Option #1: Air Freight
Air freight offers you two main advantages over ocean freight: faster speed and less handling of your goods.
However, that speed does come at a price. Air freight is generally more expensive than ocean freight. That being said, within air freight, you’ll have a range of service levels to choose from. They range from the fastest speeds (and highest costs) of chartering a dedicated flight, all the way to the more cost-effective air freight consolidation. When the speed and handling of your goods are a consideration, air freight is your best option. However, if you’re looking at cost reduction, you’ll likely want to consider the second option.
Option #2: Ocean Freight
Ocean freight is certainly the more budget-friendly option for moving goods internationally. However, at the end of the day, planes are simply faster than boats, so it will take longer to move your goods. Additionally, ocean freight is also subject to sailing schedules, meaning that you may need to wait a day or two to get your goods on a boat sailing to your destination. Ocean freight offers you two options, based on how much you want to transport:
FCL: A full container load, usually best for larger loads. However, with high-value shipments, many shippers choose the FCL option so their goods get their own, dedicated container for maximum protection.
LCL: A less-than-container load. Freight forwarders consolidate LCLs to create a full load, which can result in extra cost saving for you.
- Decide what matters more to you: speed or cost.
- Call your freight forwarder and get a quote.
- Keep an open mind! Depending on your shipment, a consolidated air freight shipment might fit in your budget, or you might get a great LCL rate for ocean freight. That’s what makes a good relationship with a forwarder so valuable.
Contact RIV Worldwide: Initiate communication via their website, email, or phone. Share shipment details like origin, destination, dimensions, weight, and any special requirements.
Receive a Quote: RIV Worldwide will provide a detailed freight quote based on your shipment's specifics. Review the quote's breakdown of services and costs.
Confirm Booking: If satisfied, confirm your booking with RIV Worldwide. They'll guide you through necessary paperwork and agreements.
Documentation: Prepare essential documents like a bill of lading, packing list, and customs forms for international shipments.
Arrange Pickup: Coordinate pickup details with RIV Worldwide. Follow their instructions to ensure proper packaging and readiness.
Tracking and Updates: RIV Worldwide will furnish tracking details, enabling you to monitor shipment progress. Expect communication regarding milestones.
Customs : For international shipments, RIV Worldwide will handle customs processes, ensuring compliance.
Delivery and Confirmation: When the shipment arrives, oversee delivery, inspect the cargo's condition, sign receipts, and address payments if necessary.
Feedback: After delivery, share feedback to help enhance RIV Worldwide's services.
By collaborating closely with RIV Worldwide, you can streamline your freight shipment process effectively.
When you’re shipping internationally, you will need additional documentation in order to ensure that your shipment passes through export and import procedures smoothly. A good freight forwarder will help you ensure you have all the documentation you need, but, in general, you’ll want to be prepared to produce:
Commercial Invoice. An invoice that states the commercial price and the cost of freight, insurance, packing and other miscellaneous charges. This may also be referred to as a “pro forma invoice.”
Certificate of Origin. Some countries require this documentation in order to identify in which country the goods were manufactured. Customs generally uses this document to enforce embargoes or calculate tariffs and duties.
Packing List. This is simply a detailed inventory of items contained in a shipment. Although it’s often optional, it can facilitate inspection by customs and help buyers and shippers account for goods shipped.
Material Safety Data Sheet / Hazardous Goods Form. If you’re moving potentially hazardous products via ocean freight or air freight, you’ll need one of these forms for documentation.
Fumigation Certificate. If you’re using wooden packing materials, such as in a pallet, you may be required to provide this documentation, sometimes known as a “pest control certificate.”
When it comes to international freight, there are three you need to be aware of before signing a contract to ship goods internationally:
Hazardous Materials: Double-check that any potentially hazardous materials are able to be moved by air or ocean cargo to your destination. Even if they are allowed, there will be significant restrictions and fees imposed on hazardous, so you’ll want to review the hazmat guidelines for air travel and ocean freight before committing to a purchase.
Copyright and trademark infringement. Some countries take these violations more seriously than others. If you’re importing goods into a country with stiff rules and penalties, you could find yourself in a tough situation. Do your research beforehand to make sure any items you import don’t potentially violate any of the trademark and copyright holder’s rights.
Customs Regulations and Fees. Know the associated import/export restrictions as well as any associated fees. Keep in mind that even items as seemingly innocuous as cosmetics may require inspection upon arrival. Doing your research up front will save you time and money in the long run.
Other than the fact that you may need to produce a fumigation certificate, international freight doesn’t have specific packing requirements per se.
However, because international cargo is often traveling farther than domestic cargo, it will be subject to more handling. To ensure your cargo arrives damage-free, make sure you’re following best practices for packaging.
Many air freight and ocean freight carriers offer a minimal type of coverage, called carrier liability. Generally, this coverage is offered per pound or per item. However, you should know that it’s often not enough to cover the replacement value of your item.
For example, let’s say you’re shipping a 1,000-pound solar panel, worth $1,200,000. If it’s damaged in transit, carrier liability will likely only pay out a fraction of this total value.
But on the other hand, if you always turn down insurance at the car rental booth, you should still consider dedicated air cargo or marine cargo insurance. Think of it this way: If you’re shipping an entire month of inventory and it gets damaged, that loss could have a disastrous effect on your business and its bottom line.
Talk to RIV Worldwide to understand your carrier’s exact liability—and to get a quote for full replacement value coverage.