Best Ocean Freight Practices
Have your paperwork handy
You will generally need to provide the following information just to initiate a quote and move forward:
- Commercial Invoice
- Packing List
- Location of Supplier and Final Destination (ie the Amazon warehouse or the storage warehouse you are sending to)
- Size and weight of goods being shipped
- Terms (FOB, EXW, etc.)
You will want to gather various shipping quotes from different companies to get an idea of costs, the services offered, and who you work well with. If you can gather the information mentioned above (commercial invoice, packing list, supplier and destination info) beforehand and have it readily accessible, it can accelerate the time it takes to gather quotes and compare providers. There is no doubt that the adage is still true, TIME IS MONEY. Save time wherever you can!
Write down your Details
You will need to supply how your product is packed (as in pallets, individual boxes, comingled/mixed inventory, etc), how many boxes, and the size, weight, and quantity of the boxes.
Know About the Importer Security Filing (ISF)
As the importer, you are required to file some basic information before the cargo departs overseas and arrives in the US (this is strictly for imports into the US). If you don’t file this, file it inaccurately, or file it late, then you can enter a US Customs merry-go-round of fees, further inspections, seizure, etc.
Have An Importer of Record
Amazon will not be the importer of record for any shipment coming in from overseas. Your shipment will be rejected, incurring time delays, cost, and face palms.
Know The Hidden Costs
There are various costs associated with ocean freight that you may not know about. It is not that your freight forwarder or customs broker is cheating you, but moreso it is incumbent on you as the importer to know the small details.