Starting to import goods – this is how you limit your transport costs
19 October 2020
Are you starting to import goods? You will likely start small. Your shipments will often comprise a few samples, or a few cubic metres. In this case, the most economical way to ship your goods depends on a number of factors. Moreover, the Incoterm you conclude with your supplier may result in unexpectedly high costs. How does this all work exactly?
Adjusting your transport to the size of your shipment
As a new arrival in the world of imports, you are faced with a lot of choices, including transport. You want to know what you are dealing with beforehand. Of course, you want good rates and no unexpected costs.
The way ideal way to ship your goods depends on the size and weight of your shipment. Do you have enough cargo to to justify booking a full 20’ or 40’ container (FCL), or would it be more economical to make use of groupage transport (LCL) or a courier service? We generally recommend the following:
- Less than 1 cubic metre? Go for a courier service
- Between 1 and 15 cubic metres? Go for LCL
- Between 15 and 20 cubic metres? We are happy to help you find the best option. Please contact us.
- Over 20 cubic metres? Go for FCL
Avoid unnecessary costs
Sea freight is always subject to a number of minimum charges, no matter the size of the shipment. These charges include Terminal Handling Charges (THC), Delivery Orders, and any unloading costs, to name a few. This means it might be more economical to transport shipments smaller than 1 cubic metre via a courier service, such as DHL or UPS. In all other cases, sea freight is the most economical option.
Do you receive goods from multiple suppliers and do you have enough cargo to fill at least a 20’ container? We recommend making use of our buyer consolidation. This means that all goods will be collected in a single container, rather than split up into multiple LCL shipments. This allows you to save significantly on unloading costs.
Your choice of Incoterm might save you hundreds of euros
You will usually make agreements on the delivery conditions with your supplier. These are called Incoterms. Be careful, because the Incoterm you conclude might significantly affect the costs you pay in the end.
For example, many suppliers recommend shipping your goods under the CIF Incoterm (Cost Insurance and Freight). In this case, the supplier is responsible for the transport of your goods to the port of Rotterdam. This is convenient for you, as it will give you one less thing to worry about. Moreover, this often seems very affordable.
Take heed, however, as CIF always negatively affects importers. This is because so-called arrival charges such as the THC, unloading charges and various documentation charges are not included in the total amount. You will receive a second invoice for this afterwards from the party your supplier engaged to handle the shipment in the Netherlands. These are extra costs on top of the amount you already paid your supplier. It is not unusual for these costs to significantly exceed the handling costs you would have had to pay if you had agreed upon a different Incoterm.
With the FOB (Free on Board) and EXW (Ex Works) Incoterms, you can avoid unpleasant surprises afterwards. In these cases, you choose a Dutch forwarder that handles the transport from the country of origin to the final destination. The quote you receive will contain a complete overview of the costs. That way, you know exactly what you are dealing with, which often allows you to save money.
Want to know more?
Are you wondering what the transport of your goods will cost? We are happy to help you find the most economical mode of transport for you. At Ritra Cargo, we always work with all-in rates. This means you will know exactly what you are dealing with! Contact us for more information or to submit a quote request.
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