MemberMarch 31, 2022 at 12:20 pm
Hi Samuel, managing your logistics involves working with quite a few entities and working with spreadsheets.
There is some learning to do so you can make well-informed decisions, including terminology (e.g. EXW vs FOB, FCL vs LCL), options available to you (e.g. floor-loaded vs palletized), and pros and cons of utilizing certain shipping lanes over others (e.g. when to send direct from China to your warehouse on the east coast vs when to send to the west coast and truck over to the east coast). This is all pretty manageable to learn, if you’re interested in learning!
You’ll need to confirm all the pertinent details of your goods at the factory a few weeks before they are scheduled to complete production (# units per carton, carton size and weight, count of pallets by size and weight). Then you’ll need to solicit quotes from freight forwarders using the total size of the shipment (CBM and kg). You could have the factory book freight for you, but I don’t recommend that.
When booking freight, make sure to get insurance for the full production value of your goods! Compare multiple options and be prepared for volatility in prices. Quotes are only valid from the 1st through 14th of a month and then the 15th through end of a month. So it can be tricky to have an accurate price quote in advance of when your goods are ready. On the 1st and 15th there may be a GRI (general rate increase) that changes your price. I recommend using Freightos.com – a freight marketplace.
To take things to the next level, you would want to learn how to calculate the optimal pallet and container builds for your cartons. You can’t rely on your factory or freight forwarder to come up with the most optimal solutions. You can do this with spreadsheets or utilize the free StackBuilder software (by TreeDim) and the paid 3D Load Calculator website (by Pier2Pier).