How to Avoid Costly Shipping Errors

By: Richard Taylor

If you are wholesaler or distributor of merchandise to other regions, your concern is to ship your products to your customers.

Shipping cargoes, whether domestic or international, is a complex subject that needs experience and thorough knowledge. It encompasses not only the actual freight charges but the related costs and shipping conditions that go with it. If you are not aware of these, you could end up losing a lot of money. Choosing the wrong method of transporting your merchandise could even matter much in terms of cost. Here are some tips that can help you avoid costly shipping errors:

1. Avoid making assumptions and guesstimates.

This is one of the biggest stumbling blocks in the system. First of all, you must identify your costs in relation to your shipping terms. There are shipping costs that are shouldered by the carrier, like the cost of bringing the cargoes from your supplier's warehouse to the ship. You must know what you're supposed to pay and what not to. From here, you should be able to get the exact costs involved in all of the shipping methods. This will enable you to make a choice based on a realistic comparison.

Another factor that can do you in when shipping cargoes is not asking the carrier the possibility of reduced freight charges for larger shipments. If you assume that the price per unit of cargo is the same regardless of the volume of shipment, you could lose a lot.

You should have a solid idea of the computed cost of freight before signing the shipping contract. Your concern now is to determine the urgency of the shipment, which can give you an idea which shipping method is the most viable for your cargo.

2. Be cautious with international shipping.

There are terms in international shipping which can be tricky. Take CFR (Cost and Freight) as an example. This option requires the shipper (you) to pay for the customs duties when the merchandise arrives at the destination port. This is an additional expense that can possibly make you lose a lot of money. But you can do away with this by negotiating for a DDP (Delivered Duty Paid) with your supplier. This shipping term makes the supplier responsible for the customs duties.

3. Double-check your figures.

As a matter of procedure, verifying figures before finalizing the shipping contract is a must in any business transaction including shipping. Errors in computation or even in typing can occur, and this can cost some money. These are errors that you can prevent by simply taking time to double-check your work.

4. Hire a professional.

Getting the services of a qualified customs broker or shipping specialist might sound expensive. But if you want to learn the twists and turns of international shipping, hiring one would be your best and shortest route, especially if you are engaged in the shipment of just a few types of merchandise. You also need to familiarize yourself with domestic and international shipping, including their terms and processes. This can help you to learn to calculate freight, use the right shipping method, and avoid mistakes which can cost you a lot of money.

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Richard Taylor has been a customs broker for an international freight services company for over 6 years. Many of his clients rely on his knowledge of freight forwarding and courier systems that employ automatic shipping price estimator. He's also built a strong network of business associates over the years. For information about Richard's favorite shipping specialist, you may check here.

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