How the global economy impacts your freight shipping costs by ETC International

Lessons from a 30-year freight forwarding veteran:

With the US currency doing well, forwarders & shippers alike have experienced a surplus of imports. Yes, the value of the dollar impacts trading in a big way. The shift is quite telling of the conditions of our global economy, because there are very specific changes occurring. Notably, international forwarders are witnessing a shift in imports coming from the United Arab Emirates and South Korea.

This shift is altering the landscape considerably. It’s very different than when importing from places like China, and that comes through with rates AND service levels.


1. Dubai


US Freight Forwarders are experiencing significant rate fluctuations in Dubai, especially when air freighting. It’s not just because of economic factors, but rather, how the market itself operates. For example, not all Dubai based forwarders have access to the same air freight rates. This is why many of our customers are securing freight forwarding management here in the US as opposed to dealing with foreign forwarders.

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This puts the power into the hands of you, the importer, and if working with a reputable forwarder, you’ll have somebody who knows where to find the best Dubai freight rates.

Service levels:

Like for the rate fluctuations, the service levels vary dramatically. If you’re just dealing with the US forwarder, then you won’t be exposed to the hardships of not knowing where to find the best service levels, thus re-inforcing the need for a local US international shipping company.

Ocean full container rates from Dubai:

International freight forwarders in the United States see less rate fluctuation with ocean rather than when air freighting. However, the service level still changes from one UAE forwarder to the next. Your local international shipping company will converse with their appointed agent at local UAE time & outside the Pacific or Eastern work times, so you don’t have to. This makes a big difference and is one of the C&F deal-breakers for many of our clients.

2. South Korea


You won’t see the same kinds of fluctuations as you see in the UAE, but this is also an issue in South Korea, where rates can swing one way or the other depending on the forwarder you’re dealing with.

Service levels:

International shipping companies experience difficulties on different levels from the ones in the UAE, regardless of whether importing auto parts or electronics. Generally, English is not a strong language & South Korean forwarders do not seem nearly as experienced as their American or Chinese counterparts.

Air freighting or ocean freighting from South Korea:

Whether importers air or ocean import, we advise to work through their local international freight forwardes & once again for what appear to be similar reasoning. Letting a Korean supplier use their own forwarder, more than the text might be lost in translation.


The import markets are riddled with cultural differences that often result in freight & customs delays, added freight charges, disputes & a loss of control for the US importers.

An experienced freight forwarder here in the United States will be more prepared to help you navigate the twists and turns of working with foreign entities, and will help the importers in keeping the shipments move quickly.

Interested in getting a rate quote for your imports? Contact ETC International Freight System today!

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