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Exporting? Explore Options For International Business

Exporting? Explore options for international shipping

Part 2 of a 3-part series about international business

Concerns about the details involved in international shipping sometimes discourage businesses from seeking customers for their products around the globe. In order to export your company's goods, you must meet packing, labeling, documentation and insurance requirements. It can seem daunting, especially to new or relatively inexperienced exporters. But solutions are available! Depending on your exporting needs, one or more of the options outlined below may help you reach your goals for global commerce.

Multi-faceted services

A freight forwarder usually provides a range of services that can take all of the potentially thorny issues named above off your hands and help you do business overseas more efficiently and affordably. Think of a freight forwarder as a travel agent for your cargo; they generally do not own the ships, planes and other means of transporting cargo. When freight forwarders book cargo space, they have the flexibility to choose the best routes and schedules to meet your needs. Services typically include:

  • Tracking inland transportation
  • Preparing shipping and export documents
  • Warehousing
  • Booking cargo space
  • Negotiating freight charges
  • Consolidating freight
  • Providing cargo insurance
  • Filing insurance claims

Courier companies emphasize transportation by air. They typically specialize in and are most effective for documents and small parcels.

Specific services

Document preparation services can help exporters that want to use Export Letters of Credit minimize costs associated with documentation errors and delay. Which documents you need to complete depends on what you're exporting, what its destination is and how it's being shipped. You can consult a list of common export documents from the International Trade Administration.

Shipping companies or carriers own and operate the vessels that transport goods. Many of these companies work primarily with freight forwarders and similar agents, but some will work directly with small exporters. Alphaliner maintains a list of the top 100 shipping companies.

An electronic bill of lading digitizes the core functions of a paper bill of lading:

  1. It is a receipt of the goods carried
  2. It provides evidence of the terms of the contract of carriage
  3. It is a document of title to the goods

Experience counts

The experienced professionals at California Bank & Trust can help you make the most of your international trading opportunities. Like international shipping, trade financing can be complex, but California Bank & Trust's International Banking professionals will work with you to protect your interests as you extend your global reach.

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The information contained herein may not represent the views and opinions of California Bank & Trust, a division of ZB, N.A. or its affiliates. It is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or business advice.
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