Sea Shipment Process Flow–DOC and Cargo flow of logistics-Step-By-Step

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This infographic is a step-by-step guide to the international shipping process:Hurdles in the shipping process The shipping process can be troublesome and intimidating for importers and exporters, given the number of steps, players and documents involved. These are some of the most common problems they can face:,you have been dealing with will then contact their overseas partner to arrange the collection of the goods. The overseas representative will in turn contact the relevant supplier and arrange for the export of the buyer’s goods. This will involve the preparation of several key documents used in the international shipping process which are required for customs purposes. Documents that need to be prepared by the supplier A Packing List : a supplier will prepare a packing list which will be used by a freight forwarder to highlight all the information regarding the freight being transported.

How the Shipping Process works Contrary to popular belief, the international shipping process does not start when a product is loaded onto a ship. It starts much earlier, when an importer identifies the need for that product and floats an enquiry to procure it

As such, the shipping process covers the flow of goods and documents from the place of origin to the place of destination

we are covering the 15 steps of international freight forwarding (shipping)

Step #1: Importer requests quotes and orders goods.

Importer: The importer is the buyer,also we mean consignee .

  • once send a quote with the supplier, the supplier will send a document: proforma invoice
  • Agreeing on shipping incoterms,incoterms is very import for International Trade
  • incoterms are essentially the terms that allocate the costs and the risks between the buyer and seller when shipping. Essentially, they determine who is responsible for what whilst the goods are moving from Point A to Point B. usually terms is EXW or FOB
  • once the order is sure, then the factory arranges the product and checks the ready ok date.
  • Engaging a freight forwarder:To meet the required timeline for shipments, freight forwarder schedules shipping line for transportation. This step not only covers costs involved in shipping from port-to-port but also the levied surcharges like currency adjustment factor, exchange rates, etc. 

Step #2: Freight forwarder arranges export

  • freight forwarding including :Booking, trucking, customs clearance and doc, now more and more business person hope logistics provider can supply one-stop service

Step #3:freight forwarders checking doc info for shipments:

  • booking info /SI sent to shipping lines/draft bill /invoice, packing list .vgm, co, fumigate certificate if wood package and so on required documents, so as to imported goods smoothly
  • SI info including shipper : shipper company, address, phone.
  • consignee info : consignee company name, destination addresses,phone ,contact person.
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Step#4. empty container pick up

pick up before 1 day loading, be careful check container, our driver will check the container quality

  • pick up cargo –container is delivered to supplier factory.Export Haulage The first physical step your cargo will take on its sea freight journey is called export haulage – when your load is moved from the original manufacturer’s or exporter’s warehouse to the origin warehouse.
  • Origin handling: This step covers all physical handling, inspection, and loading of the cargo

Step#5.container arrival to port and loading to vessel

  • container cut off date is the deadline container need gate into port. these containers are loaded onto a vessel,where they will be sailed to their destination country.

Step#6. before container go-to vessel--need VGM, Export custom clearance released.

A really large number of containers are being collected in a terminal, so cut off date must be kept because enough time for loading and unloading is necessary

Step#7: Container lift to vessel by Gantry crane

container weight is limited by ship and port. normally container limited weight is 25tons.whether 20ft or 40ft.

Step#8.B/L is issued when is container loaded to vessel

  • forwarder will issue b/l to shipper, shipper send original to the consignee by Courier(such as DHL or FedEx)
  • consignee get B/O to pick up D/O

Step#9. Export Ocean

  • The vessel is sometimes delayed as wether or port block up,but this cannot be helped.

Destination handling

This involves transportation and unloading of cargo from port to destination warehouse.

Step#10. Arrival notice issued (A/N)

  • Before cargo arrival to port, arrival notice is issued and sent to consignee–arrival notice has a number of costs, such as THC(Terminal handling charge), D/O, DOC, and so on, which importer must pay.

Step#11.Payment for A/N and submit a bill of lading

Step#12. release D/O

Step#13.import custom clearance

  • after receiving the payment, the importer’s forwarder finishes custom clearance with the doc, such as invoice, packing list, co. if there is no problem with the declaration, customs issue import permit. but if not, then an inspection will be needed.If a freight forwarder holds a valid license, they can handle the import customs clearance ,This clearance is performed by customs house broker appointed by the consignee

Step#14.container release

  • Import haulage: obtained D/O and custom clearance released, paid Customs Duty,container release. 

Step#15.cargo delivery

  • the consignee can pick up containers to home. the truck arrives at the destination, cargo unloaded the container to return to port. The final step of actual delivery of the product to the consignee and ultimately to the consumer, Consignee: a person/company dealing with shipment at receiving end.this ended delivery

When shipping by sea, exporters can pick one of two shipping modes – Full Container Load (FCL) or Less than Container Load (LCL),

When the consignment takes up an entire shipping container, it is called FCL shipping. This mode is suitable for large consignments that need to be transported in the shortest possible time by sea.

LCL shipping mean less container loading. process is same, just several customers order combine to one full container. ship together.

Other Logistics and transportation process explained

Export customs clearance

Custom’s clearance means an exchange where an official declares the situation and the necessary documents must go before authorities. This should be done in conjunction with a custom house broker. The export custom clearance process is typically required in order for cargo leaving a country at origin, but when not performed by shipping forwarders it may be required by the freight forwarders at the point it entered its destination warehouse. Other authorised custom agents are primarily appointed by the shippers directly and there will be no formalities involved in the ship. Both types of clearance may occur.

Main players in the shipping process

Importers determine when something is needed in a geographical area that can be reached and determine the best possible global supplier to sell. Exporters: Exporters produce products based on the customer needs or purchases those needed from them. Bank: Banks provide banking services including mortgage loans, documents for financing and credit cards. Insurance companies can cover loss or damage of materials incurred on a truck’s return journey due to damage from an accident or other loss that happened. Freight forwarders – Freight forwarders are agents for importers that work collaboratively with others.


The three important types of documentation for goods that need shipping are the invoices, the contracts or packing statements and the shipment documents. In general, this is a document sent to the shipping company that certifies how long the shipment has been waiting on delivery. A commercial invoice lists the price of the merchandise and their kinds as well as the destination. The packing list is similar to a commercial invoice. With every document you need along this journey a reliable and well experienced shipping service may well be an important first step.

Your Shipping Timeline

Understanding the time it takes to reach your destination can make a difference in managing your cargo. Keep in mind things that can affect delivery for your shipment. Is it possible to import products from abroad? Can I get more information from them via my contact form?

Booking of freight

Once these documents are approved the customer can take an export order at the supplier’s expense. There are numerous factors that will affect the booking of goods and will often be necessary, especially when goods will need transport in crowded ships.

Goods to travel to international depot/port

Once the goods are packaged, the goods go into the shipment depot for export. According to the carrier terms, they can either be agreed by the provider or by the shippers by the shipment forwarder. Export approval could also ensue.

When you are building a supply chain that involves ocean freight , there are a lot of decisions. A shipping line is a working ecosystem with each cog playing a part in a symbiotic relationship. You must decide what is best for your business, and the only way to make an informed decision is if you are fully informed.

Honourocean for smooth shipping

Online service greatly eases shipment processes. Honourocean aims to simplify it. I have developed and distributed a supply chain solution for various key participants within our international trading networks.

Honourocean is 12 years Freight Forwarder: the logistics transport provider. Besides sea freight, our freight forwarding also includes Air freight. trusted logistics provider you can contact now.

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