Agricultural Export Transportation Handbook

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This handbook provides a compilation of best industry practices, and its recommendations have been shown to be effective under normal conditions.

Is your company ready to take advantage of these export opportunities? Have you developed an international marketing plan? Do you know which foreign market( s) hold the greatest potential and risk for your product(s) and have you located foreign customers? These are a few of the questions your company needs to answer before shipping product(s) overseas.

This publication provides you with a list of resources to help answer these questions. But mainly, the handbook looks at the transportation portion of the export process, that is, how to physically move agricultural products overseas with a focus on shipping high-value or value-added agricultural products. (Limited information on shipping bulk commodities is included.)

Many shippers rely simply on a freight forwarder, a travel agent for cargo, to handle all their transportation needs. The right freight forwarder is a valuable ally, but the shipper must also take an active role. It is the shipper’s reputation and repeat sales that are on the line. By understanding who are the key players and their responsibilities, incoterms (international commercial terms), ocean and air cargo services, transport documentation, cargo insurance, methods of payment, and product handling, shippers can work with their freight forwarder to better ensure the success of their export venture.

This handbook provides an overview of an export shipment, highlighting what parties are involved and their responsibilities. It looks at the role of the freight forwarder, non-vessel operating common carrier, and customs broker. Incoterms, how to quote a price, and methods of payment are also covered as are ocean and air transportation. It explains the more common documents used in export transportation and provides samples. It also explains the different types of cargo insurance, where to obtain it, and the procedures to follow when filing a claim. It offers guidelines for the safe transport of agricultural products to the overseas buyer, including tips on cooling, grading, packing, loading, storage, and the selection of transport equipment and mode of transportation. The sections on trade assistance and publications are included to provide shippers with other sources of information when the answer cannot be found within this text.

Ellen M.Welby
Brian McGregor