Shipping 101 A Guide to Understanding Shipping Rules


The exchange of goods between countries goes on 24/7. With e-commerce growing rapidly, the demand for transportation has increased. International shipping has become as common as local shipping. Even small-scale businesses find themselves shipping internationally today. This article is our attempt at explaining shipping 101 as it will function as a short, to-the-point guide to understanding shipping rules. It is pretty simple. To understand shipping rules, you must understand all the different kinds of shipping.

Shipping 101 A Guide to Understanding Shipping Rules

Booking agents, shipping lines, freight forwarders, custom house brokers, and freight tracking company, there are a number of people involved in this game responsible for various kinds of shipping. Should your items be able to fit in standard shipping containers, and if it isn’t urgent, then you might be asked to pay extra for it to be airfreighted to you. If you are ordering locally, your items will be shipped speedily without any shipping charges.

Shipping lines are companies shipping your items, along with many others, and you are likely to never speak to them. You won’t get to see even the documentation passed between them and your seller. Forwarders provide logistics support to you directly. They arrange transportation moved from the shippers’ destination to that of their many consignees as shipping is carried out in batches. If you are a business owner, you must have, many times, received items shipped by a freight class 100 created by the National Motor Freight Traffic Association. For more information, head over to

We’ll now jump right into our shipping guide.

1) International Shipping: Steps and Documentation

The process of moving goods from shipper to consignee comprises five physical steps and two documents. Think of it as a waterfall; in order for it to go forward, a certain path must be followed, and there is no going back. Ensuring a clear agreement of who pays for each of the six steps will save everybody else involved the hassle of surprise payments. The six steps are Export Customs Clearance Origin Handling, Clearance of Import Customs, Ocean Freight, Destination Handling, and Import and Export Haulage

2) Origin Handling

This covers all of the physical bits, handling, and inspection of all items and cargo from being received to being put in a container. Origin handling comprises many steps wherein many parties are involved. Usually, the management and coordination of these steps fall upon the freight forwarder. The inspections are also called tallies, as the number of items is checked against a list. This follows the stuffing of the items into containers which are moved to the ports where they are to be loaded onto ships.

While the freight forwarder is the sole person responsible for handling this process, the shipper or consignee may pay for it irrespective of who the actual buyer is.

3) Export Haulage

This deals with the movement of cargo from the shipper’s end to the forwarder. From there, unless the load of the items doesn’t qualify for load shipments, the load is sent to an origin warehouse. The goods are moved around preferably by road (a truck mostly). Sometimes, transportation is done via rail, too. Freight forwarders are used, too, should the consignee be directly responsible. The process where the cargo is handled at the shipper’s is not really part of export haulage, just as the off-loading of cargo is not part of the overall process.

4) Export Customs Clearance

Customs formalities are in order should a shipment be ready to leave a country. The clearance is just a transaction that takes place to conform to regulatory requirements. A declaration is made, and all necessary documentation is sent over to relevant stakeholders. Let it be known that these transactions can be carried out only if the companies are in possession of valid licenses. Sometimes, licenses are a must, so customs house brokers cannot commit fraud.

Customs clearance can be carried out by licensed forwarders or forwarder-appointed agents. Customs house brokers can also carry clearance out if they are appointed directly to the shipper.

5) Ocean Freight

Later, forwarders choose a particular shipping line for ocean freighting cargo. They are contracted for all containers involved; in this case, the shippers or consignees are not directly subject to interactions with the shipping line, as previously mentioned. The shipping freight’s cost is charged, always to the shipper or consignee. These freights are never the entire cost of port-to-port shipping. There are, of course, several charges and sub-charges, like bunker adjustment factors and currency rates, that are passed to the shipper or consignees levied in the industry.

6) Destination Handling

Cargo handling is required as soon as it reaches the intended destination before individual items or those in batches can be sent out to their respective consignees. This involves the transfer of containers to land, later port where the forwarder’s warehouse is. Unstuffing is also carried out where containers are unloaded, and cargo and items are prepared to be shipped out for consignees to collect.

7) Import Haulage

Import haulage is the last leg of the entire transportation and delivery process. This is where people or businesses — whoever the consignee is — receive their items. If the shipper has arranged this part of the transportation, it will make a lot more sense for the use of a freight forwarder that can also arrange for import haulage. This haulage usually covers transportation up to a certain point, a specific address. However, the unloading of trucks is not the forwarder’s responsibility and lies solely in the hands of the consignee.

Also read: Benefits to Seller:- Shipping to Amazon FBA Rapid Express Freight

Shipping has become an even more important part of business operations today. Bringing yourself abreast with its basics will provide you with a clear-headedness that can, in the long run, help you with your cost structures and profit margins. That was it for our 101 on understanding shipping. These six steps govern how shipping is carried out and the various intermediaries that play their roles in the entire process. So, for anyone looking for information on the shipping process, this guide is the answer to all their questions.


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