3 Tips for Using an Online Shipment Platform

As the global economy becomes further intertwined, more and more small businesses are emerging that are involved in cross-border trade. From needing to know the ins and outs of exporting to Europe and developing markets, to ensuring that everything is compliant in overseas business, there is a lot to understand about guaranteeing cross-border trade.

Staying on top of booking, paying and tracking each shipment is also crucial, which is why opting to use an online shipment platform is imperative. 

The best online shipment platform will work with your small business to guarantee that your products or goods reach their intended destination securely and on time, every time.

Here are three tips for effectively using an online shipment platform:

1. Consider timing when deciding how you want your possessions to travel

Before you can use an online shipment platform, you will have to determine how you want your products or possessions to be moved — by air, sea or land.

When making a decision, the most crucial aspect to take into consideration is how quickly you need the shipment to arrive at its port of call. Obviously, air freight is the quickest method; however, it is also the most expensive and the most damaging to the environment. Usually, air freight is only used for the movement of small volumes of high-value or time-sensitive commodities, such as pharmaceuticals, electronics, or perishable goods.

Moving goods by air can mean that you can get the products to their destination in one to seven days. On the other hand, ocean freight usually requires several weeks. This is because the transit time must include the distance separating the place of origin and the harbor of the destination, the means of movement, and the customs clearing process.

Online Shipment Platform

While considering how long it will be for items to be relocated, don’t forget to incorporate the movement of goods from the storehouse to the port or airport, and then to the merchant upon arrival. Therefore, when looking to work with a freight provider, you must ensure that they are going to work with you and your goods from “door-to-door.”

2. Properly packaging your shipment is of the utmost importance

No matter what you are sending or how you are sending it, you need to give a significant amount of thought to how you are packing your goods. Not only does the packing material that you choose need to be strong enough to endure handling, moisture, and other hazards that are inevitable when moving, but it also needs to be lightweight so that you aren’t paying an additional amount simply for packaging.

Additionally, different countries have varying import restrictions and quarantine requirements which also need to be taken into account.

Speak with your freight forwarder for advice on the ideal packaging for your product, as they will be aware of any specialist equipment that you may need to use when shipping from China, shipping from Germany, or wherever your goods are coming from and going to.

3. Insurance is always a good idea

Regardless of what you are sending, where you are sending it, or how it is getting there, insurance is always a good idea — just in case. Generally, freight forwarding companies extend insurance charges for your things, but it is highly recommended that you get additional coverage that is more inclusive and overarching.

Especially for smaller businesses, taking out insurance is essential for maintaining peace of mind that your products are going to be in safe hands.

In addition, working with a respected international freight forwarding company that has years of successful experience concerning moving items around the world is the best way to take your business to the next level and feel confident that your items are going to arrive where you want them to, when you expect them to.

Does your business participate in global trade? Do you use international shipping companies? What are some of the challenges related to engaging in this type of work? Let us know in the comments below!


Toby Edwards is the CEO of Shipa Freight and is based in Dubai. Shipa Freight is a new online platform powered by Agility that makes it easy to get air and ocean freight quotes, book, pay and track shipments online. Shipa Freight empowers small and medium-size businesses, taking the complexity out of International Freight Forwarding, making it easy to manage legal, regulatory and compliance issues, and offering convenient ways to pay to move their goods.