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Shipment Essentials

Frequently asked questions about shipping: freight modes, shipping terms, and general importing knowledge.

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8 Common Types of Bills of Lading by Transportation Mode

See below for a breakdown of 8 types of bills of lading by transportation mode.

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A Quick Guide to Incoterms®

Incoterms® are used to specify which party arranges for the payment and handling of goods during shipping, from origin to destination.

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Blank Commercial Invoice Template

Use this template to create a commercial invoice for import or export.

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Can I Use My Own Cargo Insurance for Flexport Shipments?

You may use third-party cargo insurance when shipping with Flexport.

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Commercial Invoice and Packing List: What You Need to Know

The commercial invoice and packing list are important documents for customs declaration. Find out what is required in each document.

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Five Factors to Consider When Looking For a Fulfillment Center

If you're looking for a fulfillment center to help your company store, package, and ship your products, use these guidelines.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Pallets

frequently asked questions about pallets

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How Do I Estimate How Many Cartons Will Fit on a Pallet?

You can estimate how many cartons you will be able to fit onto one pallet using the formula below.

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How Long Does It Take to Pick up a Container from Port?

A container will not be ready for pickup at the destination port immediately after the vessel arrives.

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How Long Will It Take My Shipment to Arrive At the Final Destination?

Learn more about total transit time for your shipment, whether it's ocean FCL, ocean LCL, or air.

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How Much Cargo Fits In a Container?

Container capacity guidelines indicating how much cargo can be packed into a shipping container.

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How Should I Prepare for Chinese New Year (CNY)?

During Chinese New Year, factories close down and supply chains are disrupted. If you're importing or exporting goods around this time, find out how to prepare.

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How to Load a Container

Properly loading the ocean container will help prevent goods from getting damaged.

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Should I Palletize My Cargo?

You can choose whether or not to palletize your cargo, and at what point in the shipment you would like to palletize. Your decision to palletize will depend on factors such as the fragility of your cargo, the destination of your cargo, and the mode of transit by which you cargo is being shipped.

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Should I Ship via Freight or Parcel?

The difference between freight and parcel is the total weight of your shipment.

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The Basics of Quality Control (QC)

Quality control inspections help ensure that your product is being manufactured according to your standards and expectations. Here's how to get started, how to avoid pitfalls, and how to get the most out of inspections.

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The Electronic Logging Device (ELD) Mandate: What You Need to Know

Starting December 18, 2017, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has mandated that drivers start logging their hours using an electronic logging device (ELD), an electronic device used to digitally record a truck driver's hours. Carriers will now have increased accountability and will be able to make fewer trips now that their hours are being very precisely recorded.

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Tips for Packaging and Damage Prevention

How to package your goods securely and prevent damage during the shipping process.

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Tips for Shipping During Peak Season

Ocean and air capacity begins to tighten and rates start to go up in the months leading up to the holidays as businesses prepare. See below for what you need to know about peak season and what you can do to ship successfully.

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What Is a Switch Bill of Lading?

A switch bill of lading is used in triangle trades, to ensure that a bill of lading is issued for every transaction taking place.

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What Is the Purpose of a Bill of Lading?

A bill of lading serves as a receipt for the cargo and can act as proof of ownership of the goods being transported.

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What Markings Should My Cartons Have?

See below for a list of markings that Flexport recommends be on your cartons.

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What are Ocean Alliances?

Ocean alliances are groups of ocean freight carriers who agree to pool their respective fleets of vessels, in order to extend their geographic coverage and service offerings.

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What is Chargeable Weight?

Chargeable weight is what the airline uses to determine the cost of your shipment. It may be either volumetric weight or gross weight, whichever is greater.

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What's the Relationship Between Vessel Fuel and Crude Oil?

BAF is tied to the price of Brent Crude Oil.

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Who Do I Tell My Supplier is the Consignee on the Bill of Lading?

Your supplier may ask you who the consignee is on your shipment's bill of lading. You will need to provide the consignee and the consignee's contact information in the format shown below.

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Why Are Dimensions Needed to Quote Air Shipments?

Providing dimensions will allow Flexport to provide accurate freight rates based on whether the cargo will be loaded onto a passenger plane or a freighter.

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Why Do Freight Costs Vary per Trade Lane?

The cost of moving freight is not the same across all trade lanes, for a few reasons.

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Why Do I Need Cargo Insurance?

Cargo insurance will cover your goods if something happens to them in transit. Carriers work hard to limit their liability, which is why cargo insurance is so vital.

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Why Does a U.S. Business Need to Act as Ultimate Consignee for a Foreign Importer?

Foreign importers importing into the U.S. need a U.S. business to act as the Ultimate Consignee, even if you have an EIN or a CAIN.

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Why Should You Ship Under FCA Incoterms®?

FCA will offer the best cost and risk allocation for a containerized shipment and requires that the seller export the goods for clearance.

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