The logistics industry is one of the most fragmented and unorganized industry. But armed with technology, this industry can streamline its process and make the process of freight calculation an easy job. In this article, we will dive into the topic of how to find freight shipping rates online and what determines the freight rate.
From The Seller Perspective
The seller of freight can be airlines, freight forwarders, etc. But in this article, we will only consider only online ocean freight forwarder agent as the seller. The main concern for them is transparency and failure to offer competitive services. But this argument is partially valid because many freight buyers compare the freight rates off-line from the different service providers by asking the quotes.
This helps them to find cheap ocean freight rate quote. The online marketplace does not only offer quick access to information, but it attracts many unsolicited sellers offering different quotes. This competition ultimately reduces the cost of sales and thereby enabling freight forwarder agent to mark the right price. This is how you can Compare Shipping Rates International.
The freight market is not a stable market. It witnesses various price fluctuations over time. For example, in a particular season, the ocean freight rate increase further followed by the surcharge.
Benefits of Asking Online Freight Rates
Online freight rates reduce transactional cost as the adjustment can be made in minutes and is available to the customers.
Freight forwarder agent specializes in a certain niche and is particularly good at marketing goods in particular geographies where they have a strong sales team deployed. Offering instant freight quotes online to allow the forwarder to do the business with confidence.
From Buyer Angle
The buyer of the freight is the shipper or the consignee depending upon the terms and conditions agreed between the two parties. The benefits of international shipping freight rates include a fast comparison between the service provider, easy negotiation and access to the rate information. Though on the face it may seem that online freight rates are comparable, but in reality, it is not easy. The reason is the different website has different freight components that offer different rates. Moreover, they have hidden charges in the form of variable charges that forms a large part of the shipping cost. It includes surcharges, bunker charges and currency adjustment charges, origin and destination charges.
Most of the consignee faces the situation where the product is purchased including freight, and after that, they need to pay a significant cost to the seller. It is because of the fact that the shipper might have paid for freight up to a certain destination, but not beyond that. The buyer has to unload, warehousing and handling charges separately. Hence, the receiver has a little choice left.
This is an unfortunate situation, especially from the receiver perspective. Initially, half amount of freight is paid as part of product cost by the seller and the rest half needs to be paid by the buyer. This makes the receiver feel helpless in any kind of negotiation as the destination charges are decided by the handling agent. Online freight rates can address the approximate amount, but it doesn’t bring clarity what the actual shipping rate is. The online website doesn’t publish the variable freight rates and this leads to more confusion.
The buyer needs to be aware that comparing freight rates is not easy. However, finding ocean freight rate for small shipment can be a time-consuming task unless you have a large number of shipments in your hand. For that, traditionally smaller shipment, shipment by air is the better solution. The benefit that the buyer gets is they can make the online bookings.
In the end, we would like to conclude, it is important to estimate the freight rate. From the buyer perspective, there should not be hidden charges, if the shipment is booked online. The rates should be fixed at least for the shipment orders handled from 30 to 60 days.
From the seller perspective, the payment guarantee could be fixed by escrow feature where the payment is locked till the shipment is delivered or one can go for pre-payment for smaller shipment. This would help them both to get the best deal.