June 30, 2022
The latest news, company announcements, DGX events and industry-position posts.

Comprehensive glossary of international shipping terms

March 11, 2022

For your convenience, DGX-Dependable Global Express has compiled an extensive, easy-to-use Glossary of International Shipping Terms. With 300+ commercial transportation terms, our is one of the largest, most comprehensive glossaries available online.

Glossary of International Shipping Terms

Why learn Shipping Industry terminology? Every industry has a special language with terms, acronyms, abbreviations, jargon, etc. that are uniquely theirs. The shipping industry is no exception.

Through our 40+ years in the business we’ve found that if we help customers understand commercial shipping language—including for air freight, ocean freight, trucking, rail, import/export, warehousing & distribution, logistics—the shipping process from Pickup to Delivery goes faster and smoother, saving time and money.

We invite you to visit, bookmark and come back often when there’s shipping industry jargon being slung around! And, if you have suggestions for additional terms, please let us know.

Our International Shipping Terms Glossary is a very easy-to-use, one-page index with an alphabetical search at the top of the page, Expand All/Collapse All functions, and convenient “Back to Top” links after each alphabetic section. 

Whatever your shipping needs may require, DGX’s dedicated team of highly experienced transportation specialists are available to help you. Contact us today.

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How is the current crises in Ukraine affecting international shipping?

March 8, 2022

DGX shares global sentiment for a quick end to the Ukraine crisis, especially the terrible suffering for innocent civilians.


As trade sanctions take hold in Russia and Ukraine, shippers are undoubtedly encountering shipping carrier notices regarding suspended services to Russia and Ukraine that are having unintended consequences for all international transportation.

To help minimize disruptions as much as possible for the international shipping community and our customers, DGX-Dependable Global Express is monitoring daily reports from all our ocean and air carriers to help with scheduling adjustments as necessary.

Importantly, we strongly recommend cargo insurance for any and all shipments. If you need help, contact us immediately and we'll guide you through the steps to properly insure all cargo for any shipping mode.

Significant delays in key transshipment hubs caused by increased inspections on restricted or banned goods are affecting Customs clearance in affected transshipment hubs. To help, DGX is analyzing each new shipping request to determine what alternative shipping methods should be recommended, such as:

  • Air freight instead of ocean
  • LCL rather than FCL
  • Backup port pairs ,when feasible
  • Inland trucking options.

As a long-term commercial shipping and logistics company, we are alerted promptly to disruptions that impact current or upcoming shipments such as:

  • Carrier lane closures
  • Route changes/detours
  • Changes to tariffs
  • Updates on restricted cargo.

We study all notifications and pass along alternative shipping recommendations as relevant to all DGX customers. Even if you are not currently a DGX customer, please contact us and we will help you analyze your best alternatives.

As we hope for an end to hostilities, here are a few links to charitable organizations serving in Ukraine for consideration:

As part of the personalized attention that we provide to every customer, DGX assigns you a dedicated sales agent at the front end of your shipment planning.

For more information, you can contact us in the following ways:

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How to get commercial ocean shipments to their destination faster? Consider shipping by air freight...

February 4, 2022

Air freight is used to transport goods over a long distance in a short period of time.
You’ve seen the photos of freight container ships stalled in ports as the pandemic continues its massive disruption in global supply chains, challenging practically every industry here at home and around the globe.

Shipping and delivery companies are scrambling to fill the needs of customers and clients. Assuming you’re experiencing the same obstacles, we strongly recommend considering air freight vs. ocean freight as an expeditious and reliable option.

What challenges can air freight solve for you?
  1. Speed
    • You need that special replacement part now
    • You have perishables and products with a short shelf life
  2. Reliability
    • Your business requires reliable departure and arrival times
  3. Cost Efficiency
    • Less packaging is required for shipments
    • Insurance premiums will likely be less
    • More security and reduced risk of theft and damage
    • And lower need for warehousing and on-hand inventory
Understanding potential shipping issues is crucial to keeping your business viable.
Shipping and delivery obstacles can include:
  1. COVID-19 regulations and requirements
  2. Miscommunication
  3. Delivery delays
  4. Dependencies on available people and equipment
  5. Labor and union labor shortages
  6. The inability to manage multiple customers’ requests
  7. Keeping customers updated
  8. Delivering goods without damage
  9. High increased delivery costs

Every air shipment starts with an expedited transit pickup that goes to the flight’s departure airport for air processing and tender at the cargo facility. You’ll need careful guidance, especially during these trying transportation times, to help you handle all of the air freight logistics from pickup to delivery.

