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Shipment Booking: How Does it Work?

As the important process of sea shipping, booking space plays an important role in international shipping. When will the goods arrive at the port of destination and in what form will they be transported? Whether the space can be booked in the peak season is directly related to the sales volume of the inventory.

We introduce the detailed process and information of booking on what you need to know in this article. And booking shipment space is one of the processes of exporting. If you want to know the complete international freight process, you can check the article: What is International Shipping? How Does it Work?.

Table of Contents
  1. What is shipment booking?
  2. What’s the process of booking container?
  3. What’s the common template of container booking format?
  4. What do you need to know when booking?
  5. What is the common booking terms for export?
  6. Why ASL can offer you the sufficient space at a good price?

What is shipment booking?

Booking shipping space means that the exporter book shipping space from the shipping line according to the appropriate shipping date. The shipping company formulates a reasonable shipping solution and issues a shipping space booking form according to the available load, cargo space volume, and cargo load characteristics of the specific booking.

When booking a shipping space, you have two choices: directly with shipping lines or find a freight forwarder to help you. At present, due to the complexity of the shipping booking process, exporters generally entrust freight forwarders to book shipping space.

shipment booking

What’s the process of booking container?

1. Confirm cargo information

Before you actually start your booking, you need to assess the detailed information of cargo such as the type of cargo, volume, by air or sea. It decides how many containers and what type (20HP, 40HP, and 40GP) you will book.

If you have a contract with the shipping lines, choose to book with them directly, they will provide the best price and flexible routes to you. If not, it is a smart choice to build trust with the freight forwarder. Most of them are capable of providing end-to-end service. The only thing you have to do is pay, and they will take care of transporting the cargo from the factory to you.  

2. Booking shipping space

Now that confirm the cargo information, you can choose a reliable shipping company to book. Communicate with the shipping company to determine the specific sailing date, ship class, route, and arrival date.

 The shipping company shall formulate a reasonable shipping plan based on the weight of the cargo, the capacity of the cargo hold, the date of departure, and other characteristics. After confirmation of booking, the shipping company will issue the SO (ship order) with a seal. Generally, the SO can be obtained the next day after booking.

3. Confirm freight booking

The booking is placed through the carrier’s website and the mail. And after the carrier and the shipping lines agree on the shipping routes and sailing date, the shipper will issue a shipping confirmation to the exporter.

The booking confirmation is the document issued by the freight forwarder. It contains all the basic shipment details such as cargo type, total price, cargo weight, etc. The booking confirmation documents help parties including the consignee, the shipper, and the buyer finishes the transaction with the bank. The booking confirmation number is often used as the main shipment tracking code.

4. Arrange transportation

Confirm whether the goods are packed in the factory or in the port. Notify the logistics company to send the goods to the seaport. Transport the goods to the shipping company’s warehouse before closing the order and arranging for loading the cargo on board.

5. Declare at customs

Prepare the customs declaration documents, confirm that the goods information and documents are correctly prepared, and submit the documents to the customs broker for review.

6. Fulfilling the order

After the cargo is allowed to pass, the cargo shall be loaded on board and a formal bill of lading shall be issued.

What’s the common template of container booking format?

There are some differences between the booking formats. But the basic elements include the basic information of the goods, the name and contact information of the carrier, the name and contact information of the consignee, etc.

The following is a template we provide for reference:

fbooking form

What do you need to know when booking?

1. Booking usually requires two weeks in advance. The shipping company will open the warehouse one week before the ship leaves, and a month before the holiday or special periods, they will open the warehouse. Therefore, it is necessary to make plans in advance if cargo is exported on holidays.

2. The content of the power of attorney should be as detailed as possible, such as the weight of the goods. The shipping company may have weight restrictions on some routes. If the weight exceeds a certain value, it cannot be transported or will charge additional fees. Therefore, the cargo owner should inform the freight forwarder about the approximate weight of the cargo.

3. Transportation of dangerous cargo. The transportation of dangerous cargo like is strictly required to ensure that the declaration documents and information are correct. Once errors are found, the goods will be detained by customs.

What is the common booking terms for export?

The contract agreement between the seller and the buyer should be clarified when booking the cabin, which is conducive to estimating the cost and understanding the mode of transportation, and confirming who is responsible for completing the payment.

1. FOB 

As one of the international trade terms, it is also an important term for shipment booking. FOB means that the buyer loads the goods to the ship designated by the seller within the period specified in the contract, and the seller is responsible for transporting the goods from the ship to the port of destination. After the goods are loaded onto the ship, the risk is transferred from the seller to the buyer.

2. EXW 

It means that the seller needs to prepare the goods at the agreed place (factory or warehouse), and the buyer is responsible for transporting the goods from the factory or warehouse to the destination port. During this period, the buyer bears all the costs and risks of transportation.

3. BOL 

The documents evidencing the contract of carriage of goods by sea and the receipt or loading of the goods by the carrier, as well as the carrier’s assurance of delivery of the goods, are issued by the airline or shipping company.

4. DDU and DDP 

Under the shipping terms for DDU, the freight forwarder is responsible for shipping cargo from the factory to the importer’s warehouse, but the exporters have to clear the customs by themselves.

You will enjoy the ultimate service when you use the DDP. The freight forwarder will provide door-to-door service including clear customs, and you don’t worry about anything.

5. FCA

With the FCA shipping terms, the seller needs to ship the cargo to the place nominated by the buyer.

Why ASL can offer you the sufficient space at a good price?

Booking container is a very important process in your operations. Whatever cargo you are shipping, you need to book the right vessel. It decided when to set off, what shipping route you will take, and how much money you need to pay.

One strong freight company with sufficient volume plays the role of the shipping lines’ agency. They have the ability that books apace with shipping lines directly. Then allocate their shipping space to their clients or peers. So, a professional freight forwarder gives an ideal transportation plan and a competitive price.

Airsupply is such a powerful logistics that meet your requirement. We have established good cooperation relations with many airlines and shipping companies. Even in the peak season, we can book the shipping space. Secondly, if your cargo is shipped to Europe and the United States, we can also provide charter services. If you have any questions, please contact us by the button below.

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