Three easy ways to reduce international transport & shipping costs when importing / exporting.

#1 Get multiple quotes for any project or job

Many businesses enforce a three quote (minimum) policy when requesting shipping rates but many do not. If you are one of those businesses who does not then start now. This will ensure that you know what rates are out there in the market and who is competitive.

One reason many businesses don’t practice this is that they are short on time. However, requesting shipping rates doesn’t need to be a time-consuming process. Setup template emails – with templates you can easily get three, or more, quote requests away in a matter of minutes. If your cargo is generally always the same size you may even be able to achieve three, or more, quote requests in a matter of seconds.

#2 Shop around for cargo insurance

Your freight supplier may offer cargo insurance as an additional service. Depending on the value of your cargo this may not be a significant amount if you are looking at it per shipment. However, just like freight rates, there will be a range of different rates in the market.

To use a real world example This Way Up recently facilitated cargo insurance arrangements for a customer moving regular shipments. This customer was paying in the vicinity of GBP £220 for insurance, per shipment of their goods, from the United Kingdom to Canada. A quick inquiry to a local insurance broker found that, for just over twice as much, this customer could get themselves an annual policy to cover unlimited shipments in the following twelve month period.

#3 Audit your invoices

Shipping invoices are increasingly complex, particularly if you ship internationally. This Way up recently assisted in a one-off movement of manufactured goods from Australia to New Zealand. The invoice for this job contained eight different variable charges and seven fixed charges. In another project from the United Kingdom to Senegal, West Africa the number of charges almost doubled. So mistakes are common given the human element that is often involved in order to produce an invoice containing all these charges.

Common errors we noted include failing to apply a company discount code, the good old typo (think entering a 41.00 instead of a 14.00), miscalculation of variable charges and the best one…entering charges that were never even included in the original quote.

Another common mistake, some of our customers have encountered, on smaller packages sent via international courier is being billed for a residential delivery when the package went to a business address or being billing a remote pickup fee when the goods were collected from a CBD address in a major city.