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Balance: The Key to Successful International Shipping

International shipping can be a distressing experience in today’s environment. Carrier instability, carrier alliances, peak season capacity issues, port issues − all increase risk in global commerce. Added to cost and service issues, what happens if something goes awry and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) takes interest in your compliance platform or lack thereof?

At Transportation Insight, we divide our international service platform into three critical component parts: managing the cost of each booking, managing the service requirements and options for each booking, and managing the compliance requirements for each booking. Cost, service, compliance − all in balance with equal emphasis. Focusing too much or too little on each of these components will definitely throw the entire service platform out of balance.

Cost and Service have traditionally been looked upon as two elements with a direct tradeoff. Many think that faster service equals higher costs. However, experienced operators within the international transportation arena know that is not true in all cases. Compressed rates in periods of constrained capacity may lead to a bumping situation. Likewise, considering the volatility of carrier service, trade lanes and pinch points, making a service decision without considering alternatives and options can lead to issues with performance. We believe balance in service and price begins with a full understanding of the end in mind with each booking. Knowing the requirements for the right product to be at the right place and the right time, leads to the right cost. Pricing service in a vacuum can produce marginal results.

Regarding compliance, many importers/exporters face challenges when a well-defined compliance platform does not get the same focus as cost and service. With the implementation of the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act (TFTEA) and the advent of the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE), compliance absolutely must get equal focus. When the focus on compliance gets out of balance, penalties and costs can be crippling to a company, not to mention the long-term impact on image.

Given the current marketplace conditions, many importers and exporters simply do not have the expertise to maintain the necessary balance when it comes to their global business platform, and they often engage a third party to assist in balancing cost.  Does your third-party partner take a balanced, well-conceived approach to your global needs with a laser focus on your end in mind?

Transportation Insight’s international logistics experts take a very thoughtful and comprehensive approach to your international shipping program from the moment we engage with your organization. We talk through the service requirements mandated by your company. We learn as much as we can about the requirements of your foreign vendors and customers. Starting with the end in mind and the desired outcome, our group of professionals work backward, identifying cost/service options and thoroughly designing import/export practices to insure 100% compliance.

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