International Shipping & Freight Forwarding Blog

How to Prepare for the Unknowns When Importing & Exporting Freight

Posted by Reid Malinbaum on Mon, Aug 15, 2016 @ 05:45 PM


I like to play on the word "virtual reality" when I talk about freight shipping, because there are two worlds out there: the one where everything goes according to logical planning (virtual), and what actually ends up happening (reality).

My job as a freight forwarder is to make sure we close the gap between the two.

In a virtual freight world, achieving a no-mistake shipment is a breeze if you understand processes and languages and customs from around the world. However, the reality of shipping carries more hurdles, because there are things that occur that we simply cannot predict. 

I find that the best way to narrow the gap and deal with unknowns when importing & exporting your freight is to have the most perfect "virtual" possible.

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Tags: freight forwarders, importing, exporting

International Air & Ocean Shipping The Begining of The Year

Posted by Reid Malinbaum on Tue, Jan 06, 2015 @ 02:51 PM

Welcome back!

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Tags: freight forwarders

International air & ocean shipping end of the year rush

Posted by Reid Malinbaum on Tue, Dec 23, 2014 @ 02:56 PM

To our shippers besides wishing all of you happy holidays

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Tags: freight forwarders

Ocean shipping from Europe back to the US using 1 freight network.

Posted by Reid Malinbaum on Thu, Sep 18, 2014 @ 11:05 AM

The trucking industry is currently experiencing  delays at our local ports caused by serious shortage of truck chassis.

The shortage started with the ocean carriers limiting chassis (ocean containers have to be moved off shipyards using truck chassis before the dray company delivers to the shipper). Even chassis pool & leasing chassis companies can keep u[p with the demand for now.

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Tags: freight forwarders

Logistics & competence in freight forwarding

Posted by Reid Malinbaum on Mon, Sep 08, 2014 @ 08:29 PM

Your experienced shippers would tell you to develop a work rapport with your freight forwarders.

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Tags: freight forwarders

Shipments of Household Goods

Posted by Reid Malinbaum on Fri, Aug 29, 2014 @ 02:42 PM

Shippers of household goods do not always have a clear picture of how  their freight configuration can affect their bottom line.

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Tags: freight forwarders

Overseas Container Shipping & Watefront Coalition News

Posted by Reid Malinbaum on Tue, Jul 08, 2014 @ 03:54 PM

Overseas Container Shipping. Union, Management Negotiations.

Take a look at the latest news from the California Waterfront Coalition. The article below sheds some unique light on a perspective that may be important to you... the international shipping customer. You will learn from the Waterfront Coalition article below some differences between a teamster strike and how that my affect your own international freight forwarding but you also may learn how well your international freight forwarding company protects their customers from slow downs or maintains a high level of dependability. After all, it's not your export company that needs to deal directly with overseas shipping, especially if you have an experienced, expert overseas shipping company like ETC International Freight Systems. Having a headquarters on the west coast also helps a freight forwarder stay a little closer to actions and interactions of union, management relationships and how keep an overseas container shipping running smooth.

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Tags: freight forwarders

Selecting The Best Overseas Freight Forwarding Company

Posted by Daniel Shlifer on Thu, Jun 12, 2014 @ 09:00 AM

Choosing An Overseas Freight Forwarding Company?

As a guest blogger for ETC International Freight Forwarding System and not an employee, I have applied a great deal of research on this subject and feel I am accurately sharing a unique point of view. This is a perspective that has become very valuable to individuals and businesses during this booming age of information technologies. This blog post is aimed to shed this unique light on the process of choosing and selecting an overseas freight forwarding company. As you will read below, ETC International Freight Forwarding System, in my opinion, one of the absolute best solutions for securing an overseas freight forwarding partner. I come to this conclusion after researching the approach to customer service and truly customized selection of services offered.

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Tags: Overseas Shipping, freight forwarders

International Freight Forwarder, Forwarding Services,

Posted by Reid Malinbaum on Mon, Feb 10, 2014 @ 04:09 PM


ETC International Freight System 1-800-383-3157
In the world of mass production, poor expertise & lack of personal engagement adds unexpected costs & aggravation.  ETC Intl. Freight System, has no aspiration to be the K-Mart of the forwarding business.We are independently owned & although part of an industry highly regulated, we help you close the gap to manage your shipments from inception to end. Our employees’ knowledge & dedication are of paramount importance in the services that we render, which bear our name. Customer satisfaction is the guiding principle for all our activities.



