Freight 101 Blog

5 Hacks to Help You Conquer International Freight

Freightos has compiled a list of five invaluable hacks to help you save time and money on your international shipments.

Dylan Sommer

Freightos and TaxJar teamed up to offer ten incredibly actionable freight and sales tax hacks in time to finalize your imports for the holiday season and for July’s tax deadline.

The 30-minute rapid-fire presentation can be viewed below. As a bonus, we’ve compiled our list of international freight hacks so you can refer to them in the future.

Hack #1 – Start Off On Good (Inco)Terms

Incoterms refer to the different contracts you can create with a supplier to determine how far along the shipping process they will ensure that the goods are moved and at what point you take over. The most common are EXW, FCA, and FOB.

Suppliers often take advantage of a lack of understanding of what incoterms are by providing attractive shipping rates that are later hit with dues like destination charges and brokerage fees upon delivery. Having a clear understanding of what incoterms mean can give you a better picture of how attractive your supplier’s shipping rates really are.

Hack #2 – Faster is Sometimes Cheaper

When considering their shipping options (ocean vs. air freight), most people generally don’t think of air freight as the cheaper option. But sometimes the fixed costs associated with ocean shipping can make air freight less expensive!

As an example, ocean freight is really good for delivering very heavy things, but if your shipment doesn’t meet the minimum weight requirements for making it worthwhile, you may find that you get a better rate by air.

Hack #3 – Know Your Paperwork

If there is one thing that people complain about most in freight, it’s the paperwork. But having a good understanding of the key freight documents required for all international shipments can save you time, money, and frustration.

Spending time filling out your paperwork correctly is an invaluable hack that the most successful shippers have down to a T.

Hack #4 – Reduce Transit Time with Your Amazon ‘Ship From’ Address

Paying close attention to your Amazon ‘ship from’ address can be extremely valuable since your shipping destination has major implications on your freight cost and transit time. You can optimize this by shipping to the FBA center that is the shortest distance from your supplier.

For example, if your inventory is coming in from China, you can save time and money if you send your goods to an FBA center on the West Coast, such as the Amazon Fulfillment Center in Moreno Valley, California (ONT6), instead of a fulfillment center in Chicago (MDW7). To make this happen, coordinate the delivery of your goods to a forwarder’s warehouse in Los Angeles which (would be the ‘Ship From’ address (and not your supplier’s China address!).

Hack #5 – Include a Multi-Day Buffer When Requesting a Freight Quote

Smooth shipping is all about planning. Many unforeseeable conditions, such as port congestion, can delay your shipment. Giving yourself some wiggle room with your pickup date can save you from the stress that comes with a tight shipping schedule. When coordinating a pickup date with your freight quote, a window of 7-10 days is much more practical than same-day.

A buffer can be especially valuable if you are delivering to Amazon FBA and want to avoid delay fees as a result of missing your delivery appointment.

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