How to Choose an International Shipping Carrier

There are many things to consider when choosing which international shipping carrier you are going to use.

There are various international freight shipping services available with and each brings different features to the table. Price can be your starting point, but container freight rates can depend on the freight forwarding company that you are using just as much as quantities and commodity.

If you get an international shipping quote on your own, and bring it to your freight forwarder, you will be able to compare with their rates and then consider other services before deciding how to ship. You will also want to see which carrier best suits your needs regarding your commodity. For instance, if you are shipping fruit, you will need speed of service and special considerations on the ship. If you are shipping cars, you will need a carrier with good ro-ro service. If you are shipping used clothing, you may just need the best price available.

If you have never shipped before, consult your freight forwarder on these choices. They will not only be able to steer you in the right direction, but they may have some suggestions that will be helpful. Maybe there is a shipper’s association you can join and benefit from their shipping contracts. There are several across many industries from retails and footwear to fruits and vegetables to electronics and so many other commodities.

If you can find one of these shipper’s associations that relates to your commodity, it could save on your freight shipping rates for every container you ship, especially if you are shipping from a popular import area. You may also be able to create a contract based on your own quantities.

This is important to remember as you grow your business. The more containers you ship, the more of a discount they can offer you.

If you are a seasoned shipper, just stay organized and keeps notes of which carriers are working well for you.

Sometimes it will work in your favor to use different carriers, but more often than not, your quantity will be the only way to get the best international shipping rates possible. Also, do not be afraid to switch if you find that your carrier is not doing everything as promised. If their transit time is supposed to be 20 days and they are consistently 22 days, it may be time to switch. Loyalty is only going to work in your favor if you are a very large company and shipped with them a very long time. Generally speaking most carriers will address your concerns, but will not fight for your business out of loyalty. Remember all shipping is related to business and business is related to money. If there service, or lack thereof is affecting your bottom line, it may be time to switch.

Ultimately, choosing a carrier is basically up to you and what you are looking for as an individual shipper. You are the only one who will be able to decide what is best for your business and your needs as a shipper. If you look at the different variables and what is most important to your company whether rates, transit times, or customer service, you can find a carrier that will suit your needs.

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