Shipping can be defined as the act of physically moving goods from one place to another. This process, often controlled by a shipping company, follows the manufacture and packing of goods.

If you want to import or export goods or products for your business within North America, you may want to handle the shipping by yourself to reduce costs. This, however, becomes harder as your business grows and eventually impossible. At this point, you will have to hire a third-party shipping and freight forwarders alliance to handle the shipping for you.

Depending on the distance covered and the speed of delivery, shipping can take many forms. The types of shipping are:

Road

This is the standard method for shipping small or mid-sized goods. Large trucks are usually used for transporting freight on land. It is a convenient way to ship your goods as it is inexpensive and your goods can be transported to more specific locations. A bonded warehouse is also used to provide significant storage for large amounts of freight that need to be transferred via road.

Road shipping is disadvantaged by not being able to travel extremely long distances, large bulks of packages, and odd-shaped goods.

Ship

This is an economical option for overseas bulk shipping. It is a good choice as it is not limited by the shape, size, or weight of the freight. It may not seem like a choice for shipping within the North American continent, but it is more convenient, cheaper, and even faster in some cases. It may even be the only option available if the item is very big and heavy.

The only downside to oceanic shipping is the time it takes, sometimes more than six weeks.

Air

If you want to ship your freight quickly, air transport is the best option for you. The premium you pay when using this mode of transport is made up for in the time saved. You can also arrange for additional delivery to and from the airport. Weight is a significant consideration in the pricing of freight shipped in this manner.

Rail

This is a convenient way to transport larger, heavier goods. It is also cost-effective to transport goods using trains possibly more than roads.

Shipping costs will usually go down as the volumes increase, shipping one or a few packages at a time is more expensive than shipping hundreds of them at a time as they get discounted. Companies with massive shipping volumes are able to offer free shipping to their customers because of the discounts they enjoy. You have to consider the costs of shipping and incorporate them into pricing or pass them along to your customers. Shipping and logistics companies have cost-effective shipping rates and the capacity to meet the scheduled delivery date. This is why it is better to use them for your transportation needs rather than doing it yourself.

For most e-commerce businesses, drop-shippers in particular, international shipping is an integral part of how they operate. This is an industry that has grown immensely leading to many shipping options designed to work for different business structures. Most of the time, several parties are involved in the international shipping process. These parties include shipping lines, freight forwarding companies, and customs clearance brokers. Third-party shipping and logistics companies like FlagShip will usually provide assistance with shipping to and from the United States of America along with other services to facilitate you.

Shipping across borders is a tricky process as you will find you cannot always send your products anywhere in the world or even within the North American Continent. Customs regulations are different for each country and restrictions requiring special licenses have to be accounted for. For example, weapons and ammunition require a special license. Others, like illegal substances and paraphernalia, simply cannot be moved across borders legally. Most shipping and logistics companies will provide a list of these restrictions to avoid any complications.

Two important documents, namely a customs form and commercial invoice, will be needed. You will have to provide information about the package you are sending, and these are:

1. Content-type: either merchandise, sample, or gift.

2. Signing person: who is responsible for the shipment? This is usually the shipper.

3. Incoterm: who will pay for the customs duties? DDU (delivery duties unpaid) for the recipient and DDP (delivery duties paid) if the sender is paying for it.

4. Customs items: a brief but concise description of the item(s) being shipped, along with the weight, quantity, value, and country of origin. Be specific in your description, being vague may cause issues with customs.

There are also documents from CUSMA, USMCA, or T-MEC that you have to fill out. Guidance from your third-party shipping and logistics handler can be expected on this. They can also give you guidance on how import-tax and duties are handled for each country. For example, when shipping things under $800, tax is not applied though duties may be applied depending on the products. Additional information about the recipient, if shipping to the United States, will be required if the goods are over $1000.

Fairly recent advancement in the shipping industry is shipment tracking. This will allow you to know exactly where your package is and the estimated time before it gets to its destination. It usually also notifies you if there has been a delay somewhere while it is on the way. You may have to pay extra to access this service on regular shipping routes. It is, however, bundled in with faster shipping options at no extra cost.

As long as people are buying things online, the shipping industry will continue to grow. Competition among shipping adjacent companies will force them to innovate and improve their systems, making them more efficient. They will find ways to cut down on delivery times and their impact on the environment while making it safer for their drivers and delivery personnel.

Find a shipping service that will serve your customers' needs at a reasonable price while delivering an excellent performance so your business is not negatively affected. A company that will not fail you in the holiday season when more people and customers are using their services.