The world of ocean freight is huge, complex, and definitely not short of rules and regulations. Given the convoluted system of this massive industry, hiccups are not uncommon. Regardless of whether you’re a seasoned shipper, it’s always advisable to have an Agent at destination. This avoids unnecessary problems that could, as a result, lead to extra costs, delay, and not to mention a massive headache.
A freight forwarding Agent: An appointed party at destination who handles your shipments and helps to monitor the cargo.
In the event of unexpected problems, you can rely on your Agent. He/she is responsible for properly identifying and resolving them. All this, without any hassle for yourself – the customer. In general, the Agent’s role includes handing over documents, customs clearance, and delivery. It could even be a combination of these. But this is just an overview. What the Agent is really responsible for varies from case to case and largely depends on the scope of work.
For instance: A shipment under the CFR Incoterm. The responsibility and risk lie with the shipper all the way up to the destination port. The Agent at destination is then responsible for contacting the consignee, advising them about the cargo arrival date, and offering local assistance, including customs clearance and delivery.
Keep in mind: Depending on whether you’re shipping cargo or moving internationally, the consignee and shipper could be different or one and the same.
Shipping regulations and processes vary a lot. More often than not, they depend on the type of cargo, destination country, etc. Certain countries require very specific paperwork, and not to mention the different logistics availability at each port. Not having an Agent at destination pre-hired prior to cargo departure is a risk. It means having to handle your own customs clearance, delivery service, and any other unanticipated issues.
All this could lead to additional costs and logistical inefficiencies. The shipper/consignee would have an immense amount of extra legwork to do to determine what went wrong. This is just the first step. He may then have to look for a provider that can solve his problems. This all translates to unnecessary additional costs and delays.
Here’s an example of how things could go wrong at destination. Say the shipping line failed to send the arrival notice on time or sent it to the incorrect party. Without being proactive on his part, the consignee/shipper would never know if the shipment has arrived. By the time the consignee/shipper realizes, the shipment may have already racked up demurrage and detention costs. To give you an idea of how costly this may be, average fees for demurrage and detention at key US ports easily exceed $200 per day.
Hiring an Agent prevents such headaches. Do you really want to take the Agent-free risk?
At iContainers, we’re sometimes hired to ship to port and told not to consign to any Agent. In such an event, we communicate all relevant information with only the shipper. We send out a final pre-alert of the estimated time of departure and estimated time of arrival to the customer. But there is no one responsible to inform the consignee about shipment arrival.
If you use a vetted iContainers Agent, we send the pre-alerts to the shipper and Agent without any extra costs. Our Agents not only check that all documentation is correct. They also ensure that destination charges are as expected and abide to industry and country practices. They are also available to attend to any additional requirements that the consignee may have.
“Our Agents at destination are your eyes and ears on the ground handling your shipment as if it were theirs. You can be sure that the service level received when you hire an iContainers Agent is fully and professionally delivered from start to end.”
– Roberto Laurino, Director of Global Business Development at iContainers
Our Agents are in constant communication with iContainers. They will inform you, the customer, immediately should any issues at destination arise.
Our specially appointed Agents know the scope of their work. With cargo details in hand, our Agents can provide solutions at destination swiftly according to whatever the consignee requires.
iContainers has a select group of Agents around the world. We choose our partners through a very careful process to guarantee dependability and professionalism for our customers.
Our ten years of experience in the freight forwarding industry makes us a safe choice. We have a department that monitors and evaluates the service levels provided by our partners. That way, we can assure a high level of service.
Looking for an Agent to facilitate your shipment or looking to be an iContainers Agent? You can reach our Director of Global Business Development, Roberto Laurino, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (786) 565 3515 opt 4 ext 3.
"Customs duties play an important role in your international shipment. How they're determined and calculated varies from country to country"
Klaus Lydsal, vice president of operations at iContainers