Very often on the phone or via e-mail I receives requests like “How much it will cost me to move a load from USA or China to Bulgaria”. Literally ! Well, I would gladly quote them but I can’t. Neither will any other forwarder. For the simple reason that the rate request is incomplete and provides no information that can help to make a proper price calculation.
Actually, the international transportation, though not a rocket science, is pretty complicated process or set of processes and activities involving various participants, environments and regulations. That is why when requesting a rate it is highly recommendable that basic load information is provided from the very beginning in order to avoid clarification calls and mails – which is a simple waste of time.
Below we will list the main elements which your rate request should contain in order to get a proper proposal for transportation which to be backed by the opportunities to do the job. This will help you to make your cost calculation much more precise.
Address of loading/unloading:
For USA, Canada and EU countries it is enough to point out name of the city /town and the post/ZIP code and the country. But in order to get inland cost calculation for counties from South East Asia or India you should provide the complete address.Be precise!
Terms of delivery:
one of the most important and one of the most omitted elements. That is why we will discuss it in details in our next post. Here I would like to accent that providing the terms of delivery – FOB, EXW, DAP is great information for the forwarder as they will know what cost elements to include in the calculation.
Gross weight and package dimensions:
I have received many rate requests which contain only the gross weight of the shipment. Or only the gross weight and the volume of the shipment. Well sometimes it is not enough especially when airfreight quote is needed. In airfreight there are certain limitations on the single unit dimensions and gross weight and this limitations vary from airplane to airplane. That’s why especially when you have packing different from typical cartons packaging – get as accurate dimensions per package as possible. This can save you very unpleasant surprises with cargo on-hold or rejected just because it can not physically fit into the cargo bay of the plane or container.
Description of goods:
I can never understand customers who are unwilling to disclose what is the commodity they want transported. If this is a secret – then do not use forwarder – call the mob for example they are good in keeping secrets. But if you need a good rate which considers your commodity – just advise it to the forwarder. The shipping lines and airlines have specific rates for specific commodities. So better this to be known from the beginning. For example – flashlights with batteries can be a pain unless you have advised in advance that the flashlights are with batteries.
We will discuss this in additional post but here I would like to accent that unless you explicitly ask for cargo insurance you will not be quoted one. Why? Very easy – transportation is different activity from the cargo insurance and being not mandatory forwarders do not quote unless asked. But my recommendation is – ALWAYS ASK FOR INSURANCE. Might increase your cost but not with much and makes your sleep undisturbed.
For most of the shipments goods value is related mostly to the cost of the cargo insurance. But for some specific goods like valuables providing goods value is a must. Also it is good to know it as in some countries it is part of the calculation of the customs bond, duties and taxes.
Specific terms of transportation:
Keeping certain conditions in transportation of certain commodities might be crucial to the goods themselves. If you ship vaccines for example maintaining the the narrow temperature range is mandatory in order to have vaccines transported without destroying them. So – know and request any specific ways of transportation if different from the normally accepted for the certain carriage. For example if you move ocean freight know that the containers move in a high humidity environment with very wide temperature ranges.
In order to make your life easier the forwarding and logistics provider KG CARGO has developed a rate request forms for airfreight, ocean freight and road freight rate requests which can lead you in the process.