When you work with a capable logistics partner, door-to-door international shipping shouldn’t be complicated for shippers; but behind the scenes it’s a complex process. A shipment exported from the United States to a foreign country becomes a maze of modes and regulations before it arrives at your customer’s door. According to Emily Grein, international manager for Logistics Plus, “We try to make shipping internationally no different than shipping domestically. From our customer’s perspective, it should be simply a matter of picking up the shipment, transporting it to the destination, and then delivering it to their customer.”
So what should you look for when selecting a door-to-door logistics partner? If you look hard, you might find many options for international door-to-door delivery services; and with exports on the decline due to the higher dollar valuation, the competition is intense. But buyer beware – not all logistics companies are the same. Some provides may outsource the bulk of the work to five or six different vendors, from trucking to warehousing to customs brokerage. Other logistics companies may outsource only a portion of the responsibility, providing more internal expertise and control. Having fewer parties involved reduces a shipper’s loss, damage and security risk. Here are a few questions to ask yourself before selecting a door-to-door international freight forwarder:
- Are they large enough to be credible but not so large that they ignore my individual requirements?
- Do they have global trade compliance and customs clearance expertise in-house?
- Do they understand compliant packaging regulations (such as ISPM 15 and HT)?
- Do they have offices and people located around the world that have local knowledge of the country to which I am shipping?
- Have they established strong relationships with air, ocean and ground carriers to secure capacity and affordable rates for my shipment requirements?
- Do they have the ability to warehouse and distribute my product according to a set schedule if needed?
- Do they have an online technology solution that provides me with shipment visibility?
- Will I have a dedicated logistics specialist working with me every step of the way?
Okay, now that you’ve selected a capable door-to-door freight forwarding partner (hopefully it’s Logistics Plus), you need to prepare your shipment for the big move. Preparing an international door-to-door shipment can sometimes require planning up to a year in advance. The main factors affecting the transportation mode and cost of the shipment will be the size, weight and dimensions of the cargo being moved and the final destination. Packaging will also be a factor, both in terms of cargo security as well as shipment dimensions and cost. Remember, you don’t want to “pay for air” so make sure your shipment is optimally packaged for secure and safe transport.
You should start by compiling a detailed packing list and itemizing every piece of the shipment, including both description and dimensions. This will allow your logistics provider to provide you with an accurate rate estimate. Armed with a detailed understanding of your shipment and its final destination, your logistics provider will find the appropriate shipping line and shipping ports for optimal results. Once your shipment is en-route, you should have the confidence that your logistics provider will be able to provide you with frequent shipment status updates, if needed, and will notify you once your shipment has been delivered. They should also be able to explain to you how to select the best Incoterms for your shipment to ensure your total transportation costs and any applicable tariffs or duties are minimized. They should also be able to provide you with a consolidated, itemized invoice for the entire transaction.
“There’s often a lot steps and documents involved with international door-to-door shipping,” says Emily, “But our goals is to simply make importing and exporting easy for our customers.” If you’re ready to learn more about Logistics Plus door-to-door international shipping services, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or click the button below to get a quick quote on your next international shipment.