International Freight Shipping Gets the Red Carpet Treatment
Large-scale suppliers and businesses that have large, regular commercial shipments of products ranging from laboratory ware, diagnostics reagents, auto parts and automobiles, paint products, film, film artwork, and media mock-ups, department store goods and accessories, solar panels – just to name a few – demand more intensive logistics services of their international shipping providers than is otherwise provided to individual and small-time consumers.
But it’s more than just picking up a shipping container, loading it on the ocean vessel, and watching it ride off into the sunset. There is a complex backbone of networking and special handling applied to each and every one of these shipments based on special requirements warranted by the contents inside and the needs of the businesses.
Freight forwarding has been, and continues to be, the answer that helps the corporate engine run as smooth as possible.
Bigger = More Complex
These multi-billion dollar corporations seeking to expand their markets and influence in foreign parts of the world never have a simple routing procedure or process in mind. They often involve multiple sea containers exiting the United States as frequently as on a weekly basis, often carrying hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of merchandise.
1. Safety & Compliance
When dealing with such high values and high volumes of shipments, it is only logical that you’d want to ensure the safety of your cargo in transit in addition to compliance with United States shipping laws.
We know you like stability and healthy margins, which is why this often translates to the exclusive usage of one or two shipping specialists. We know you don’t want to have to shop around each and every time you have a shipment, so it tends to make sense to enlist one or a very small number of chosen forwarders to exclusively handle the complicated processes of all of your international shipments, and with good reason.
There are thousands of forwarders that would gladly jump at the opportunity to acquire such large and lucrative accounts, but willingness and capabilities are two very different things.
Corporations shipping their products overseas can rest assured that their shipments are not only in the capable hands of their forwarders, but also that all shipping procedures conducted are compliant with the regulations set forth by the relevant governing agencies. Corporations often have specialized departments that require copies from their forwarders of the export filing details submitted to United States Customs and Border Protection to ensure full compliance.
2. The Network
Forwarders that are competent and capable enough to be given the opportunity to handle such an account will find that their clients demand and need special computer logistics services, such as real time tracking of their shipments and inventory data entry of each and every item of merchandise and SKU number.
This requires specialized software to handle (organize, segment, and centralize) the input of the high volume of data. This isn’t something a freight forwarder can set up overnight, so it’s helpful to work with a group that has been around awhile and has dedicated themselves to continuously improving their process.
Interestingly, the market for high volume, regular shipments from corporate accounts is not only limited to heavy, high value, high weight sea containers. Major Hollywood film studios frequently benefit from the services of specialty freight forwarders in the handling and expedition of small parcel shipments to worldwide destinations.
These studios need to send out regular shipment of things like film artwork, paraphernalia, and DVD mock-ups for international editions to their overseas offices, which can be found in almost every major country in the world.
These type of shipments are often small package or parcel shipments, and popular film studios prefer to enlist the services of a dedicated freight forwarder who can cater to their specific needs and conditions. This includes the forwarder being able to provide computerized tracking that the studios can access to check the proof of deliveries (POD’s).
The casual observer may remark that the film studios could directly use the services of major courier services rather than freight forwarders who act as brokers; however, the large courier corporations don’t provide personalized services such as packing and packaging in addition to the actual shipping.
It would be very difficult and most likely impossible for such popular courier companies such as Fedex and DHL to provide this level of dedication and personalized services to the film studios, and that is where the services of a reliable and efficient forwarder are quite valuable. The products shipping from Hollywood studios are not only limited to small parcels of DVD mock-ups and film artwork, and actually include theatrical film prints that need to be shipped to overseas film lab processing companies.
Given that these film prints are packaged in heavy, bulky boxes and are also classified as hazardous cargo, the need for specialty air freight shipping services is also a primary concern for film studios. The need for a forwarder with accessibility and connections to major airlines for hazardous cargo is very important.
4.Why Auto Manufacturers?
Like the film industry, major automotive manufacturers also have enormous shipping needs for sending their products of new auto parts and automobiles to their overseas offices and counterparts in many diverse locations throughout the world. In other words, auto transport is a big deal.
Due to their backlogs and high volume of international business, they simply do not have the time and capabilities to arrange their own international shipping, and this is where the extreme value of a dedicated freight forwarder can benefit them the most.
A forwarder can satisfy cover a wide range of services, including pick ups from various locations throughout the United States, packing and crating services, export customs clearance, international shipping, and deliveries at the destinations. Quite often , automotive corporations ship lithium ion batteries for electric vehicles to their overseas offices which requires special shipping procedures due to the hazardous nature of this type of cargo. This entails the proper labeling and marking of the cargo in addition to the preparation of hazardous certifications in order to comply with international hazardous shipping regulations. Such hazardous shipments can sometimes be problematic due to limited vessel carriers that can transport such cargo.
Likewise, major apparel manufactures of clothing and accessories require international shipping services not only for their retail products but also building materials for store outlets they are planning on opening in overseas locations.
With little to no resources to conduct such international shipping projects on their own, a valuable and dedicated freight forwarder can help to make their desired international market expansions a veritable reality. Not only can a capable forwarder accomplish their shipping needs, but a good forwarder can also provide valuable computerized recording and live tracking of all products in a major retailer’s shipping inventories.
Large retail companies greatly value a forwarder to take charge of their shipments with the least work possible on the part of the retailer. This is helpful in determining the size and scope of their shipments without having to over extend themselves on providing valuable shipping information such as the number of pieces in the shipment, gross weight, and package dimensions. That is not to say that such details are not needed, but this is where experience pays off.
Your forwarder can also make the determination if they can arrange live loading of full-load ocean containers at the retailer’s facility or if warehouse trans-loading services are needed instead. A lot of variable factors can come into play to make these determinations. High retail shippers may need to clear out their month’s end inventory on the last day of the month, but if vessel space and container availability cannot be secured in time to dispatch a sea container to the shipper’s facility before the month’s end, a pick-up can be arranged using a regular domestic truckload and then sent to warehouse storage until a vessel and container space become available.
Complexity is the name of the game:
International freight forwarding services address a wide range of needs, and it is especially helpful to have experienced professionals working with you when you are dealing with large, commercial freight projects. Whether it’s a one-off or a regular need, going international implies necessity with security, compliance, and technology.
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