How is it we’re so knowledgeable about commercial goods transportation? DGX-Dependable Global Express and the Dependable Companies have decades of experience specializing in domestic and global air freight service. Because we own much of our own equipment in the US we can help ensure reliability for shipments going out from the US, across the US, or incoming from other countries.

We offer a unique package of shipping services. With air as one option, our experienced team of professionals will determine the solution that best fits your needs and expectations.

If you’d like to explore shipping via air vs. ocean, please reach out to one of our local offices, or call toll-free 1.800.700.3858, and we can help.

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How will the Chinese & Japanese New Years Affect My Shipments?

December 30, 2021

There are many schedule variables for commercial shippers with the upcoming Chinese and Japanese New Years holidays. With pandemic-related port congestion in the transpacific markets, increased consumer and industrial demand for products, and the recent Omicron variant outbreak; end of year and early ’22 shipping will be especially challenging even without the celebrations.

China: New Year’s Eve is January 31, 2022

  • DGX’s Shanghai office will be closed Feb 1-7 for the Chinese New Year (Spring Festival)

Please be aware most companies in China start closing 10 days prior to the official New Year’s closure dates as the great migration of workers heading back home for family celebrations begins. Drayage and trucking will be especially challenging during this time as drivers are difficult to find. All trucking and drayage will be on spot rates during this time.

We urge shippers to place bookings and shipping of products as far in advance as possible to improve the likelihood of goods shipping out prior to the Chinese New Year closures and the backlog upon China’s return to work.

Japan: New Year holiday is December 30 to January 3, 2022DGX shipping during Japanese New Year blog

New Year is the most important holiday in Japan. While only Jan 1 is designated as a national holiday, many businesses remain closed through January 3.

  • The last day to clear customs is Dec 27 or 28 depending on the region.
  • Terminal operations are also limited during the holidays. All terminals are completely shut down on New Year's Day.

Be sure to consult with your local DGX representative to go over the latest holiday closures at any port under consideration BEFORE making your shipping arrangements.

DGX monitors daily conditions and analyzes each shipment, considering alternatives such as air freight, LCL rather than FCL, backup port pairs when feasible, and inland trucking options. It is helpful to maintain a creative and flexible position to minimize costs and delays. As part of the personalized attention that we provide to every customer, DGX assigns you a dedicated sales agent at the front end of your shipment planning.

For more information, call us at (888) 488-4888 Ext. 2011. Or, for Imports, email us here. For Exports, email us here.

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What is the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug, and why does it matter in commercial shipping to New Zealand and Australia?

October 20, 2021

The Brown Marmorated Stinkbug—BMSB or stink bug—is a known pest in international shipping, particularly when shipping to Australia and New Zealand.

The BMSB can find its way inadvertently onto export shipments bound for Oceania, usually inside corrugated cartons or wood packaging, ocean containers, and breakbulk cargo. The bug feeds on many different plants and can severely damage fruits, vegetables and crops. If allowed to enter the country, it has the potential to wreak havoc on a country's agricultural industry.

The pest is so potentially damaging that both The Australian Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR) and The New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) have a rigorous set of rules to prevent the introduction and spread of the threat.

Australia and New Zealand's seasonal measures for the 2021-2022 allow non-compliant cargo to be quarantined, fumigated near the port, refused entry, or possibly destroyed at cargo owners’ expense. Fumigation season for Australia and New Zealand began with sailings from September 1, 2021, and will continue through April 30, 2022. 

Which shipments are affected?
Goods that are classed as target risk goods are not required to be treated but are subject to onshore intervention through random inspections upon arrival. However, target high-risk commodities are mandated to be fumigated by the Australian Department of Agriculture and New Zealand’s MPI.

Breakbulk, Full Container Load (FCL) containers, and Freight of All Kinds (FAK) shipments from high-risk countries including the USA that contain high-risk commodities must be fumigated. For instance, New Zealand’s target commodities include new and used vehicles, machinery and parts. For more information on New Zealand’s BMSB requirements visit here. For Australia’s target high risk commodities, visit here.

