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The essentials of shipping your goods on time and on budget

Shipping your goods on time and on budget is critical to ensuring the success of your business. You probably don’t have the logistics capabilities of a giant like Amazon, so your business needs to figure out how to optimize shipping delivery time within a reasonable budget. 

When freight and delivery aren't appropriately priced into the cost of doing business, they can become an added cost. Importers that correctly plan to ship into overall business costs can prevent freight and delivery prices from becoming an issue. At the same time, improving fundamental importing and shipping processes will help to ensure that your goods arrive on time, keeping business moving and customers happy.

Fundamentals of on-time shipping

Correct paperwork and documentation

Correctly preparing your shipping and customs documents is one of the most effective things you can do to ensure the timely transit of your goods. Getting the details wrong on shipping labels, import documents, or permits and licenses can create significant delays. Requirements can vary greatly for shipping different types of goods, so check with Customs, shippers, or brokers to make sure you understand the documentation you need – especially if you’re shipping a product for the first time.

Inventory tracking and visibility

You can use a variety of apps and systems to maintain visibility of your inventory as your goods move from one location to the next. Tracking your inventory gives you information you can use to solve potential issues before they create significant delays. The data provided by these systems can also reveal improvements that you can implement to shipping processes.

Planning ahead as much as possible

Last-minute shipping during major holidays, such as Christmas and Golden Week, will greatly increase the challenge of on-time shipping. When possible, importers should plan shipments ahead of time and include a bit of a cushion. If the unexpected happens, you’ll have a bit more time to consider alternative shipping solutions.

Leveraging warehouses and vendor partners

Why ship long distances if you don’t have to? Warehousing services and product vendors can give you the option of moving goods over shorter distances, reducing the time required to ship your inventory to various locations.

Freight Shipping Time

3 essentials for shipping on budget

Shipping can be a substantial expense for businesses of all sizes. Shipping costs can shift rapidly due to a constantly changing business landscape that’s affected by issues such as volatile energy costs, geopolitical conflict, and global economic challenges. Importers can reduce shipping budgets in a variety of ways, starting with a few fundamentals.

1. Plan to use less costly modes of transport

Ocean freight is responsible for moving around 90% of all good involved in global trade, making it one of the most cost-effective shipping methods. On the opposite end of the spectrum, air freight is the quickest way to move goods, but costs more than ocean, road, and rail transportation. Planning multi-modal shipments in advance, an essential of on-time delivery, also lets you select less costly modes of transportation.

2. Full truckload (FTL) vs. less-than-truckload (LTL)

Whenever possible, arrange to move your goods in full truckload (FTL) shipments. If time allows, you can hold onto smaller shipments and consolidate them until you have enough for a FTL. Less-than-truckload (LTL) shipments are typically higher cost. One way that companies with less freight can take advantage of FTL is to consolidate loads with other firms – even competitors – when moving products to the same customers and locations.

3. Accurate tariff classification and origin of goods

Accurate import documents are a legal requirement for importing goods, but they’re also vital to ensure that you avoid paying more duties and taxes than required. Depending on the tariff classification and the origin of your goods, you could qualify for reduced taxes or benefits outlined in a free trade agreement.

Cole understands the importance of your goods shipping on time and on budget. Working with an experienced customs broker can help to reveal opportunities to reduce the cost of duties, tariffs, and taxes on imported goods - or avoid them in the first place. Contact us to learn more.

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