Factory Buyer Rate Questions


What information freight forwarders want to know before providing quotation?

03 Jun 2024

By Jennifer Chang    Photo:CANVA


In the business of international freight forwarding, inquiry is one of the key steps to ensure smooth operations. This is especially true for air freight, which has strict requirements for the consigned goods. Factors such as different types of goods, weight, dimensions, and packaging can all affect whether the goods can be shipped and the cost of shipping. Therefore, a detailed and comprehensive inquiry can help freight forwarders accurately assess the cargo information, improve inquiry efficiency, and provide accurate quotes and solutions. It also helps clients reduce unnecessary communication, avoiding wasted time and potential misunderstandings. To optimize this process and ensure the interests of both parties, it is crucial for clients to provide detailed information and clear requirements.


What information freight forwarders want to know before providing quotation?


1.  Product Name and Description

Providing an accurate product name and description allows for an initial judgment on whether the goods are considered general cargo or hazardous materials. Different product types, especially liquids, gases, powders, and oversized or overweight items, may have vastly different transportation requirements.  This accurate information about the goods description empowers the freight forwarder to properly assess the situation and develop a suitable transportation plan, ensuring both safety and efficiency throughout the shipping process.


2. Quantity, Weight, Dimensions (Length*Width*Height)

Air freight charges depend on the total chargeable weight and the volume-to-weight ratio of the cargo. Specific information on quantity, weight, and dimensions helps us calculate the cost, determine whether the cargo is volumetric (lightweight but bulky) or heavy, and ascertain the volume-to-weight ratio. Accurate dimensional data is crucial for identifying if the cargo is oversized, as aircraft door dimensions are limited, especially in the belly hold of passenger planes. Air freight quotes are typically based on the chargeable weight, which is the greater value between the actual weight and the volumetric weight. The volume-to-weight ratio is also a key factor, with different ratios corresponding to different rate levels. This information directly impacts the quotation.


3. Type of Packaging (Cartons, Wooden Crates, Pallets, etc.)

Airlines have specific requirements for different types of packaging, focusing on safety, stability, handling convenience, and compliance with international transport standards. Standard palletized cargo is easier to load, unload, and stack, significantly improving efficiency. For special cargo such as barrels, airlines might require palletization before accepting the shipment. For wooden packaging, airlines need to ensure compliance with ISPM 15 standards, which mandate fumigation to prevent the spread of harmful organisms.


4. Origin and Destination

When preparing to ship goods, it is crucial to provide clear destination information. For example, there are two cities named Portland in the United States, one on the West Coast in Oregon (Portland, Oregon) and the other on the East Coast in Maine (Portland, Maine). Portland, Oregon, is the more well-known city, while Portland, Maine, is an economic hub in the Northeast. To avoid misrouting the cargo to the wrong airport, please ensure you provide detailed destination information to ensure the goods arrive at the correct location.


5. Trade Terms (Incoterms)

In international trade, Incoterms specify the rights and obligations of the buyer and seller. Depending on the different trade terms, the buyer and seller bear different costs. The freight forwarder uses the provided trade terms to determine the scope of the quotation. For example, if you inform the freight forwarder of an DAP inquiry, the freight forwarder understands that in addition to freight rate, pick up charge, and export customs clearance fees, they also need to provide destination charge  (excluding import customs clearance). This ensures that both parties have a clear understanding of the costs and responsibilities of the transaction.


6.  cargo ready date and acceptable delivery date

Since airline cargo space is limited on each flight, providing the freight forwarder with an accurate cargo ready date allows them to book your cargo on a flight that best suits your needs. Additionally, informing them of your acceptable delivery date empowers them to effectively plan and coordinate the entire transportation process. This includes selecting the most suitable flight, aiming for a cost-effective solution that meets your time constraints.


An efficient inquiry process eliminates unnecessary correspondence and confirmation steps.  Freight forwarders and customers can directly confirm key details in the initial communication, avoiding repetitive inquiries and misunderstandings, saving valuable time, and achieving a win-win situation.

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