How do I make preparations for my shipment?
Be sure to consult with a professional logistics partner to go over the latest BMSB rules and fees for compliance BEFORE making your shipping arrangements. It will be critical to provide your logistics company with packing slips and packing specifications in advance to ensure compliance and avoid delays.

How do I choose a freight logistics company?
If your goods fall under a target high-risk group and come from a target risk country, you should hire a consultative forwarder such as DGX-Dependable Global Express who constantly monitors the changes to the regulations, rules and fees regarding shipments to Australia (AU) and New Zealand (NZ) during the BMSB season.

DGX has a clear understanding of this pest and will ensure your shipments are properly packed and loaded to avoid delays, quarantine, extra charges, or even rejection and re-export. We assign you a dedicated sales agent upfront who will work with all of the agents, shippers, and consignees involved with your high-risk commodities on a case-by-case basis and will provide the necessary fumigation requirements.

Now more than ever, choosing the right logistics partner is crucial for success. For more information, call us at (888) 488-4888 Ext. 2011, or email us.


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When Will the Container Chassis Shortages End in Ocean Shipping?

September 13, 2021

In light of pandemic-related port congestion globally—especially between Asia, Australia and the Americas—container chassis shortages are creating new challenges across the global supply chain:

  • Unnecessary delays to ocean shipments
  • Additional strain for shipments already facing persistent port and rail ramp congestion
  • Lack of vessel space due to export delays
  • Increased lead times for bookings

Now more than ever, choosing the right logistics partner is crucial to make sure your shipment is paired with the right equipment at the right time.

Background
Chassis for port drayage used to be owned by steamship lines and stored in the port. Changes in federal oversight regarding the roadworthiness of the equipment led most of the top carriers to exit the market, shifting ownership of chassis to third-party providers. As a result, many of the older units were gradually scrapped and not replaced, reducing the overall pool available at any one time. At the same time, increasingly larger ships began calling on ports, tying up thousands of chassis at a time. Third-party chassis pools are still searching for a model that gives them enough equipment to serve market peaks without excess equipment sitting idle during lulls.

Current Situation and Peak Season Forecast
This gradual increase in vessel TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit) capacity, combined with a decline in the numbers of available chassis at all U.S. ports, has exacerbated pandemic-related labor shortages already in place. Due to pent-up consumer demand and the subsequent surge in container volumes hitting U.S. shores, chassis shortages are expected for most ports through peak season and the remainder of 2021.

How to Choose the Right Logistics Partner
When choosing a logistics provider for your shipment, be sure they understand the factors contributing to the recent chassis shortage and go over the latest conditions at any port under consideration BEFORE making your shipping arrangements. Once INCOTERMS are established, lining up drayage and chassis in the U.S. (which in the past was a reasonably easy afterthought) is now a critical, upfront element of the process.

A consultative forwarder should monitor daily conditions and analyze each shipment, considering alternatives such as air freight, LCL rather than FCL, backup port pairs when feasible, and inland trucking options. It’s helpful to maintain a creative and flexible stance to minimize costs and delays. Be certain your logistics provider has tried-and-true mitigation strategies.

In your search, consider DGX-Dependable Global Express with a long-standing track record in commercial international air, ocean and rail transportation. We have a clear understanding of the current situation. We believe in long-term relationships with a consultative and transparent approach to international shipping. Most importantly, we can guide you through each step of your next shipment, navigating current chassis-related issues, minimizing unnecessary delays, and avoiding unneeded headaches.

DGX assigns you a dedicated sales agent at the front end of your shipment planning as part of the personalized attention that we provide to every customer. For more information, call (888) 488-4888 Ext. 2011 or email us.

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How do I avoid Customs delays when shipping to Japan?

June 15, 2021


Here are some tools, procedures and helpful hints to minimize Customs-related issues that might cause further delays to your Japan shipments.

The pandemic has created additional port congestion globally, especially in transpacific markets. Japan is currently facing a lack of equipment and trucking at all ports, a lack of vessel space due to export delays and increased lead times for bookings. Now more than ever, choosing the right logistics partner is crucial for the successful navigation of Japanese Customs.

