Your First Shipment Checklist – The Importer’s Starter Pack
A new year has arrived and it’s time to import your first shipment from overseas. Organising your first shipment with ICE does take some initial preparation but once we receive all the information and documentation we require, we’ll get your goods moving without delay!
Below we’ve put together a ‘first shipment checklist’ for your import. It will act as your starter pack so you know exactly what information to provide your freight forwarder.
Remember: the sooner we obtain the below information, the sooner we can start organising your shipment.
#1 Supplier details
It’s crucial to provide us with the following basic details about your supplier:
- Supplier name
- Supplier address
- Supplier contact person name
- Supplier contact details
We’ll need this information to identify who your supplier is and who is the right person with whom to organise your shipment.
#2 Cargo Ready Date
The Cargo Ready Date (CRD) is the day that your cargo is expected to be available at the supplier’s location (or some other location). This is the anticipated date when your cargo will be ready to be picked up by a carrier which, if handling on EXW terms, we will organise.
If you decide to deliver your cargo to relevant drop off-point on your own, for example when shipping on FOB terms, the CRD will be date you drop off the cargo. This might be at a seaport or an airport.
#3 Target Date
The Target Date is the date by which you would like your cargo delivered to the end destination. This may be a week or a month after your Cargo Ready Date depending on your business goals.
By providing us with a Target Date, we’ll have a better understanding of your final deadline and can work around your requirements accordingly.
#4 Preferred Method of Shipping (Air or Sea)
Please let us know how you would prefer your shipment to be transported, so that we can determine if your shipment will be air freight or ocean freight.
There’s a range of factors to consider when deciding whether you should ship your cargo by air or by sea. Some factors include the cost (where sea freight is generally cheaper), speed (air freight is usually much faster), reliability and the impact on the natural environment.
#5 Details of your shipment
When providing us the details of your shipment, please let us know the following information:
- The contents of your shipment;
- The weight and dimensions of the items;
- Whether the shipment is Full Container Load (FCL) or Less than Container Load (LCL);
- Whether your cargo is air freight or sea freight; and
- What commodity your shipment contains i.e. machinery or perishable goods
By providing us such information, we’ll be able to assess the safest and most efficient way to organise your shipment. We’ll also be able to advise you on the most cost-effective way to facilitate your import.
#6 Delivery Point and contact details
Please provide us with the point of delivery. This means a specific address, so we know exactly where your shipment must be dropped off. If delivering a full container (FCL) we will also want to know which way you would like the container doors to face on the truck. You should also provide us with the contact details of the personnel located at the delivery point. This is so we are able to arrange the logistics of delivery prior to the Target Date.
Finally, you’ll need to provide us with the following documentation so that we can facilitate your import:
- Customs Clearance Authority (CCA). This is a document that you, the importer, will sign to authorise a freight forwarder (such as ICE Cargo), to customs clear goods on your behalf. Without this document, your freight forwarder will have no authority to carry out the actions required for your import.
- Letter of Credit Application. When you order your goods from a supplier, the most common way to pay them is to obtain a letter of credit from a financial institution such as a bank. Please provide us your application for the letter of credit so we can ensure the supplier receives security for their payment.
#8 Further documentation for shipping
There are further documents that your supplier will give to you as your import progresses. These documents will need to be sent to your freight forwarder as you receive them. Some of these documents include:
- Commercial invoice. After securing your supplier via a letter of credit, you’ll receive a commercial invoice detailing the price and the amount of the sold goods. This document is required for customs clearance.
- Packing List. The supplier will also provide you with a Packing List, usually given together with your commercial invoice. It will contain vital information such as how your goods will be packed, the cargo weight and dimensions.
- Packing Declaration. Only a requirement if your freight is shipped by sea. Customs will need this documentation to identify the packing material of your goods.
- Certificate of Origin. Suppliers will prepare this document if exporting from a country with a free-trade agreement with Australia. You’ll be able to avoid duty charges if your supplier provides you this certificate.
For a comprehensive understanding on all documents associated with shipping and a detailed outline of the shipping process, see our blog on the entire shipping process step-by-step. See also our blog on the five documents you will need for imports and exports.
Need Further Information?
You may have several questions especially if this is your first shipment with us.
If you need more information about what to prepare for your first import, do not hesitate to get in touch with our friendly ICE team or leave a comment below.