There are lots of benefits for some businesses to import or export goods. Manufacturers and distributors can order directly from the overseas manufacturer and save money on their purchases. They can also market their goods to the world instead of just the USA. There is a demand for American products in many parts of the world, but smaller American companies don’t think they have the connections to offer their goods internationally. I recommend using freight forwarders instead of carriers because a good freight forwarder will shop several carriers to get you the best rate. With the right freight forwarder importing and exporting is as easy as sending a package via UPS.
First I will tell you what information you need to get a complete and accurate international freight quote. Then I will tell you how to ensure that the quote you are given matches the dollar amount on your freight invoice. To get a freight quote you need to provide: your billing address, the origin zip code/city, origin country, the destination zip code/city, destination country, method of transport (usually ocean freight or air cargo), destination and origin details (door to door, door to port, port to door or port to port), residential or business origin/destination if a lift gate is needed at the origin or destination, a description of the contents, Length, height and width of each pallet or box (unless you are shipping an entire ocean container), and the amount of insurance coverage if needed. This information will get you an accurate freight quote. If you accept the quote an agent of the freight forwarder will get the remaining details from you.
Follow these tips to protect yourself from misleading quotes. Make sure the quote is confirmed by a FAX/email. Verify that the fuel charge, customs clearance fees, customs brokerage fees, trucking fees (if applicable), insurance (if applicable), and transit time are included in the quote. The destination location usually pays the duties and taxes to their government.
Paul Buisson has been helping small businesses import and export for over three years. He specializes in helping start-up businesses and businesses that dont know anything about international freight. Recently he helped a small business with one employee win the bid for large military contract shipping items to Iraq.