Tips On Ocean Freight Shipping

Ocean Freight

Vital to keeping our global economy in motion. It is by far the most economical method of transporting vast volumes of goods around the world.  An astounding 90 percent of global trade travels by sea, with 50,000 international merchant ships from 150 countries, according to the International Chamber of Shipping. It can also be an overwhelming endeavor for the shipper as they navigate this terrain. Here are some tips to help make this shipping process as smooth as possible:


Ensure all documentation is prepared, accurate and legible to avoid costly delays and schedule disruption at your destination.  If freight is arriving in the US, for example, US Border Services requires a Bill of Landing. This is a legal document that entails a complete description of the goods entering the country. Along with this document, you must also show a commercial invoice and it must be consistent with the Bill of Landing information.  Inbound shipments also require a Certificate of Origin in order ascertain any duties that may be owed, and failure to provide this document can result in a steep financial penalty and may be refused entry.

Freight Forwarding

When preparing an ocean freight shipment, one critical component is organizing freight forwarding. This is the transport of product from warehouse to port, or vice versa. Your freight forwarder is responsible for the logistics surrounding this movement of goods to ensure safe delivery of your shipment according to schedule. Assess the mode of transportation you’ll require, any specific transport needs such as temperature-controlled storage, cargo volume, and other pertinent information before contacting the freight forwarder. This provider must be able to handle your type of shipment and needs. Check if they belong to associations and have the appropriate license in the specified country. Investigate their relationships carriers, if they have an up to date insurance policy and a breakdown of how they run their operations. Clear communication in writing and a full disclosure of expectations will help establish a productive working relationship.

Experts Can Help

A freight broker or a third party logistics company can offer much needed experience, a reliable network of contacts, and the resources to manage the minutia of details in the maritime shipping process. For instance, a broker is able to source the ocean freight carrier and track the shipment, facilitating ongoing communication with the client on delivery status, as well as overseeing the paperwork requirements at port of entry. Your logistics provider can also take on the important task of organizing freight forwarding logistics in North America, or abroad.