The right questions to ask before shipping to a new customer

The right questions to ask before shipping to a new customer

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Before exporting or importing your first consignment there are some very important questions to ask us. It is important that you understand the processes to be followed, how much it will cost and when to expect completion. But there are many other factors that you need to be aware of.

The very best way is to schedule a meeting with us to go through your requirements.

There are many pitfalls that may cost a lot of money if they are not attended to, such as the best buying / selling terms, way of transport etc.

Importing and exporting involves many parties such as shipping lines, air lines, various government agencies in diverse countries around the globe, as well as specific requirements in various countries such as pre shipment inspections and so on. It is advisable that you sit together with a knowledgeable person of your forwarder so he can advise you about the best way to import or export your first consignment.

Here is an overview of the most important factors:


These are the terms and conditions that rule who pays which part of the transport charges from door to door and who has to accept which risk when it comes to shipping consignments. They should be part of any sales agreement so that both parties know in advance where they stand.

Let us combine maximum control with minimum risk.

Way of transport

Consider your own best interest, taking into consideration transport costs, time it takes for you to get paid by your customer as well as reliability of the carrier.

Also, the rate of exchange to other major currencies play an important role. Remember that an exporter will have to pay for the goods he sells up front, but only gets paid once the consignment arrives with the consignee.

If you buy goods abroad how long does it take for them to get to South Africa? The longer it takes the longer you will have to wait to re-sell them or use them in your system. All these and more factors play a major role.

Ask for a quotation

Prior to shipping a consignment it is imperative that you get a detailed written quotation. In order to calculate it for you the following information is required:

  • The weight and dimensions of your consignment (20’ or 40’ Container).
  • Value of your consignment.
  • Incoterms®.
  • Place of origin.
  • Place of destination.
  • Mode of transport.

After your quotation has been completed your Forwarder should go through the pricing with you, making sure you to understand fully how the pricing is made up. It is important that the quotation is transparent and covers all aspects in detail.

If it doesn’t, then you are at risk.