Whether you use shipping or airfreight to get your products to market will depend on your product's size, weight, value and perishability. Physical infrastructure at the receiving end may also be a factor.

Using a customs broker and/or a freight forwarder can be the most efficient way to export your goods. Being familiar with freight markets will help you get the most competitive rate.

Freight forwarders provide a number of key services, including:

  • negotiating space and freight rate deals with major sea and air carriers
  • sourcing competitive rates from freight companies
  • advice on despatching perishable and other specialised cargoes
  • advice on the most economical mode of transportation – sea, air or a combination of the two
  • monitoring the movement and location of cargoes during transit from seller to buyer
  • arranging export documentation.
Want to know more?

Visit the Australian Federation of International Forwarders to learn more about freight forwarding.

Shipping conferences

Shipping freight rates and scheduling are established and maintained through shipping conferences. Conference rates can benefit exporters as they're unlikely to change in the short-term, or without warning.

Conference members offer identical rates for the transport of cargoes over specified routes, and sailings are at regular intervals so you can plan your pricing and delivery schedules accordingly. Different world regions have different shipping conferences.

Incoterms rules

It's important that you develop a thorough understanding of the details for each Incoterms rule you use, and the responsibility you carry for each one before you start exporting.

Incoterms rules are the standardised rules for the interpretation of trade terms, and have become an essential part of the daily language of trade. They've been incorporated into contracts for the sale of goods worldwide, and provide rules and guidance to importers, exporters, lawyers, transporters  and insurers.

Want to know more?

Visit the International Chamber of Commerce to learn more about Incoterms rules.

Other useful resources

The Australian Federation of International Forwarders run export courses for air and sea procedures. Visit their website to find out more.