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As I’ve discussed in my previous blogs on international logistics and export documentation, there’s a lot to make sure you get right when shipping products overseas.
Follow this checklist to make sure you’ve covered all your bases and have a successful international shipment:
1. Agree Incoterms before you get started
Before you sign an agreement with an international customer, make sure you are clear about who is paying for what and how risk will be allocated between you and the customer during the shipping process. You do this by deciding which Incoterm will govern your commercial agreement.
2. Get quotes and choose your route
3. Prepare your consignment
You have accepted a quote from a shipper and have agreed on pricing… now it’s time to prepare your consignment and make sure your cargo is securely packed. Depending on what you are shipping, this may involve:
- Ensuring you use the correct packaging if you are shipping dangerous goods,
- Understanding the import requirements of the destination country
- Selecting the right containers to ship your goods – e.g. If you need refrigerated shipping
Attention to detail is very important at this stage of the shipping process. You will avoid delays and extra costs if the preparation of your consignment is managed correctly.
4. Prepare your documentation
5. Complete your shipper’s letter of instruction
A Shipper’s Letter of Instruction (SLI) is mandatory for all exports and sets out the precise requirements of your shipment from beginning to end. It formalises how your shipment should be handled, and grants authority to your freight forwarder to act as the authorised agent to deal with customs. It is essential to complete this document so that misunderstandings about the shipment do not occur.