Category Archives: Freight Forwarding

international shipping

International Shipping

International shipping poses a challenge to many companies selling internationally. It represents a significant opportunity for many companies. Setting aside international marketing, website localization, or even dealing with any number of currencies, the job of putting a product in a box or loading a container becomes a challenging task.

What you need to keep in mind when utilizing International Shipping:

Understand Country-specific Regulations, Requirements

There are many regulations set by countries that  can make international shipping seem complicated. Hire an International Shipping Company with international offices that understand the regulations.

Take the headache out of shipping internationally, simply hire a fulfillment service, International 3PL to manage international orders.

New technologies for planning, managing, tracking, and securing shipments are continually evolving. With new digital options always just around the corner, organizations of all sizes must stay informed of the latest advances.

When it comes to international shipping, technology is especially important—not only because tremendous growth is expected, but also because the processes involved are more complex, and therefore demand more elaborate solutions.

For example, because the United States has established free trade agreements (FTAs) with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea, removing high tariffs and regulatory barriers, U.S. businesses now have a powerful opportunity to buy and sell products with new partners.

International Shipping Made Easy

We takesthe hassle out of international shipping by providing complete logistical support. We provide proper documentation, packaging, and crating standards to ensure international shipments arrive safe, damage free, and on time!

We specialize in providing expert international ocean freight forwarding services to companies large and small. We are an integral part of our clients export departments, offering custom tailored ocean/sea freight logistics solutions for a wide variety of cargo.

Specializing in all types of containerized shipping, from less than container loads to 20′, 40′ and refrigerated containers.

Offering highly personalized roll on roll off services for cars, trucks and boats. Our ocean shipping experts are available to provide you with fast quotes to all destinations across the glove, no place is off limits to WCS!

Our Logistics Solutions:

Third party logistics services explained

These days, there is an increase in using third party logistics services (3PLs) by shippers in order to stay focused on their core business and to increase efficiency. Even small companies are moving towards using 3PL services. The term 3pl is very confusing to many companies and creates an obstacle for many 3pl providers who are trying to work with potential customers.

Third Party Logistics Services

One of the reasons for such confusion is the industry itself. Many companies started marketing their services as 3pl services while all they are offering is freight forwarding services. When conducting a survey, most customers did not know the difference between a freight forwarder and a 3pl company. All they could think about is shipping.

What comes to mind is the term Supply Chain Management, initially it was confused with logistics and still is until this day. Logistics is only part of the supply chain umbrella.

So, what are Third Party Logistics Services?

The definition of third party logistics services or the definition of 3PL, is still unclear and can be ambiguous as there are many definitions, depending on who you ask.

There is the most common explanation of third party logistics services: Third party logistics providers are businesses that provide one or many of the following third party logistics services:

And off course the academic definition. According to the CSCMP Glossary, they define third party logistics services and 3PLs as:

Outsourcing all or much of a company’s logistics operations to a specialized company. The term “3PL” was first used in the early 1970s to identify intermodal marketing companies (IMCs) in transportation contracts. Up to that point, contracts for transportation had featured only two parties, the shipper and the carrier. When IMCs entered the picture—as intermediaries that accepted shipments from the shippers and tendered them to the rail carriers—they became the third party to the contract, the 3PL. Definition has broadened to the point where these days, every company that offers some kind of logistics service for hire calls itself a 3PL.

Preferably, these services are integrated, or “bundled,” together by the provider. Services they provide are transportation, warehousing, cross-docking, inventory management, packaging, and freight forwarding. In 2008 legislation passed declaring that the legal definition of a 3PL is “A person who solely receives, holds, or otherwise transports a consumer product in the ordinary course of business but who does not take title to the product.”

The Different Types of Third Party Logistics Services

This is no easy task, as many third party logistics providers look to compete for business by offering value added services which led to the creation of the terms 4PLs and 7PLs. Here is a brief description of 4PLs and 7PLs:

According to CSCMP 4PLs differ from third party logistics in the following ways; 1)4PL organization is often a separate entity established as a joint venture or long-term contract between a primary client and one or more partners; 2)4PL organization acts as a single interface between the client and multiple logistics service providers; 3) All aspects (ideally) of the client’s supply chain are managed by the 4PL organization; and, 4) It is possible for a major third-party logistics provider to form a 4PL organization within its existing structure.

7PL essentially materializes the long-standing need for a comprehensive and holistic approach to the fulfilment of the most intricate and complex Supply chain requirements for the entire spectrum of logistics. Many debates have risen on the roles and capabilities of the different players in the industry, largely because of disparate definitions of scope and varying degrees of depth of expertise.

