As the Operations Manager for a business experiencing monthly growth, you may find there is a need to ship ever-increasing amounts of product internationally. This often makes the company’s sea freight operations more complex. Challenges may include fluctuations in international sea freight rates, non-availability of space on vessels, incomplete documentation, less than effective information flow and sometimes delays in shipping due to unforeseen changes in shipping routes.

It’s potentially a major source of stress – because not getting the shipping right can impact both customers and the business bottom line.

Experience is a great teacher – and Australian companies that have navigated the complexities of managing this scenario have some important lessons to share.

Keep reading to find out how this hard-won wisdom can help your booming business productively navigate international sea freight logistics hurdles.

1) Long-term contracts bring price stability and space availability

Between changing crude oil prices, fluctuating demand, changing shipping line policies and variations in government rules and regulations, shipping rates can be a movable feast. It just adds to the challenge for a logistics solutions or operations manager never being quite sure what’s on the menu or how much it might cost.

Also, it can be a time-consuming task keeping on top of what space is available, especially during peak seasons when shipping lines preference their regular customers.

These fluctuations have a flow-on effect in that it can become a challenge to price products at the end point.

One way to overcome these hurdles is to sign a long-term contract with a freight company. This enables you to leverage their established relationships with shipping lines in terms of stable freight rates and committed space.

2) Complete Accurate & Timely (CAT) documentation to stay on track

Having the documentation right is the best way to ensure there are reduced chances of detention or delays of your imports or exports.

There are a lot of formalities involved when it comes to international shipping, and any incompleteness, inaccuracy or delay in the documentation can result in both time and cost penalties.

To take the Herculean task of keeping track of all the necessary international requirements for both point-of-origin ports and destination ports off your shoulders, you can benefit from aligning with an experienced freight forwarder. They not only know all the requirements, they can work with you to keep everything on track, on time and on budget.

3) Timely information enables pro-active decisions

Having accurate information about in-transit inventory of products is important for planning subsequent activities such as storage, production, sales promotions and distribution.

Any relevant information needs to be proactively and regularly communicated so this planning can be effective. This requires professional teamwork and coordination between your upstream supply chain at the point of origin and your warehouse or customer destination.

International freight forwarders have established practices that maintain this information flow with their partners, which means you are constantly informed about these crucial links in your supply chain and the status of inventory in-transit.

4) Accessing a network to ship to or from anywhere

So you found a new market – great! However, working out how to buy or sell in a new geography can be challenging. It can add an extra load in terms of working out new shipping routes, for one.

Then, there are added concerns in terms of potentially not having a network established in a timely manner, which might mean delays that compromise business growth.

That’s where a freight expert is your ally – they have ready-to-use shipping networks which are time-tested and can partner with your business to ensure the growth curve stays on an upward trajectory.

5) Collaborate with an experienced international sea freight forwarder

Growing a business demands a lot of attention across every aspect – marketing, sales, operations, HR and IT. That means CEOs and managers need to be clear on what must be done in house, and what can be done more effectively through outsourcing,

International sea freight forwarding is one of the aspects experience has shown benefits from being handled by a specialist provider that is across its complexities.

Key to making this work effectively is identifying what your unique requirements are, and then matching that with a potential provider. The payoff is, by handing over the complexities of sea shipping to the right expert, you have more time to focus on meeting core business requirements.

*The right partner is the right decision

When you are growing your business and juggling a hectic schedule of multiple priorities simultaneously, save some time, energy and resources by leveraging the expertise of others.

International sea freight is one operational aspect you can confidently outsource, by partnering with an expert that has the professionalism, network and experience to meet the needs of your business and its customers.

That also liberates time and energy for you to focus on core tasks – including how you can support the to growth of your business’ bottom line.

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).