Shipment Process

Neil Updated by Neil

The responsibilities of the shipper are mentioned and described in the Request for Freight Quote. All the documents sent to you must be vigilantly read and then signed as they may carry vital clauses, which may cause you expensive delays with your shipment. You also possess some custom responsibilities, which are discussed in the Customs Process.  This topic will provide you with the process that is undertaken by the forwarder from end to end.

The shipment is forklifted onto a truck for pickup. Then the same truck goes to the consolidation area near the port for documentation. It then clears the customs and then is loaded on the vessel. Once the vessel reaches its destination, the process is repeated in reverse.

It seems pretty straightforward and comforting, but many things can go utterly wrong during the process. Even a minute error can cause a significant halt for the shipment and you.


Shipment Stages

Pickup– If you have agreed upon EXW’s incoterm with your supplier, then the forwarder’s local agent will be involved if the parties have agreed on the terms. You can include loading as the requirement in your agreement so that supplier is deemed to help to load the shipment.

Origin– This stage is all about the process between the shipment’s pickup to the offloading of the shipment on the vessel. It’ll be transited.

When your shipment is not using the entire container, it is sent to a warehouse packed with other shipments in a consolidated manner.

Your shipment has to clear the customs then. Documentation is verified at that moment. In some countries like China, the clearance is quick and easy, but other countries like the US have a less flexible system in the clearance process.

The shipment is then transited to the port via trucks where the terminal operators load the shipment on the ship or plane securely.

Main Transit– In this stage, the shipment is either flown via plane or shipped from the exporting country to the importing country. It is the main branch of the entire process as, in this process, the location of shipment changes. You should confirm with your forwarder regarding the date of arrival of your shipment.

Destination– This is a reverse process in which the shipment is unloaded from the vessel. In this, the customs clearance is stricter, and verification is more thorough. It consists of unloading, deconsolidation, and customs clearance.

Delivery– When the shipment is transited from the port or airport to your final destination, and after the process of customs clearance, the shipment has to be delivered to your warehouse or the destination. The shipment may be stopped in between for prepping work. Proper equipment and people must be present if the shipment is being moved to a warehouse.



Your forwarder is responsible for all the tasks during this shipment process.

You have to be quick and vigilant about all the documentation regarding different aspects of your shipment.


Next Read Customs Process

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Shipment Basics