Whether you’re an experienced importer/exporter or a newbie to international trade, the journey of each shipment can differ greatly, depending on external factors such as the weather or varying international public holidays. However, many factors are within our control. By following the tips in our handy guide, you can ensure you’ve done everything you can to make it as smooth a ride as possible.

USE A GOOD FREIGHT FORWARDER

This might seem like we’re stating the obvious, but searching for the right freight forwarder that works well for your business is no easy task! Flexibility, reliability, professional accreditations and above all, communication, are all important to consider when deciding on who to trust your goods with. Check out our guide to choosing the right freight forwarder here.

DECLARE FULL DETAILS OF CARGO AT TIME OF QUOTATION

Your freight forwarder will always try to be as flexible as possible to meet the needs of their customer. They are aware that things are always subject to unexpected changes, but its important for you to understand that changes will have knock on effects. Ensure full weights and sizes declared are correct. If the details of your cargo changes after you’ve received your quotation, speak to your forwarder as soon as possible to see how this affects your booking. Its not just the price which may be affected, any changes may affect the type of vehicle for your goods, as well as documentation which may need to be amended.

ADVISE OF ANY SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS

This covers a whole host of potential issues which may arise. The main requirement to consider is the type of vehicle you require. Euroliners, lowloaders, curtain siders, containers…the list goes on… Even if you know your tautliner from your flatbed to match the cargo to the specific vehicle, remember to notify your forwarder of any access limitations at the delivery/collection site, as this will also affect the type of vehicle used. Depending on the location, drivers may also need to have specialist training, such as the FORS accreditation.

ENSURE GOODS SUITABLY PACKED FOR EXPORT

This is something your forwarder may be able to deal with. Depending on the nature of your cargo, ensure your goods are packed to withstand numerous loading and unloading. Consider options such as ISPM or non- heat treated, moisture/corrosion control, or Polythene lined packing.

ADVISE ANY TIME FRAMES FOR COLLECTIONS/SHIPPING/DELIVERIES

Freight forwarders are good, but unfortunately not good enough to read minds, so if you have a deadline, don’t forget to share this from the outset. If you’re on a tight schedule, they’ll be able to tell you if its unrealistic, or will pull out all the stops to make it happen.

It’s clear that communication with your freight forwarder is the key to a smooth sailing shipping process. Taking the above points into consideration, you’ll be taking proactive preventative measures to ensure a smooth process. With this taken care of, you’ll be free to concentrate on other areas of your business.

KMB Shipping has 30 years’ experience in delivering our full range of shipping services to over 70 different countries, to a growing international client list. As members of BIFA, we offer a flexible and fully tailored service, managing the whole shipping process for you from initial phone call to safe delivery, including export packing services. Contact our professional, friendly and highly experienced team today to discuss how we can accommodate your shipping requirements.