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Explain the process of transporting import and export goods

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Nov 4, 2021
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The freight process includes 5 steps of freight and 2 steps related to shipping documents. Understanding the processes is essential. In particular, each step in the process involves costs. Therefore, it is important to have a clear agreement between the two parties about the responsibility of the shipment. Who will be responsible for what stages of the shipping process?


Therefore, understanding the process is the first step for importers and exporters to manage the freight process effectively.

Transporting export goods (Export Haulage)

The movement of goods from the seller's premises to the warehouse of the Forwarders in the exporting country is known as export freight operations. Usually use means of transport such as trucks or a combination of trucks and trains. Usually it takes a few hours to a few weeks to ship the export goods. Depends on distance and geography.

Responsibility for allocating and paying for export transport costs rests with the seller and the buyer. If the agreement is that the buyer is responsible for the goods as soon as the goods are ready for shipping. It is the buyer's responsibility to arrange the shipping of the goods. If the agreement between the two parties is that the buyer will be responsible at any point in the shipping process, the responsibility of the seller is to manage and pay for the export transport.

For Incoterms . terms

For Incoterms such as EXW and FCA, the freight for export is the responsibility of the buyer.

If it is your responsibility to arrange the transportation of the goods. And the freight forwarder does not provide this service, you can manage the transportation arrangements yourself. Or purchase the solution from a local shipping company. Arrange export freight with a local shipping company. Or choosing to do the transportation work yourself is often only possible when you have knowledge and experience in the local market.

Export clearance

Export clearance is required by the authorities in the exporting country for the purpose of registration and notification that the consignment is leaving. Clearance for exports is carried out through a licensed Customs broker. And the requirements for customs clearance documents detailing the goods and other supporting documents. These documents may vary from country to country. But the Freight Forwarder will be the one to confirm for you what documents are required. It is necessary to determine in advance who will be responsible for the Customs clearance between the buyer and the seller.

For export clearance, the seller will normally be responsible and will appoint an international carrier directly. Or nominate a customs broker to do the job. However, in some practical situations, sometimes the buyer is responsible for the customs clearance of the goods. But unless the buyer already has local experience or the main export market is his familiar market, it usually makes more sense to appoint a forwarder to carry out the customs clearance process. Alternatively, the buyer can ask the seller to arrange export customs clearance.

Goods handling at the port of departure

Cargo handling at the port of departure is a set of activities performed by freight forwarders and their agents. Starting from receiving the goods when the goods are unloaded from the truck at the loading area. Where the goods will be checked and counted. The goods are verified based on the order information and the forwarder's cargo receipt (Booking and Forwarder's cargo receipt) to provide the exporter with documents showing the commitment that the goods have been received and prepared for shipping.

Cargo handling at the port of departure of an LCL . shipment

The shipment will then be stored at the local warehouse until the consignment service consolidates the shipment. For other shipments with the same destination port to load into the container.

A few days before the ship's departure, the shipments are loaded into the carrier's container, and the container is transported by truck to the port. At the port, containers are stacked with other containers. Finally loaded onto the ship when the vessel is ready in port.


The Freight Forwarder is always the contact person for the international carrier who is responsible for handling the cargo at the port of departure. However, payment for the shipment may be made by the shipper or consignee. Subject to the form agreed between the two parties.

If the goods have been sold on EXW or FCA terms, payment for origin handling is usually the responsibility of the consignee. If the goods are sold FOB, CNF/CIF or DDU, handling of the goods at the port of departure is normally the responsibility of the shipper. If the port of departure charge is not included with the sea freight, it is usually charged at the time of receipt and must be settled prior to loading at the port of departure.

Sea freight rates

Shipping lines often offer sea freight rates in shipping contracts with Freight Forwarders companies. Containers can be transported by many different passenger ships using the Transshipment service at many different ports. The House Bill of Lading issued by Freight Forwarders can clearly indicate the vessel on which the shipment is intended to be loaded for carriage. This is talking about first leg transportation, not necessarily a ship that has to transport the shipment from the point of origin to the final destination.