Before choosing a logistics provider and shipper for your Japan cargo, make sure they have real assets on the ground combined with local knowledge and expertise relating to:

  • Customs requirements, import procedures and formalities
  • Prohibited and restricted import commodities to Japan
  • Complete and flexible knowledge of all Japan ports
  • Proper and appropriate use of the Japanese language and social customs (critical, and more important than ever)
  • Required shipping documents


Navigating Japan Customs Requirements, Import & Export Procedures and Formalities

Avoid Japan Customs shipping delays - DGX blogIt’s important when doing business in Japan to understand the import requirements and documentation:

  • The commercial invoice should be as descriptive as possible for each line item.
  • The packing list should always include the exact contents and measurement of each pallet/container including the gross and net weight of each item. It must be specific and free of spelling errors.
  • When completing Customs documents, list each commodity separately, providing detailed description of each line item, including what it’s made of and how it will be used.
  • Keep multiple piece shipments together, label them individually and the package too.
  • Use heat-treated pallets and wood packaging materials in compliance with ISPM 15.
  • Legibly print the commodity’s country of origin/manufacturer to indicate where your cargo was manufactured, grown or produced.
  • Always include contact information of the shipper and the consignee (contact person, phone number and email addresses) on your shipping documents.
  • Declare the accurate value for your item, even if it’s being provided to the recipient at no charge (for example, sample or not for resale).
  • Make sure information is consistent across all required Customs documents.

Be sure proper Customs paperwork is in order - DGX blogWhen exporting to Japan, documentation and procedures are also critical, including:

  • Shipping and import formalities start with the logging of an import declaration and end with the issuance of an import permit after the necessary examination and payment of Customs duty and excise tax.
  • Any person wishing to import goods must declare them to the Director General of Customs and obtain an import permit after the necessary examination of the goods.
  • Correct packing, proper marking and labeling are critical to smooth Customs clearance in Japan, as noted above.


Required Shipping Documents to Clear Customs in Japan

Minimum required shipping documents include a commercial invoice, packing list and an original, signed bill of lading or air waybill (if shipped by air).

Additional documents may be required depending on commodities shipped.

Each line item on the commercial invoice should be as descriptive as possible, and the packing list should include the detailed contents and measurements of each container, including the gross and net weights of each package or pallet. Importantly, Japanese Measurement Law requires that all weights and measures on a packing list be Metric System values.

Understandably, this process is complex and will require an experienced commercial freight shipper such as DGX-Dependable Global Express, to help save time, money and stress. Don’t hesitate to request a free consultation with us. We have knowledgeable, local assets on the ground and throughout Japan to move freight successfully in and out of Japan. For more information, visit here. Read on for more valuable information for shipping to or from Japan.


Prohibited and Restricted Import Commodities in Japan

Japan prohibited imports - DGX blogJapan’s prohibited imports include:

  • Narcotics and related utensils or drug paraphernalia
  • Firearms and firearm parts including ammunition
  • Explosives and gunpowder
  • Precursor materials for chemical weapons, germs that are likely to be used for bio-terrorism
  • Counterfeit goods or imitation coins or currency
  • Obscene materials or goods that violate intellectual property rights
  • Other restricted items included but are not limited to certain agricultural and meat products, endangered species and products such as ivory, animal parts and fur where trade is banned by international treaty
Japanese government agencies also impose tight restrictions on certain commodities including:
  • Aerosols
  • Animal feed
  • Auto parts
  • Batteries
  • Chemicals
  • Cosmetics
  • Food additives
  • Fruit, nut and vegetable preparations
  • Fur
  • Meat and fish products
  • Medical devices
  • Personal effects and more
  • Pet products
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Toiletries
  • Toys


General Shipping Advice to Japan

Five major Japan ocean freight ports - DGX blogThere are five major base ports in Japan: TOKYO, YOKOHAMA, NAGOYA, KOBE and OSAKA. These five ports account for the bulk of Japan’s overall international container traffic by ocean.

Average transit time from USA to Japan by ocean:

From US West Coast (direct service)
14-20 days

From US East Coast (all water service)
30-40 days


How to select your Destination Port

Always consult first with your buyer (importer and their Customs broker) as some imported products, such as apparel, furniture or general merchandise, can be brought into Japan after undergoing the Customs inspection at the nearest port of entry.

