freight cargo ship movingFor centuries sea freight has remained the most widely used transportation method. Approximately 90% of global trade is transported by more than 50,000 international sea freight carriers around the world. For Australian importers and exporters, it’s important to have an established freight forwarder with global networks to handle your cargo to ensure you receive a good quality, efficient service.

As leading international sea freight and air freight specialists, we receive numerous calls each week about sea freight quotes, sea freight rates, and shipping processes where customers need shipping processes clearly explained so they can be prepared and get their cargo moving fast. Some of the most common questions include: ‘what documents are required to get your freight moving’, ‘whether itemised quotes can be provided’, ‘how much is shipping going to cost’ and ‘what documents are required to get the freight moving’.

Read on to learn 4 common sea freight questions and answers to assist you with your freight forwarding.

What is the difference between an Original Bill of Lading, a Seaway Bill of Lading and a Telex Release Bill of Lading in freight forwarding?

The documents required for freight forwarding can be quite confusing. One question that is frequently asked from new freight forwarding customers is regarding the difference between an Original Bill of Lading, a Seaway Bill of Lading and a Telex Release Bill of Lading.

An Original Bill of Lading is produced and provided to the shipper. The shipper will either send the Original Bill of Lading to the importer or usually hold it until payment has been made. Upon the shipper’s authorisation to release goods, the Original Bill of Lading can be sent to the importer in which they can surrender it to the freight forwarding company to secure the release of the air freight or sea freight shipment.

A Seaway Bill of Lading is a document of title used on a trust basis between the Shipper and Importer. This means no Original Bill of Lading is required and goods are automatically authorised for release at destination.

In the case of a Telex Release Bill of Lading, an Original Bill of Lading is still issued to the shipper once cargo is on board. Once the shipper has decided to release their hold on the cargo, they will surrender the Original Bill of Lading back to the office of the shipping company that issued it rather than forward it on to the importer. The origin office for the shipping company will then electronically message their destination office to inform them that the Original Bill of Lading has been surrendered and to authorise release of the goods to the importer.

Can BCR provide an all-inclusive sea freight quote instead of a detailed itemised quote?

In the freight forwarding industry, there are many different sea freight quote formats. Some freight forwarding companies total sea freight quotes, while others provide an itemised list of charges. At BCR, when we provide a sea freight quote, we provide a detailed itemised list of all charges for the shipment instead of a total quote. Providing an all-inclusive quote is likely to cause disappointment for the shipper as there are numerous variables that make up the final price and some of the information provided to formulate the sea freight quote may be incorrect or different than originally thought.

Some of the items that may be inaccurate include type of goods to be shipped, number of packages, actual weight of the shipment, dimensions of the shipment, terms of sale (Incoterms), pick-up and drop-off address. Small discrepancies will vary the price when compared with the quote. An additional item to consider is the currency the itemised charges will be charged in and the exchange rate for those currencies.

What documents are required by your freight forwarding company when importing into Australia?

To import sea freight to Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth (Fremantle) or any other destination within Australia, a freight forwarding company will require documentation from you and your business. To increase the speed at which your freight forwarding company can get your sea freight moving, it is important to have the following freight forwarding documents ready:

  • Bill of Lading
  • Commercial Invoice
  • Packing List
  • Packing Declaration Form
  • Fumigation Certificate (If applicable)
  • Manufacturing Declaration (if applicable)

How much is it going to cost to move my sea freight shipment?

Importing or exporting sea freight to or from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth (Fremantle) or anywhere else in Australia requires a sea freight quote from a freight forwarding company so you have an estimation of the service price. Sea freight is priced either as a LCL (Less than Container Load) or as a FCL (Full Container Load). LCL sea freight shipments will be consolidated with other LCL shipments to build a FCL. Sea freight shipment quotations can include three different sections or charges which include:

  • Origin charges
  • Freight charges
  • Destination charges

Once the required information has been gathered from you, an expert Freight Forwarder such as BCR can easily prepare a timely freight forwarding quote based on the size of your sea freight shipment and the Incoterms the products have been purchased under.

In today’s dynamic globally sourcing world, busy logistics solutions and Freight Managers are always looking for the most efficient sea freight service, and as such need to be informed on commonly asked questions. To read more commonly asked questions, check out our Frequently Asked Questions section.

For more than a century, BCR has continued to help small, medium and large businesses achieve an optimum logistics solution with warehousing and transportation, including air freight and sea freight services to and from the major ports including BrisbaneSydneyMelbourne, Adelaide and Fremantle (Perth).