Effective Shipping Methods


One of the vital factors behind a successful export business is the shipping procedure. Differences in shipping methods not only reduce your profit but may also damage your customer experience. On the other hand, even small export businesses have been able grow within their export industry by focusing on efficient shipping procedures.

 Primary Shipping Method Consideration

There are multiple considerations that must be taken in order to arrive at the proper and correct shipping process for your exports.  Your primary considerations should be:

The size of the shipment

The size of your shipment is one of the most basic factors in determining the shipping method.  If you are sending a small item, it is more cost effective and efficient to use an integrated courier (like FedEx, UPS, or DHL).  They will provide a fast (usually within 3 business days) international door-to-door delivery and an excellent customer experience.  This option works well for smaller and more expensive items.

Total costing of the shipment

Your landed cost is what will determine your profit levels. Some shipping methods may drive the total landing cost so high that it makes it unrealistic to ship that way.  For example, if you are shipping furniture, let’s say a $300 sofa, then it would not be cost effective to use an integrated carrier a your shipping method.  The cost of transportation will be 400% higher than the cost of the sofa. The cost of your product plays an important roll in determining the transportation options.

Safety of the products

Safety of your product is always a concern regardless of the method of transportation.  Some products are more suitable for one method over another.  Some pharmaceutical shipments require a specific transit time due to the lifespan of the product (products that need to be tested have a specific shelf-life/product life) and must be transported quickly.  Some products require refrigeration and may travel via ocean (speed is less of an impact on the product than temperature).  Some products require a sensor for movement and must be handled as little as possible to ensure the safety of the product. Considering the products safety will help you narrow down your shipping options to ensure that your customer receives their products safely.

Delivery Time

Most foreign buyers need to balance the cost of speed, and so should you.  When you export, you must take into consideration that the faster a product is delivered to a customer, the more costly is tends to be.  Air courier shipments are more costly than common carrier shipments and common carrier shipments tend to be more costly than using a freight consolidator.  Each of these has a different time delivery and service level commitments, which will not only impact the transit time of your shipment but also the cost.

Based on the above-mentioned criteria, most of the export marketers prefer the below mentioned shipping procedures.

International Air Couriers

Companies such as FedEx, UPS, DHL, etc. offer fast reliable service for your shipments.

Pros:  fast, guaranteed, reliable, available tracking, provide proof of delivery (POD).

Cons: very costly (compared to other options), not flexible in process.

 

Airlines

Many airlines provide airway bills for you to ship directly with them.

Pros: going direct with carrier, cost, routes tend to be direct (depending on carrier)

Cons: must be a known-shipper, your cargo boarding hierarchy is low (you may get bumped off a flight), service is usually airport-to-airport

 

Freight Forwarder/Consolidator

These companies will move shipments for many exporters and used the combined volume to secure a very aggressive rate, which they then share with their customers (they make a profit in the process).  They also develop long lasting relationships with the airlines and many times receive preferential boarding privileges.

Pros:  cost effective, personal service, service flexibility

Cons:  shipment control, boarding control, minimal tracking capabilities

 

Ocean shipments: Full Container Load (FCL) and Less than Container Load (LCL)

Moving your shipments via ocean is a low cost method of transportation.  It is also one of the slowest methods of transportation.

Pros: Low cost, offer full and LCL service, multiple service options, various delivery/speed to market times

Cons:  transit time, control (cannot change options once delivered), minimal tracking (not door-to-door)

 

Although there is no one correct way to transport your shipments internationally, there is a best way to move every specific shipment.  The best way is determined by the shipment itself and the needs of the product, importer, speed and cost (among other considerations).  All of these considerations become very clear and easy to identify once you and your buyer begin to do business.  Considering the transportation methods available for your shipment as you work with your customer will help you grow your business globally.

Although there is no one correct way to transport your shipments internationally, there is a best way to move every specific shipment.  The best way is determined by the shipment itself and the needs of the product, importer, speed and cost (among other considerations).  All of these considerations become very clear and easy to identify once you and your buyer begin to do business.  Considering the transportation methods available for your shipment as you work with your customer will help you grow your business globally.

Please continue to visit our site. We will have specific information on growing your business, eliminating the stumbling blocks and helping you make more money. We will cover documentation requirements, terms of sale, transportation options as well as market focus. Our goal is to have you exporting and growing your business. We look forward to working with you and thank you in advance for joining our community and for sharing with us your success as you prove that “The world is your customer.”

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