Note that Japan imposes restrictions on the sales or use of certain products including health-related goods such as medical products, pharmaceuticals, agricultural products and chemicals.

If food-related items are being imported, the importer must submit a “Notification Form for Importation of Food” to the Quarantine Station. You will then be asked to ship to the designated port with a Quarantine Station where on-site inspection will be performed to verify the food poses no threat to human health.

  • Japanese Customs reviews and evaluates these types of products for import suitability before shipping to Japan. Licenses from the relevant regulatory agencies may also be required.
  • The use of certain chemicals, food additives and cosmetics is severely regulated. Make sure to do your research before shipping.


Proper and Appropriate Use of the Japanese Language is Critical to Success.

fProper use of Japanese langues critical to success - DGX blogCommunicating properly in Japanese is essential to connecting with local business partners and their target consumers in both person-to-person communications as well as promotional materials. If, for instance, you want to move the import process along quickly and successfully, you must make sure product labeling and requirements are written in proper Japanese language and abide by government regulations.

Being respectful of the Japanese culture is a fundamental requirement for companies wanting to build a trusting relationship with their Japanese partners. The Japanese society is complex in nature—including unwavering respect for age, both hierarchical and group-oriented. In addition to delivering high quality products and services expediently, be prepared to invest the time necessary to build long-term relationships with your Japanese partners.

DGX also believes in long-term relationships, with a consultative and transparent approach to international shipping. We can guide you through each step of your next Japan shipment, navigating current congestion-related issues, minimizing unnecessary customs delays and avoiding unneeded headaches.

As part of the personalized attention provided to every customer, DGX assigns a dedicated sales agent at the front end of your shipment planning.

To learn more about shipping to Japan, read our previous blog post, “Need export shipping advice to Japan?

For a free consultation and rate request, call us at (888) 488-4888, Ext. 2011 or email us, and/or visit our DGX Japan destination page.

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Why is my international shipment delayed?

May 11, 2021

In the commercial shipping industry we’re often at the mercy of nature and humankind as a course of business. Starting well over a year ago, the COVID-19 pandemic is by far causing more unprecedented disruptions to the infrastructure of global transportation and logistics than experienced in contemporary times.

The continuing spread of the virus and the mitigation strategies to prevent further spread have caused extraordinary delays in the global transportation supply chain including:

  • Heavy port congestion
  • Person power shortages
  • Trucking shortages
  • Warehouse delays
  • Labor disruptions
  • Cargo surges from big ships
  • Infrastructure needs
  • Marine terminal productivity
  • Increased volumes
  • Equipment shortages

As an international asset-based provider, DGX-Dependable Global Express has access to more and accurate reporting from our global hubs than might be reported elsewhere. Some of our overseas directors report the following information which we encourage you to report out further across your company and within your network:

Shipping to and from China:

  • Lack of space due to major surge of import volumes into the US
  • Increased lead times for bookings
  • Port congestion
  • Vessel and ship delays
  • Major increases in freight rates
Shipping to and from Japan:
  • Serious lack of equipment at all ports
  • Lack of space due to export vessel delays
  • Increased lead times for bookings
  • Lack of available trucking
  • Substantial increases in freight rates
Shipping to and from Singapore:

  • Equipment shortages
  • Lack of space in warehouses in Singapore
  • Port congestion
  • Increased lead times for bookings
Shipping to and from Australia:
  • Port congestion and related capacity constraints
  • Overflow of empty containers
  • Increased lead times for bookings
  • Substantial increases in freight rates
  • Vessel schedule changes
Shipping to and from New Zealand:
  • Port congestion
  • Vessels being pulled from rotation by major carriers
  • Major increases in freight rates
  • Increased lead times for bookings

These shipping and logistic issues—along with rail and ramp delays—mirror the current transportation situation in the US.

Since the start of the pandemic, we’ve had to work extra closely with our US and international customers to help navigate the unforeseen short and long-term challenges. With our years of experience and extensive network in the shipping industry, we’re slowly but surely helping them to be successful.

Our approach:

  • We strategize with our customers on a case-by-case, shipment-to-shipment basis for shipping and logistics.