IATA Licensed Since 1984 -
Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Approved. We offer airfreight consolidation services (import & export) with a variety of airlines to world destinations with consolidated rates.


Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) licensed Since 1988 & Non-Vessel Operational Common Carrier (NVOCC) bonded. We offer import/export consolidation services & dedicated container
loads with a variety of steam lines to world destinations with consolidated rates.


We handle personal effects and automobiles via air & sea. Packing & loading is done by our professional crew on-site or in the warehouse. Free surveys are available upon request.


Professional liability, E & O, Bailees, Cargo insurance.


In-house customhouse broker licensed for USA or overseas customs clearances.


Value added services for jobs, large or small, short or long term.


Terms of service.
Bill of lading terms and conditions.

A personal story:



ETC International Freight System a true story from our founder


Part # 1 The beginning

Although I incorporated in 1984, my involvement in the international freight forwarding started when I immigrated to the USA from France in 1981. I was employed by Marshall Brownfield, a freight forwarder that handled wearing apparel, based near Los Angeles International Airport. I was then 24 years old.

With my broken English, Marshall had me in the warehouse where I took it upon myself to re-organize the incoming shipments of clothing in the categories of receiving, manifesting, warehousing, inventory -- in a nutshell, the ins & outs of the whole warehouse business. Luckily, my family background was in textile manufacturing & I had grown up in that environment, working on & off for my father. This position did not last long as Marshall & his
French agent, namely TTA, thought I would better be used in a sales capacity.

I was sent for training to New York for several weeks to work with the TTA office & came back with my new international freight forwarding skills. Working with the French importers in Los Angeles, obviously, was easy for me, though I must say I did struggle with the all American
customers importing from France. I can encapsulate the feeling with one customer’s remark: “Call me back when you speak English". I thought the sarcasm was well deserved, not that I felt at the time like laughing, but because, from that point on-ward, I was committed to becoming articulate in English. Of course, over the years, there were other times, when I was
corrected or made fun of mostly by my kids, but never was the sting as vivid as that first time.

Several months after my employment, I was fired. We know the French have certain  arrogance about them; you can add a good dose of spontaneity from my personality fueled by comments directed at Marshall (the owner).  I acted as if I was Captain America when Marshall exploded with anger at his employees, which I felt was shockingly inappropriate, and above and beyond his company status. In his defense, I must admit that my poor timing was an error; had I waited for a more inconspicuous place and time and been more deferential, I would surely have avoided what ensued. Marshall was a good man who gave me a job, shelter, and even lent me his old 1950s Mercedes Benz (gear shift next to the steering
wheel). I repaid him with an un-timely remark and blew a piston on his Mercedes Benz, not knowing how to get to his 4th gear. I got my driver’s license with that car, even parallel parking on a hillside (being a Parisian-trained driver), impressing the placid inspector. I am grateful to Mr. Marshall Brownfield & would apologize for the behavior should he be still standing. I had a few repeats of a similar nature that pursued me many times over in the
years that followed.

Two years of struggle followed. I was out of a job, and Marshall Brownfield threatened to call the INS. I was doing menial jobs to earn a living, while learning the language and the many cultural differences, seeking to assimilate. I will spare you the details, but perhaps I may amuse you by sharing a couple of them. Looking for employment when you are so obviously foreign and perhaps a bit strange for mainstream Americans forces you to get out of your comfort zone. At one point I was a basic construction worker sent to retrieve various tools – and coming back with the wrong ones (lost in translation). For a punishment – or maybe for their amusement -- I was ordered to work underneath the bottom of homes in Palos Verdes, scrambling through crawl-spaces, seeking among dead rats, spiders, dirt, and pipes the area to work on, and discovering in the process what claustrophobia is like. A massive panic attack would surge, nearly uncontrollable, leaving me to think I had been sent there to be buried
alive, everyone’s worst nightmare. I had had enough of that!

