment for the most appropriate transport logistics and utilise the expertise of your freight forwarder and your industry association.