  • We take a flexible approach to sea freight, switching origin and destination ports when more optimal, and creating new inland routing scenarios or alternatives.

  • We’ve pivoted FCL (Full Container Load) shipments to LCL (Less-than Container Load) in certain cases, and rebooking later FCLs.

  • We closely monitor booking lead times for all ports and make adjustments as needed.

  • For time sensitive freight, we implement airfreight options.

  • We have a “hands-on” approach to managing the door delivery of your goods.

  • We stay on top of trucking shortages or delays and make fast changes as needed.

  • We encourage our customers to purchase very cost-effective insurance for all shipments and can even provide insurance quotes and details upon request. Securing marine cargo insurance has become even more critical in light of the recent surge in cargo vessels in peril.

DGX will guide you through these temporary challenges as we look toward to the future in 2021 and 2022. As part of the personalized attention that we provide to every customer, DGX assigns you a dedicated sales agent at the front end of your shipment planning.For more information, call us at (888) 488-4888 ext. 2011 or email us to get started today.

Resource for port related information can be found here.

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What are Incoterms and how do I choose the right ones for international freight shipping?

March 10, 2021
Before considering ocean and air shipping internationally, it's crucial to understand Incoterms, the internationally recognized set of rules that define the responsibilities of sellers and buyers at each transportation touchpoint along the way.

Created by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), Incoterms are widely-used terms of sale covering all aspects of commercial shipping. They stipulate the parties responsible for paying for and managing specific shipments, related actions and undertakings for each leg of the shipment including who pays for insurance, customs clearance, documentation, ancillary transportation cost and other logistical activities.

Familiarizing yourself with Incoterms will help to make your shipments go smoothly and avoid extra headaches and expense.

The seven Incoterms 2020 rules for any mode of transport are: 
  • EXW - Ex Works (named place of delivery): The seller makes the goods available at their premises, or at another named place.
  • FCA - Free Carrier (named place of delivery): The seller delivers the goods, cleared for export, at a named place (possibly including the seller's own premises).
  • CPT - Carriage Paid To (named place of destination): The seller pays for the carriage of the goods up to the named place of destination.
  • CIP - Carriage and Insurance Paid To (named place of destination): This term is broadly similar to the above CPT term, with the exception that the seller is required to obtain insurance for the goods while in transit.
  • DAP - Delivered at Place (named place of destination): The seller delivers when the goods are placed at the disposal of the buyer on the arriving means of transport ready for unloading at the named place of destination.
  • DPU - Delivered at Place Unloaded (named place of destination): This Incoterm requires that the seller delivers the goods, unloaded, at the named place of destination.
  • DDP - Delivered Duty Paid (named place of destination): Seller is responsible for delivering the goods to the named place in the country of the buyer, and pays all costs in bringing the goods to the destination including import duties and taxes.
The four Incoterms 2020 rules for Sea and Inland Waterway Transport are: 
  • FAS - Free Alongside Ship (insert name of port of loading)
  • FOB - Free on Board (insert named port of loading)
  • CFR - Cost and Freight (insert named port of destination)
  • CIF - Cost Insurance and Freight (insert named port of destination)
The DGX International Pricing manager highlights the importance of becoming familiar with incoterms:

“Not understanding different Incoterms can end up costing the customer large amounts of money. As an example, booking a shipment as DAP when the correct terms should be DDP can have catastrophic consequences. The consignee may not be fully aware of their responsibility to clear Customs and may not meet import requirements timely or at all.

Additionally, they may be caught unprepared to cover applicable duties, taxes and other custom related fees. Delays in customs clearance may result in extra charges incurred and can even lead to the unclaimed cargo being seized by Customs authorities. Storage/demurrage fees charged by the port terminals and detention fees assessed by the ocean carriers can quickly add up and may amount to thousands of dollars. These charges are ultimately the responsibility of the shipper.”

The Import manager for DGX agrees:

“From an import point of view, the consignee should always verify with their seller the terms of the shipment at the time of purchasing the product. This will ensure the consignee knows exactly what they're paying for - whether it is just the product itself or the product and possibly part of the shipping costs.

