International shipping is vital to international trading, which has increased at a rate that is double that of global production. Global trade is more than just big business, it is one of the best ways to lift people out of poverty. Approximately 80% of the reduction of poverty has been achieved due to this increased trade. This has helped nearly 500 million people over the last decade and a half. In 2008, countries in the developing world accounted for most of international freight shipping via the sea. This means the opportunities for businesses to increase their participation in this growing market are plentiful. To get your business involved, other companies need to be able to find you and one way is to be included in whatever international company directory most closely matches your industry.
Ways to Reduce Your International Shipping Costs:
- Know the real costs of cargo shipping. Many businesses pay too much to international shipping companies because they so not know how much they should pay and just want their products to get to their destination on time. When you look through a company directory for international shipping companies, make a point to find out what they charge other companies shipping similar products to yours.
- Know what your options are. Many shipping companies offer tools to help businesses see what options they have available to them according to their size, industry and how much they are shipping. There are business consultants who can help with this but you can do a lot of the research yourself, which keeps you in control of the process and will give you the tools to get the best deal, which in turn will help you discover international business opportunities that you might not have known about before.
- Research the fees that need to be paid for international shipments. International shipping is extremely complicated. Keep in mind the myriad of fees that accompany it. You have to consider fees for export compliance, customs, proof of delivery and others. These can have a very real impact on your bottom line.
- Take advantage of government agencies and programs. There are a number of agencies that have set up programs to encourage and facilitate international trade. Depending on your industry and size, you can get help from the federal government. These agencies are varied, you can talk to the International Trade Administration, Small Business Administration or the Food and Drug Administration. They can help you with things like getting listed in the correct company directory to explaining regulations for different countries.
- Make your shipping policies clear and transparent. One sure fire way to derail all of your efforts is for your staff to not know or understand what your shipping policies are. Once you have done all of your research and made a real plan, write it up and make it as clear as possible for everyone in your organization to understand. You may want to consider taking some time to train all the staff who will be dealing with international trade so that you know everyone is on the same page. This will save you money and time in the long run. Implement a training policy for new hires.