One of the most disorienting parts of running a business is freight shipping. Oftentimes, you have to have your items manufactured in another country, or at least another part of the country. As recently as 10 years ago, getting goods from point A to Point B would have involved calling a freight broker. That’s just not the case anymore.
One of our business partners is Freightos. They’ve got a really great setup and I have personally used their services to transport some board games from China to Fulfillrite in New Jersey. That’s why I wanted to take a moment to describe how their services work and how you can use them.
Freightos is a freight shipping marketplace. Basically, in the same way that Kayak helps you book flights, hotels, and rental cars, Freightos helps you book shipping by air, sea, road, and rail.
7 Steps to Book Freight
1. Go to Freightos and click Get Started.
The first thing you need to is go to Freightos. In the top right corner, click on Get Started. You can follow most of these steps without creating an account, but I recommend you go ahead and set up an account too.
2. Enter information about the items you are shipping.
The most important factors in determining the price of freight shipping are the dimensions of the goods to be shipped and their weight. You can enter in shipping information by box/crates, pallets, or – if you have a lot of goods to ship – by container.
If you’re shipping by boxes/crates or pallets, select the radio button for Calculate by boxes/pallets. Enter the number of units, the dimensions of your shipment, and its weight per box/crate or per pallet.
If you need to add another unit, click on Add another unit.
If you know you’re going to be shipping by pallets, boxes, or crates, but don’t know how many exactly you need to ship, you can also enter the total size and weight of the shipment. You can do this in cubic feet or cubic meters and pounds or kilograms.
Finally, if you have a ton of items to ship, you can also enter information for containers. If you do this, all you have to do is enter the size and number of containers. You don’t have to enter weight, unless it’s so heavy that you have to check Overweight.
3. Enter pickup and delivery information.
The next thing you will need to do in order to get a freight quote is enter the pick up and delivery locations. You don’t need precise addresses – just zip codes or general regions.
You’ll need to enter the location type, country/region, and city/ZIP for both the origin and destination. You’ll also need to enter a date when goods will be ready.
Most of this is self-explanatory, except for location type. There are five of them:
- Factory/warehouse: An industrial setting with a liftgate for heavy items.
- Port/Airport (FOB): Pickup at port warehouse, no trucking included.
- Business (needs liftgate): Commercial address with no loading capabilities.
- Business (with loading dock): Commercial address with loading capabilities.
- Residential: Home address with no loading capabilities.
If you order goods under EXW (Ex Works) terms, the manufacturer will hold onto the items until you pick them up. In that case, you would probably put “factory/warehouse” as the origin location type.
Likewise, if you order goods under FOB (Free On Board) terms, the manufacturer will likely drop your goods off at a local airport or dock where you will pick them up.
4. Enter customs and additional services information.
Customs is the most complicated part of ordering freight. We cannot even reliably give you one-size-fits-all information since every type of product is regulated and taxed differently. Bear that in mind as we give some general advice.
If you do not have a customs broker, select Yes, I need customs clearance for _ commodities. Then enter in the number of distinct commodity types you are shipping.
If you do not have a customs bond, go ahead and purchase one for US imports. If you select yes, you will see the following screen.
Many businesses only need single customs bonds. If you do a lot of freight shipping, though, the continuous bond is going to be the better deal by a mile.
Lastly, at the bottom of the page, there are a few checkboxes which you can check if they apply. Insurance is checked by default, and we recommend that you do not uncheck it. Make sure the insurance value is a reasonable one.
5. Select a quote.
Now it’s time to get a freight quote! Freightos takes a long time to load quotes, so give it a couple of minutes before you do anything.
Once all the quotes load, you will be able to sort by price, time, and environmental impact. Choose the freight shipper that seems right to you. (Pay attention to the ratings too! No reason to select a freight shipper with 3 1/2 stars on such an open marketplace.)
6. Enter your company information.
To finalize your shipment, enter the following information:
- Company Name
- Full Name
- Phone Number
Then click Proceed to Payment.
7. Book shipment.
At this point, all you need to to book your shipment is enter your credit card or bank information and click Pay & Book Shipment. No harder than making an Amazon purchase!
Freightos is really good at making freight shipping feel easy. Yet there are still a few pitfalls that you need to be aware of that Freightos themselves can’t do anything about.
First, customs and duties are not included in the charge you see when you pay. However, those charges will be applied and you can pay them via Freightos. The same rule applies to any product exams needed to bring your goods into the destination country.
Additionally, freight shipping is still a complex process. Flights and sea shipments can be delayed. Items can get broken. Your items are still being passed between several companies – Frieghtos just simplifies the communication.
That means if something goes wrong, Freightos will help, but it’s still going to be a bear to find the right liable party. We have no doubt that our partners will find a way to ameliorate these problems over time…it just won’t be tomorrow!
And there you have it – everything you need to coordinate the movement of tons of items across the world all in one place!
You’ve done everything by the book. Your Kickstarter campaign is almost ready to launch.
You made a great product. Built an audience. Set up a campaign page.
But how do you ship it?
We put this checklist together to help you get started. It's free.