When preparing for Export Documentation and Export Shipping, the exporter needs to be aware of packing, labeling, documentation, and insurance requirements. Because the goods are being shipped by unknown carriers to distant customers, the new exporter must be sure to follow all shipping requirements to help ensure that the merchandise is
• packed correctly so that it arrives in good condition;
• labeled correctly to ensure that the goods are handled properly and arrive on time and at the right place;
• documented correctly to meet local and foreign government requirements as well as proper collection standards; and
• insured against damage, loss, and pilferage and, in some cases, delay.
Because of the variety of considerations involved in the physical Export Documentation and Export Shipping process, most exporters, both new and experienced, rely on an international freight forwarder to perform these services.
The international freight forwarder acts as an agent for the exporter in moving cargo to the overseas destination. These agents are familiar with the import rules and regulations of foreign countries, methods of shipping, government export regulations, and the documents connected with foreign trade.
Freight forwarders can assist with an order from the start by advising the exporter of the freight costs, port charges, consular fees, cost of special documentation, and insurance costs as well as their handling fees - all of which help in preparing price quotations. Freight forwarders may also recommend the type of packing for best protecting the merchandise in transit; they can arrange to have the merchandise packed at the port or containerized. The cost for their services is a legitimate export cost that should be figured into the price charged to the customer.
When the order is ready to ship, freight forwarders should be able to review the letter of credit, commercial invoices, packing list, and so on to ensure that everything is in order. They can also reserve the necessary space on board an ocean vessel, if the exporter desires.If the cargo arrives at the port of export and the exporter has not already done so, freight forwarders may make the necessary arrangements with customs brokers to ensure that the goods comply with customs export documentation regulations. In addition, they may have the goods delivered to the carrier in time for loading. They may also prepare the bill of lading and any special required documentation. After shipment, they forward all documents directly to the customer or to the paying bank if desired.