Ten things to consider when booking an FCL shipment

The article aims to provide information for people interested in importing goods using total container load shipments. The following is intended to list things that need to be considered before undertaking such an import.

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Consider Customs Brokers Carefully

One should only work with their own customs broker, who has access to electronic systems on which customs declarations can be made and may have clearance applications submitted electronically at sites like fclcars.com and fwponline.gov (in the US).

Carriers and Ports

The choice of carrier is typically driven by customer service required for a shipment and transit time desired from origin to destination(s) via different carriers’ routes, which may require transiting some geographic areas more than others.

In some cases, certain carriers may have exclusive rights on specific trade lanes between a given origin and destination points. The decision on which carrier to use should consider all available options in light of any service level commitments being made to the customer.

Container Shipping

The FCL container shipping process can vary depending on the service level agreement. The more premium services may provide dedicated vessels and specific routes for a given customer. In contrast, economy class services may not guarantee either or both, but do offer it as an option for cost for value-conscious customers that are willing to wait longer transit times.

Freight Forwarders

Larger freight forwarders typically have established relationships with major carriers that can provide access to economies of scale that smaller companies may not contend with directly. As such, freight forwarders can offer competitive rates for complete services.

Larger forwarders may also have better coverage in terms of geographic networks, offering more options when selecting a carrier, port or transit path. However, larger FC forwarder s may not be agile enough to deal with changes on the fly if they involve routes outside their network areas.

Transportation Insurance

Transportation insurance is not typically included in prices and is typically paid for by the importer (at least in most cases). Suitable insurance must be included in any service levels agreement or transportation agreements – FCL TSA and FCL TSA mk2, respectively.

FCL insurances are critical protection elements against lost shipments, cargo damage, transit delays, and other perils faced during transport.

Check all Documentation Thoroughly – FCL Certification Requirements

Check all FCL certifications before shipment departure to ensure no irregularities or discrepancies between documents and shipping instructions. It is essential for shipments where certification is needed, with the FCL certificate of origin and inspection certificates as examples.

Guide to FCL Transport

The guide to FCL transport covers the basics of figuring out what goes into a transportation service agreement:

  • how much space is needed in a custom container;
  • how many containers it will fit;
  • standard dimensions used for transporting full container loads by sea, truck and rail; examples of full container load sizes;
  • tare weights used to calculate volume/weight combinations for FCL shipments, etc.

FCL Container Destination

Ensure shipping instructions include container destination as carriers will require this information to schedule schedules. Also, ensure FCL containers are correctly labelled with container markings and FCL barcodes for easy identification.

Reliability of FCL Carrier

A reliable FCL carrier with a good reputation for on-time deliveries and handling is essential, especially if customers need shipments on a deadline basis. If these criteria are not met, it may result in high additional costs unanticipated at the outset of any service levels agreement negotiations.

Have a Contingency Plan for All Eventualities – FCL Import Documentation

In FCL international trade, FCL shipments are just as standard as FCL export shipments. In lading, importing and ocean freight forwarding is as crucial as exporting services. Ensure that FCL documentation for importers avoids unnecessary delays and costs associated with any missing or incomplete information.

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