In most western countries, freight forwarders are freight forwarders and call themselves freight forwarders. In the Third World, however, freight forwarders may also call themselves “export agents, shipping agents, or packers & shippers.” For many reasons, one of which is notoriously low wages that a warehouse packing staff is paid, a small tip, or a baksheesh, as the word goes in India, may be at times the only way to assure yourself proper packing as well as getting your goods safely home at all! Needless to say, whatever the tip paid will in reality increase your landed costs hence this practice should not be used indiscriminately.
In any case, a good freight forwarder, alias shipper, can do the following for you: get your goods packed, prepare your documents, and book your cargo (truck, air, or sea) from point of origin to destination.
When it comes to packing, I recommend if you are just starting out to ship from a particular Third World country and you have had no experience with the shipper you use, be there when your cargo is being packed!
Freight forwarders charge you by weight/kilo if you ship by air and by a cubic meter if you ship by sea. In a Third World country, if you may not be there when they pack your cargo, you may easily get “over-packed” and thus overcharged, meaning you’ll end up with 4 cubic meters instead of 2 you estimated to be the volume necessary to ship your purchases to destination… which means if a cubic meter of sea freight costs $150 and you had calculated your landed costs based on having 2 cubic meters and not 4, thus having paid $600 instead of $300 for your freight simply results in a fact that your landed costs will be much higher than you anticipated, thus suddenly diminishing your potential profit.
- Sales Contract in Import Export Business
- Shipping Documents: International Bill of Lading