Thinking of getting started in the importing business? There are a lot of things to consider when deciding to enter the world of imports. Part one of our article started out by giving you some details on picking suppliers and forwarding agents. Part two takes a closer look at other steps to consider when importing cargo.
Understand the Details
While having an agent can be a huge help, remember that you are the one responsible for knowing all the costs and fees that you are going to incur. You need to do research to understand where all of your shipping costs are going to be coming from. You also need to understand what an agent is charging you for.
Reliable agents will break down all of their costs up front, including any additional fees that might be charged for additional services that might crop up. Check their schedule to see when your cargo is going to be released and when you are going to have to pay for their services.
Any agents who aren’t willing to breakdown all of their costs to you are probably not agents you want to be doing business with. Remember to protect yourself.
Understand the Players
An import has several moving parts. Knowing who is serving what role will help you to understand what parts of your import are going to be handled by whom.
- Shipping Line
These are the people who will be carrying your cargo. They own the ships and have contacts in the ports. They should have representatives in your destination city that you can contact for shipping details.
- Customs Clearing Agent
These are the folks that will ensure that your cargo clears through customs. Their entire role will be determined by the scope of work you provided to them when you retained their services.
- Freight Forwarding Agent
Sometimes you can avoid using a customs clearing agent by using a forwarding agent. A freight forwarder can sometimes operate as a clearing agent, as well as being able to set up the unloading and deliver the cargo to your warehouse or other destination.
Insure your Shipment
Moving large amounts of cargo a long distance always has risk involved. The best way to mitigate risk is to insure. There are several reputable cargo insurers that you can use to mitigate any shipping losses you might experience.
Along with getting your insurance policy, make sure that you have all of the accompanying documentation. These documents are essential should any losses or damage happen and you need to recoup your costs. Your broker should provide the original documentation to you along with a list of everything that is covered.
Bill of Lading
This is the document that shows just what was shipped to you. You should have the original bill, as well as copies of the papers that were filed with customs, port authorities and any other items like Certificates of Origin.
Cratex Group are experts at handling imported cargo. Contact us for transloading and other importing related services today!