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New to Freight Forwarding? Here’s What You Need to Know.

If you’re like many who are new to freight forwarding, getting started can be intimidating. If you need to move your cargo from one location to another via marine, highway, air or rail modalities, it is recommended that you work with an experienced freight forwarder who can work on your behalf, guiding you through the process and educating you on your options. Read on to learn about what else you need or should consider when forwarding freight.

What documentation is needed to forward freight?

When shipping items overseas, a freight forwarder can prepare the required legal documentation for cargo to be shipped and accepted at the destination. Examples of the documentation that may be required includes:

Bill of Lading (BOL)

This is the contract or agreement between the carrier of the cargo and the shipper. The customer must show proof of ownership by presenting an original BOL to take possession of the cargo upon arrival.

There are two types of BOL:
Straight BOL – This version is non-negotiable, meaning it cannot be altered or changed in any way.
Shipper’s order BOL – This BOL is negotiable, meaning it can be traded, bought or sold while the cargo is in transit.

Commercial Invoice

This shows what the buyer paid the seller for the cargo. It may be used when determining the cargo’s true value for assessment of the amount of Custom’s duty.

Shipper’s Export Declaration (SED)

When the shipment is valued at $500 or more, the U.S. Postal Service prepares an SED. It is primarily used to generate export statistics.

Export Packing List

This list is a detailed account of what is being shipped. It individually itemizes goods and includes important information such as the measurements of the package, gross weight and the type of shipping container used.

Certificate of Origin

This signed statement attests to the origin of the items being exported.

Export license

This is issued by the government and provides authorization to export specific quantities of the named goods to a specific destination.

Inspection Certificate

This document is typically presented by the customer to certify that the cargo has been inspected and the quality is acceptable.

What insurance is available for forwarded freight?

There are several types of insurance that freight forwarding services and shippers use to protect themselves and their cargo. Crowley can assist with helping you to understand what’s available and the types of coverage you can expect from each.

Have more questions about freight forwarding?

Let us know if you need to learn about the basics of freight forwarding or connect with a freight forwarding expert at Crowley.