If you’re a new business owner who’s never before had goods produced overseas, it can be daunting figuring out how to get your inventory from the factory to your door or warehouse. Buying large amounts of inventory isn’t the same as having the post office deliver a package: you need a freight management service and delivery. If you’ve contacted various logistics companies, you may have been told your shipment was too small. What you and many of our clients really need in this situation is a freight forwarder.
What is Freight Forwarding?
Freight forwarding groups your small shipment with similarly sized shipments at a consolidated warehouse near the origin. The container is stripped and the goods pass through customs after the ship docks. Your goods are then delivered by truck to your retail store, warehouse, or residence if you have a home-based business.
How Large is Your Shipment?
Standard ocean containers typically come in 20′ and 40′ sizes. If you ordered just one or two pallets of goods, your import won’t come close to filling a container so ocean freight forwarding will be a more cost-effective option than air freight through a private carrier. Your LCL (lighter than container load) shipment will be grouped with others, whereas FCL (full container load) is all yours.
However, if you’re importing very small items such as fashion jewelry or phone accessories where a few thousand units would easily fit into a large box or two and not need to be palletized, a freight forwarder isn’t likely to be cost-effective. You are better off using a private carrier since relatively small boxes that are not palletized are likely to get lost or damaged in grouped LCL imports.
Do You Have a Shipping/Receiving Department?
If you do not use a freight forwarder or have a receiving department, then you will have to arrange each aspect of your import logistics yourself:
- Transport from the factory to warehouse or port
- Loading of goods onto ocean liner
- Customs document preparation
- Container stripping
- Truck freight from port to door
The fees for each of these steps depends on the weight and value of your imported goods, as well as the distance. The farther away your destination is from the port, the more expensive your truck freight will be. Additional fees typically apply for inside delivery as well, along with special handling of fragile goods.
Larger businesses with in-house shipping departments who are paid to orchestrate each step of the import process might not find it effective to use a forwarder. For small businesses that lack the resources for arranging imports in-house, freight forwarding saves a great deal of time and stress so that owners can focus on growing the business.
World Trade Distribution offers a full range of LCL and FCL import options for businesses of all sizes, and we receive all shipments at the port of Houston and conduct all relevant inspections at our world-class facility. We even offer tracking for your LCL shipments. Please contact us at (713) 672-7295 to manage and arrange your freight delivery today.