How is International Shipping Functioning in 2020

In the globalized world that we find ourselves living in, in the 21st Century, we are focused on consumer goods more and more. Everybody is obsessed with having the latest new gadget or toy, and heaven forbid if we aren’t wearing this year’s must-have fashion item. But, have you ever stopped and thought, where do these products come from and how do they get to my door? Well, the majority of consumer goods are manufactured in the far east and Asia, and by far the most prevalent means of transporting them is by sea. As a result, the global shipping industry is one of the largest in the world with approaching 100 billion packages delivered every year. Here we are going to take a look at how the global shipping industry functions in 2020.

Preparing for export

The first step on the global shipping trail is preparing the goods for export. This means that they need to be transported from the site of manufacture to the port of export. Depending on the size and quantity of the goods this can take many forms, from individual trailers to full-sized containers, and often it is handled using a local delivery firm. Once at the forwarder’s location they will prepare the goods for ocean shipping. Sometimes the forwarder will arrange export haulage so it is worth shopping about to find the best deal for your goods.

Customs clearance – export

Before any goods will be allowed to leave their home country they will need to be cleared for export. Goods need to be fully declared and the associated documents must be provided before the goods will be authorized for exportation. This will be done by either the freight forwarder or an agent at the port who is employed for these purposes, and it is an unavoidable step for all goods that are exported worldwide.

Inspection and loading

Once the goods have been cleared for export they will need to be inspected to ensure the goods are what they say they are and that there are no contraband materials mixed in with the cargo. This is especially important when shipping from high-risk countries in Latin America. Once the inspection is passed the goods will be loaded on to the ship ready for export. Depending on the quantity of the goods they may all be loaded on to one container, but more often than not they will be commingled with other deliveries headed to the same destination port.

Ocean freight

The freight forwarder will already have chosen the ocean liner that the goods will be loaded on depending on the destination and availability, and it might not necessarily be a direct trip. It is important, therefore, to have them seek out the most cost effective options otherwise they will likely place the goods on the first available vessel. The final price will almost certainly not be the first one quoted as there are many variables from variations in bunker costs to exchange rate fluctuations, which will affect the final price to your destination. So, depending on your time requirements you can plan accordingly.

Customs clearance – import

Once the vessel arrives at the destination port there will be another round of customs formalities and these can be extremely stringent depending where the load port was. It is not unusual to find your container tied up for days at this stage whilst all the checks are carried out. The cargo can be unloaded and held in a customs bonded area during this process so that the vessel can move on to the next port. Depending on the nature of the goods you may have to pay an import tariff at this stage, but you will have been forewarned of this by the forwarding agent.

Import haulage

Once the goods have been released they will need to be moved on to their final destination. They will be sent to whoever is the consignee on the bill of lading and this can be arranged by the freight forwarder, or by a local transportation company depending on size and cost.

As we have discovered international shipping is a very complex procedure because it is not easy to move goods from A to B through various countries and across the ocean. Goods will need to be sent to the load port and then customs cleared for export before they are inspected and then finally loaded on to the vessel. Once onboard their journey begins to the discharge port where they will again need to be customs cleared and any tariffs will have to be paid before they can be sent to the eventual consignee. Luckily there are freight forwarders and agents to help you with this complicated enterprise, to ensure your goods reach their destination in tip-top condition.