On any given day, you will get many answers as to what are the different types of 3PL services are out there.

Transportation Based Third Party Logistics Services

Warehouse/Distribution Based Third Party Logistics Services

Forwarder Based Third Party Logistics Services

Shipper/Management Based Third Party Logistics Services

Financial Based Third Party Logistics Services

Information-based firms Third Party Logistics Services

The different types of levels of outsourcing you can see:

  • Transactional Outsourcing: Based on transactions, with no long term contracts and no bonding between the 3PL and the outsourcing company.
  • Tactical Outsourcing: Outsourcing on a long term basis with negotiated contacts and integrated IT systems to facilitate free information flow and create supply chain visibility.
  • Strategic Outsourcing: Based on long-term relationships with successful outcomes, 3PL companies become partners in supply chain management and establish transactional transparency.

What services do freight forwarders offer?

An International Freight Forwarder contracts with importers and exporters of goods that ship to and from points outside the United States.  These goods could be shipped as Full Container Loads (FCL), Less than Container Load (LCL) or as Air Shipments.  International Freight Forwarders provide both economic and compliance based value to their clients.   

International Freight Forwarders

1.       Economic
– Freight Forwarders leverage their buying power to negotiate rates on behalf
of their clients; rates the importer/exporter cannot typically achieve due to
lack of volume or negotiating expertise.   Once rates are negotiated,
the Freight Forwarder “books” their client’s shipment with an NVOCC (Non Vessel Operating Common Carrier) or directly with the Vessel Operating Company or Air service provider.


2.       Compliance

– Each international shipment involves two distinct movements; the seen
movement of goods and the movement of information.  The International
Freight Forward provides expert assistance to their client through the
sometimes treacherous, sometimes murky waters of international shipment
documentation.  Documentation requirements are far too varied and complicated
to detail in this space.  but they assist with compliance with regulation
mandates from US Customs and Border Protection, the TSA, and possibly the Food and Drug Administration.

An International Freight forwarder usually acts as an interface between Container shipping Lines and exporters/importers. They usually get better(lower) freight rates from shipping lines rather than an individual exporter/importer. This is because forwarders have more volume of cargo to offer as they aggregate cargo of many exporters/importers.

Some Freight forwarders also offer door to door logistics in the sense that they can handle the entire chain of operations from loading at the factory of an exporter (including custom clearance, land transportation) to delivery at the importers warehouse etc.

Freight Forwarding Services

How to deal with freight forwarders?

Choosing from a list of freight forwarders to handle your transportation needs can mean the difference between satisfied customers or unhappy ones; efficient, cost-effective distribution of goods or careless, wasteful handling of them. Before using a freight forwarder, make sure you know what you expect for your freight forwarding services. Here are some tips:

Freight Forwarders

Take your Time.

Before entering into negotiations with a logistics provider, analyze your own transportation procedures and determine your requirements. Consider factors such as the volume of shipments the new agent will be handling.

Will your shipments move primarily via ocean, air, or truck? Do your oceans shipments consist primarily of container loads or do they sail as break-bulk or heavyweight freight? If your product moves via air, will most of the cargo fit into the bellies of passenger aircraft or must it travel via more expensive main-deck configuration? If the freight moves by truck, is it a full truckload or less than truckload?

Seek Help from the Professionals

Don’t leave negotiations solely in the hands of your company’s traffic group, as competent as they may be. Draw upon the knowledge and expertise of other internal departments, such as finance, marketing, purchasing, and information technology. Also, involve senior management in the negotiations to determine their priorities.

Learn as much as you can about the forwarder’s resources and capabilities. Does it possess a network of domestic and international offices? How extensive are they? Does the logistics provider have a skilled, experienced workforce who can move not only routine shipments in an efficient, hassle-free manner but who have the ability to respond to emergencies with cool-headed judgment and decisive action?

Who are the freight forwarder’s preferred carriers? Be wary of the forwarder who claims to save you money and are just as good as the leading carriers. You are asking for trouble if you only focus on the rate, service is key. Your shipment might go for lesser freight cost but might not arrive on time.

On the other hand, using a large carrier does not necessarily ensure excellent service. Ask your forwarder why it uses potential service providers as opposed to no-name carriers. Know more about the freight forwarders your plan to use

When all is said and done

Once you sign the contract, it is only the beginning of a partnership with your logistics provider. After signing the contract, meet with the forwarder’s staff to discuss thoroughly the processes and procedures detailed in the new agreement. Develop a realistic implementation and work schedule that both parties can adhere to.

Choosing the right freight forwarder can help shippers focus on broad management strategies, and leave the nitty-gritty business of moving freight to the experts.