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A Glossary of International Shipping Terms

Arnesh Roy | July 13, 2020 | Export Basics

Shipping products seems simple, right? You simply package the product and send it to your customer. But did you know there are different types of shipment?

Depending on the size of your shipment, it may be considered parcel, less-than-load (LTL), or a full truckload (FTL) shipment. Your shipment may be too small for certain carriers, or conversely, if you have a large shipment, you may have to rely on a carrier certified to be able to ship large containers. There are also unique considerations depending on the mode of transport—whether you’re shipping via air, sea, road, or rail.

The wide variety of terms that relate to the process of moving goods through a supply chain can seem overwhelming. But understanding the different types of shipment and related terms is crucial to ensure your goods get shipped on-time, within compliance, and in good shape.

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What's the Difference between a Schedule B Code and an HS Number?

David Noah | July 8, 2020 | Automated Export System (AES), Export Basics

“All squares are rectangles, but not all rectangles are squares.”

That idea really confounded me as a child learning geometry. How could one belong to another, yet the inverse not be true? As my teacher explained, the difference lies in specificity.

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An Introduction to Incoterms

David Noah | June 24, 2020 | Export Basics, Incoterms

If you ship goods domestically, you may wonder why you need to know Incoterms too. FOB is FOB, isn't it?

Well, actually, no—it's not!

While the vast majority of companies in the United States use the shipping terms identified under the U.S. Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) when shipping domestically, these shipping terms aren't appropriate to use when exporting.

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Understanding International Sales Contracts

David Noah | June 17, 2020 | Export Basics

Understanding and creating international sales contracts is a necessary and important part of a successful exporter’s toolkit. Differences in exporters’ and importers’ traditions and backgrounds, as well as laws and regulations governing international sales, can cause complications you may not have thought about, which is why written contracts are crucial.

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The Export Shipping Documentation Process

David Noah | June 3, 2020 | Export Basics, Export Forms

In a previous article, I explained the purpose of several common export documents and the information they typically include. This article expands on that discussion and explains how to use them in the export shipping documentation process.

Here’s how they work together:

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World Trade Month 2020 Wrap-Up

David Noah | June 1, 2020 | Import Basics, Export Basics

When the World Trade Month Association chose the theme for May 2020—Growing Exports in Uncertain Times—the group had no idea just how uncertain things would become.

A year ago much of the uncertainty of international trade focused on the United States' trade war with China, the United Kingdom's implementation of Brexit, the implementation of new U.S. tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum, and negotiations between the U.S., Canada and Mexico on a new free trade agreement to replace NAFTA.

But things really turned upside down with the outbreak of a global pandemic that is infecting millions.  In addition, it's causing major disruptions of world economies that, at best, is changing the way many companies are conducting business and, at worse, causing businesses to close and millions of workers to lose their jobs.

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Middleman Blues: How to Make Sure You Don’t Get Cut Out of the Loop

Joseph A. Robinson | May 18, 2020 | Export Basics

A middleman is a person or organization that provides services and offers something of value to both buyer and seller. In other words, a bona fide middle person bridges the gap between suppliers and buyers by initiating quality contacts, providing sourcing services for buyers, assuring reliability of suppliers, and ensuring a continuous supply of products.

This matchmaking process can be hard work and deserves to be appropriately compensated. But once the suitors have been introduced and the relationship has been consummated, how can you, as a middleman, protect yourself from being cut out of the deal?

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May Is World Trade Month

David Noah | April 29, 2020 | Import Basics, Export Basics

May is World Trade Month, and with it, several events designed to celebrate the importance of international trade to the U.S. economy and to teach new and experienced exporters about the various aspects of international trade in this changing global economy.

This year's theme is "Growing exports in uncertain times," and I can guarantee you that no one who picked that title had any idea just how uncertain things would be in May 2020.

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10 Terms You Need to Know to Get Paid for Your Exports

David Noah | April 15, 2020 | Export Finance, Export Basics

What’s the most rewarding, and sometimes frustrating, aspect of being an exporter for you? For many, it’s simply getting paid on time and in the correct amount.

The rewarding part is self-explanatory. Obviously, we need to be able to earn a living! But the frustrating part is worth considering.

Take a look at these 10 terms and see if they can help you better understand the payment process (so you can make a profit sooner!).

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Supply Chain Uncertainty: Responding to COVID-19 and Future Disruptions

Jake Rheude | April 13, 2020 | Import Basics, Export Basics

The markets and grocery stores are bare, people are anxious, and business owners are losing sleep because no one is sure what to do next or how to meet demand.

The COVID-19 outbreak has ground many supply chains to a halt and significantly slowed the rest. It’s a tough time to try and move forward while also protecting your people and livelihood.

While this all is happening, it’s an appropriate time to think about supply chains and see where we can do things differently down the road. Will we be ready for the next black swan event?

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