To make ends meet, I lived temporarily in houses in Beverley Hills waiting to be sold or torn down. I knew the listing agent, and she was very caring and generous. I was a home decorator for a short while, but this did not pan out. I was not exactly climbing the social ladder & so I left Los Angeles for some fresh air, living in Aspen in Colorado for a few months
working as a busboy and a waiter, as well as being part of the work force on the slopes before the World Ski Cup started. This time in Aspen ended abruptly when it was gently suggested by a friendly judge that it would be best if I left town. Yes, you guessed it; I had another Captain America episode. Here is the story: After being insulted up & down for returning a food platter from an dissatisfied patron & joining a waitress in enjoying a morsel off the returning platter (mea culpa!), the chef, whom I recall was Middle Eastern, yelled insults at me, and then got me fired for telling him how poor his choice of words were. The injustice felt overwhelming and after I received my small severance check from an apologetic
boss that hardly could argue my value against the value of a chef. My decision was made that there are lessons best learned by inflicting moderate pain despite the potential consequences. Going back to the kitchen, I pretended to the chef that the boss decided to keep me after all & got the chef away from his kitchen and his knives. Then, I proceeded to ever-so-gently knock the wind out of him. Unfortunately, he landed on a table filled with clean dishes. Everyone in the entire restaurant came running in to the fracas to see what had happened. I
received a $ 70 fine for disturbing the peace & it was “suggested” I might consider leaving town. I noticed as I left the courthouse, I had a small following; at first this worried me, but as it turned out they took me out and bought me a beer, wanting to know the inside details of our little tussle. At some point, I did leave the town, the ski slopes … and a ravishing young lady. Assimilation was rough, but well underway.

Back in Los Angeles, living with friends, I hit a wall going nowhere and running out of cash. Anxieties running high, and afraid to fail, I spoke with my older brother, who gave me a piece of his wisdom: “Since you want to stay & do not want to follow the family footsteps in the textile industry, and since you have several months of experience in the freight
business, why not look into it again?”

This gave me the direction I needed. I sold my motorcycle, bought myself a plane ticket back to France & interviewed with 32 French freight-forwarders, two of which were interested in opening an office in Los Angeles. The first one was Galax' Air International, and they agreed to have me represent them independently. The second was SCAC, a French conglomerate that was strong in Africa. SCAC had a relationship with another agent, Radix International, & asked me to work for them inside Radix International in Los Angeles. I chose SCAC, being poor and not quite qualified to open my own freight forwarding company. This was 1982-3. Beyond sales, I was trained in the complexities of office administration, which turned out to be extremely beneficial when I later founded ETC International Freight System.

This was a very successful position for me. I hired an assistant and we moved into a suite on Century Blvd., a luxury single-office space with a front desk reception area. My parents visited me & were quite impressed with the outfit. I was a happy man & soon married my American wife, who gave me instant stability and a razor-sharp focus. At last, I was no longer
working for myself lone, but for the two of us and our children to be. But life keeps throwing twists here and there. SCAC was happy with the success of this satellite office and wanted more. They sent a big company name to re-structure a bigger office & I found myself suddenly confounded in sales with a new boss from Switzerland who spoke in a context that reminded me of the old nobility addressing the serfs. By then, I had learned enough of the American way, coupled with a strong independent nature. I left SCAC & in a hurry,
opening my own company right next door. I had a  few dedicated customers including the owner of Galax’ Air, Mr. Francois Dusseque with whom I had kept in close contact. Francois Dusseque trusted me & gave me advance commission for the traffic to come, which helped me establish myself in my first few months in business. In addition, my relationship with my bank was great & since SCAC before opening their larger office was using an account under my name (the good old days once upon a time in the West…). I had credit, and let us remember that in 1984 under the Reagan era, the import business was booming with a strong dollar over the Franc currency in the days before the Euro. And so my little firm had
the incredible advantage of receiving customers’ payments here and repaying the European agents so fast that they were experiencing something no other freight forwarders (agents) ever offered: fast return (15 days or less repayment) on their invoices. It was the inception of P Malinbaum Company DBA Euro Transport Connections & later on DBA ETC International Freight System. What happened next is to me fantastic. 

Part 2


You can read this international freight story at seek the heading about us and go to toward the bottom of the Page.


Freight Terms - Glossary



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Tags: freight forwarders

International freight forwarding,

Posted by Reid Malinbaum on Tue, Jan 07, 2014 @ 04:48 PM

ETC International Freight System was presented with an international air import challenging shipment that had a 12/28/13 deadline.

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Tags: freight forwarders