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Freight and Logistics

When exporting goods, transporting your product to an overseas market efficiently and competitively is vital. Using a high quality freight forwarder is very important, these companies are expert in documentation, freight rate negotiations and finding the most economical way to get your product to the buyer. It is also essential to understand the basics of shipping terms, pricing and documentation.

Depending on your product, it may be suited only for ocean shipping or for airfreight. It is necessary to understand the basic principles of both sea and air cargo as rates can vary when new capacity is offered on trade routes and when new markets are serviced, often with a range of intermodal services.

Sea and airfreight have a well-ordered series of conventions and these need careful study. A good starting point is to learn what are known as INCO terms (International Commercial Terms). Introduced in 1936 and modified since, INCO terms are critical for the consignment and payment of goods shipped internationally, and have precise definitions.

Export documents require careful preparation to avoid delays in customs clearance at their port of discharge and also to comply with documentary letters of credit that specify conditions such as precise product descriptions, packing lists and attestations including quarantine certificates and certificates of origin. Electronic documentation has made a complex process much easier, but mistakes can be costly. It is imperative to understand the export documentation process and to ensure that the preparation of documentation is carried out with meticulous accuracy.

Finding a freight forwarder
See the websites below for listings of freight forwarding companies. For more information email info@austrade.gov.au.

An Export Adviser can help you build and consolidate your export know-how.

Useful websites

Where do I start to learn about shipping?

The Australian Freight Councils Network - Provides references to state and territory-based freight organisations covering both air and sea cargo. Check the websites of members for information on services.

The Australian Trade and Shipping Provides useful background information, as well as data on the company's services.

The Logistics Association of Australia Provides some useful background on logistics.

What do all these shipping terms mean?

Australian Export Online You will find an excellent explanation and a tutorial on Incoterms at this website.

International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Has a detailed review of Incoterms.

How do I negotiate the best freight rate for my cargo?

Cargo Log Offers to send your enquiry to a group of selected freight forwarders for a quotation.

Isn't export documentation complex?

The Australian Institute of Export AIEX provides hands-on training in export practice.

Finding a freight forwarder

Australian Export Online Has a listing of freight forwarders.

Sensis Australia Sensis provides access to a range of databases, including the Yellow Pages, which lists about 1000 freight forwarding companies, many of them offering international services.

Tradegate The site has details on a range of export transportation services.

For further information please go to http://www.austrade.gov.au/Freight-and-logistics/default.aspx

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