Container transport ship.jpg

Buyers and sellers do not need to know information about the name of the vessel on which their goods are prepared to be loaded while using LCL services. But if you want to find out, you can go to the shipping company's website.

The shipping lines collect ocean freight charges and related surcharges directly from the Freight Forwarders companies. These Freight Forwarders companies then decompose the cost structure. Based on that and the ratio of goods to the container's capacity, Freight Forwarders can offer a price list to customers. When evaluating freight from Freight Forwarders, make sure all surcharges and other costs are included.

Import clearance

The competent authorities in the destination country require import clearance for all goods imported into their territories. It is a declaration of goods type and value, used to register and apply any costs that may arise. Import clearance is the process of preparing and submitting declarations and documents required by Customs. Unlike customs duty, which is a tax levied on imported goods, it is usually paid directly by the buyer to the customs or tax authorities.

The import clearance process can often begin before the goods arrive at their destination, and should be completed before the goods are imported into the country. Goods are considered entry into the country when crossing the border and bonded area.

Procedures for customs clearance of goods

A Freight Forwarder, a designated customs agent or broker can clear imported goods, provided they have a valid license. In addition to carrying out the import clearance, you will have to receive all the necessary documents to start the customs clearance process. Usually this process can be started with scanned copies of documents, but some authorities require originals before they can complete the process. You should check with your Freight Forwarder or customs broker to find out exactly what documents are required.

Unless the goods are sold under the Incoterms DDP, the buyer must arrange and pay for the customs clearance of the imported goods. Often it is easiest to nominate Freight Forwarders or a freight forwarder's agent at the destination to clear customs as they will have all the necessary documentation. If they do not offer this service, they will be able to recommend a customs broker who can help.

Cargo handling at the port of destination

Port of destination handling is a series of activities performed by Freight Forwarders' destination office. It begins with receiving documents from the agents of the forwarders in the exporting country, checking the documents and submitting the original B/L to the shipping line. The container will then arrive at the port and be transported to a warehouse in the importing country, where the goods will be unloaded and re-inspected and sorted. After that, continue shipping to the consignee's premises.

Forwarders and their agents are always responsible for the fulfillment of the cargo at the destination. The reason is that they are the only one who can collect the containers from the port.

The shipper or consignee paying will be responsible for payment at the destination. If the terms of trade are DDU or DDP, the seller is responsible for paying all costs associated with bringing the goods to the buyer's premises. Including delivery at the destination. For other trade terms, such as EXW, FCA, FOB or CNF/CIF, the consignee will be responsible for handling the goods at point. If destination shipping is paid for by the same buyer, sea freight will be paid at the same time, or may be charged at any time before the goods are shipped from the destination warehouse.

Import Haulage

The movement of goods from the import warehouse to the receiving address and final destination of the goods is called import shipment. Usually using trucks or a combination of trucks and trains. And it can take from a few hours to days, depending on distance and geography.

Transportation of imported goods can be done by forwarders whether it is international freight by sea. Or from a local trucking company. In addition, the buyer can decide to collect the goods directly at the destination warehouse and save on import costs. If import forwarders carry out the transport of imports, they will either use their own truck or by using a third-party ocean freight company. Therefore, buyers cannot always expect to see a representative from the forwarder upon delivery at their premises.

Imported cargo can be shipped via multiple hubs, where the forwarder optimizes payload for better efficient distribution. Some Forwarders keep track of all these activities. But what is important is the agreement on when the goods will be delivered, not the route.


Unless the terms of trade are DDU/DDP, the importation of the goods will normally be the buyer's responsibility. Sometimes it can be a benefit to use forwarders to ship imports. In that case the shipment will simply be home delivery, and the Forwarders will be responsible for all shipping to the buyer's door. Note in this case, customs duties still need to be addressed separately to Forwarders to complete the importation.

If Forwarders are unable to bring in imports, there are often many choices in the domestic market. Agents of Forwarders can recommend trucking companies. Or the buyer may already have experience with certain suppliers. If not, consider placing an online transport company, which already has a lot of experience and network in the local market.

By transporteca.co.uk
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