Discussing the Incoterms with the seller should arm the consignee with a clear understanding of their obligations from the beginning. This knowledge will help avoid surprise fees once the cargo arrives at the destination. When incoterms are not discussed and agreed on ahead of time, it can create confusion and delays.”

While making sure Incoterms are agreed upon by all parties is ultimately the responsibility of the seller, DGX-Dependable Global Express is well-versed in logistics matters and ready to lend a hand with the details surrounding your shipment.

As part of the personalized attention provided every customer, DGX assigns a dedicated sales agent at the front end of your shipment planning. For more information, call us at (888) 488-4888 Ext. 2011 or email us.

An overview of the 2020 version of Incoterms is available here on our website. For more detailed information, visit here.You may also request a free Incoterms wallchart for ease of reference here.
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What is the outlook for shipping and logistics to and from the Philippines?

February 15, 2021


With the worst global pandemic in 100 years, many challenges face shipping and logistics to and from the Philippines.

There have always been regional logistics challenges, isolated and unique to those regions. However, for the past 11 months, the pandemic has created a global set of challenges that almost every major port in the world is experiencing. The Philippines is no exception. Current challenges include:

  • Very high rates
  • Congestion
  • Longer transit times
  • Blank sailings
  • Aircraft taken offline
  • Lack of equipment

Regarding Imports to the Philippines, since the quarantine period began, there have been delays such as:

  • The unpredictable arrival of vessels
  • Customs
  • Delayed issuance of the invoices and/or delivery orders
  • Internet connection problems/issues
  • Limited labor force

The customs clearance process which took no more than two days before the pandemic is now averaging four to five days. This time frame is affected by the limited workforce. Some positive news, there have been recent improvements by the Philippines BOC (Bureau of Customs) including the hiring of more customs officials and the new e-customs clearance system. However, the clearance process still requires additional improvements and refinements to speed and automate the process.

Other shipping issues in the Philippines include issues with operations:

  • Irregular or no flight schedules do to closed offline global airports
  • Some airlines currently are not flying out of Cebu or Manila
  • Some airlines are not offering express rates
  • Space availability
  • Equipment shortages with ocean shipping lines
  • Some ocean carriers are not accepting bookings or they cancel bookings due to "non acceptance" at origin/destination for lack of space and/or trans-ship hub congestion
  • Some air carriers, ocean carriers and consolidators may not communicate any delay notices departures or delays in transit
  • Carriers may change originally scheduled vessels in trans-ship ports, resulting in longer transit times
  • Delayed connecting flights
  • Perishable goods may not be prioritized and spoilage is a problem
  • Advance export/import clearance processing is no longer allowed in the Philippines, due to the recent misdeclaration of an endangered species shipment that was exported from PH and was found to have no proper documents in Singapore

Port Problem and Factors

  • Many ports are also experiencing delays due to inefficiencies, including shortages of the proper crane and other equipment or inadequate port space
  • Shortage of port and airport personnel due to Covid-19 pandemic
  • Lack of communications with airlines and shipping lines. For shippers and forwarders this challenge is very time-consuming and slows up processing. Most cp numbers are not working or out of reach. Customer service is poor since many are working at home without the level of supervision we have seen in “normal” times

We see in the future that shipping will be experiencing delays and failures globally and in the Philippines. These delays and lack of communication affect us all.

We find that freight forwarding companies are in a critical stage today as they need to be competitive, adaptive, and much more. We are all now adjusting to the “new” normal.

We predict that for both Air and Ocean shipping, rates and expenses will continue to be high. We have found peak season and arbitrary surcharges being charged by most of the ocean carriers. Some of these increases seem to be generating profits, possibly making up for some of the huge losses the carriers absorbed when the market had overcapacity and extremely low rates.

Currently, the ability to purchase container space on a vessel becomes a herculean task. Securing space on “next vessel” sailing, even after you get a rate quote, is maybe a 50/50 chance at best. The likelihood is that bookings for container space will be pushed out three or four weeks. 

Additionally, rate guarantees are shorter. Instead of 30 days during pre-COVID-19, now it’s just two weeks. At times, surcharges are being charged and those can be changed again at time of booking.

To manage your way through many types of obstacles, please contact our DGX Philippine office for a free consultation: email us here or call us today at +63 2 7738 3359.

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