ETC International Freight System was presented with an international air import challenging shipment that had a 12/28/13 deadline.

This was a large shipment; an industrial oven crated that originated from a small Italian town 

Below are the specs of these crates, as you see the heights of the crates are too tall for typical passenger planes. Our agent booked through KLM, which must have combi-aircrafts as these international flights definitely have passengers. Cargo was cleared Friday evening, 12/27 and delivered to Nestle Saturday afternoon, 12/28.

  • 1 crate …. Kg. 3.680
  • Dim. cm. 285x225x220h


  • 1 crate …. Kg. 1.550.-
  • Dim. cm. 410x245x260h


  • 1 case …. Kg. 1.210.-
  • Dim. cm. 300x175x140h


  • Total Gross Weight = Kg. 6.440.-
  • Total = CBM 45,575.-  >>> Ratio CBM 1 = Kg. 166,666666666…


  • Chargeable Weight = Kg. 7.930.-


The supplier notified our Italian office that the cargo will be ready on Monday 16th of December.
Booking, the trucking for a pick-up from a very small town was the easy part, the airlines were over-booked & we had to work with a few airlines until the 11th hour to get the space needed, cut the documents & track the shipment to prevent any issue at the layover points.

Our import coordinator had to bring this file home and called the Italian agent, the airlines & kept informing the customer along with getting ready for an overtime customs entry filing. The trucking had to be a special to meet the Saturday deadline.

To be successful as an international freight forwarder & meet your customers deadlines mean within an exceptional freight network environment bringing quality and coordinating performances. 

Inexperienced importers with overseas shipments into the USA need some basic knowledge and how to ship import shipments.

Define your terms of purchase (see freight terms at or see


 Freight terms

  1. Shipper: A person or a company sending freight (theoriginator
  2. Consignee: A person ora company receiving the freight (the receiver)
  3. Carrier: A transportation provider (truckers, railroad, airline, steam line)
  4. Freight bill of lading: A legal shipping document between a shipper and a carrier for the transportation of freight (reflect all parties involved and shipping terms of sales)
  5. Free on Board (FOB): ex-factory charges up to the origin port / airport
    are for the shipper’s account. Consignees are responsible once delivered to the port / airport of origin all the way to their site.
  6. Cost of freight (C & F) or Cost of Freight + Insurance (CIF): Freight
    charges payable by shipper & up to the destination port / airport only. (Always refer to ETC International Freight system disclosure / information sheet)
  7. Loss or damage cargo: While in transit in a carrier’s possession will fall
    under the terms & conditions of the carriers’ liability coverage, as shown on their terms & conditions. If am insurance coverage is purchased through ETC International Freight System & a claim is filed timely with the carriers with supporting documents, the insurer will handle the insurance refund.
  8. Common Carrier: Transportation providers
  9. Freight forwarder: A booking agent on behalf of the shippers handles the export declaration to the USA Customs and other logistical freight services
  10. Customhouse broker: A clearing house through Customs for importers
  11. Non Vessel Operating Common Carrier: Wholesaler of space. Buy from carriers’yearly space in bulk.
  12. 3PL: A 3rd party outsourced logistic company (warehousing & distribution)
  13. Interline Shipment: When more than one carrier is used during
    transportation to move a container from the destination port to a door location (IE# Hong Kong to Chicago via Long Beach)
  14. Door to Door: Transportation services from the origin / destination curb sides (duty paid or unpaid to be defined). The originator of the request (shipper or the consignee) is responsible to pay all charges. (Always refer to ETC International Freight system disclosure / information sheet)
  15. Consolidation services: NVOCC re-group shipments into a warehouse from various shippers, load a full container load, ship to a destination port to their agent known as the break-bulk agent that will segregate the each shipment readying it for its final destination (refer to your shipping terms)
  16. Terminal / Deport: Where cargo is shipped or picked-up from.
  17. Cross-dock: A terminal receiving (inbound), storing & exporting
  18. Full Truck Load (FTL): using the whole trailer (53’)
  19. Less Than A Container Load (LTL): Consolidating a shipment with others into a truck.
  20. Full container Load (FCL): exclusive use of 1×20’ or 1×40’ ocean
  21. Less Than a Container Load (LCL): Consolidated shipments into a full
    container load Intermodal: Ocean containers transferred onto a truck chassis or railroad for final or depot delivery
  22. Reefer: Refrigerated ocean container
  23. Drayage: Local trucking
  24. Line-haul: Trucking from depot to airlines warehouses
  25. Long-haul: Long distance from terminal to terminal
  26. Detention / Demurrage: Assessed by the carriers to the shipper / consignee for keeping a shipment longer than the authorized time.
  27. Diversion / Re-consignment: Change of consignee name on the bill of lading while the freight is in transit (cost associated with it)
  28. Bulk Cargo: vehicles, tank, grain moved by bulk-ship types
  29. Break-bulk cargo: Each piece is handled by the terminal handler
  30. Pallet or Skid: a 48” x 42” heat treated (HT stamped for export) wooden platform on studs
  31. Dunnage: Materials inside a container used to secure (IE# bracing &
    blocking a vehicle)
  32. Stock-keeping unit (SKU): A line-item of inventory that is a different
    type or size of good. Freight weight measures: Short ton (American) 2000 lbs. Long ton (English) 2240 lbs. Metric ton (1000 kg. 2.2046 lbs.
  33. 20’ ocean container unit (TEU) Standard 20’ container: Measuring capacity for a vessel.
  34. 40’ ocean container (FEU):Standard or High Cube container: Measuring
    capacity for a vessel
  35. Slot: Location of a container on a ship
  36. Liner shipping: regular sailing schedules between specified ports
  37. Tramp shipping: irregular sailing schedules (IE# Bulk ship)
  38. Ocean conference: cartel of vessels sharing trade points with set rates
  39. Alliance: airlines or steam lines coordinating each other’ s schedules and selling capacity
  40. Container leasing: supplied by the carriers to shippers for the duration
    of the voyage
  41. Lo-Lo: lift on & lift off for conventional container cargo ships. Cranes are used on the quay to load /unload.
  42. Ro-Ro: roll on, roll off. A method by which the cargo is wheeled on & off a Ro-Ro ship


More terms are available, some more obscure. For a quote please contact us at or email us at

For a consultation, please make an appointment by calling 1-800-383-3157 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 1-800-383-3157 FREE  end_of_the_skype_highlighting. Our VIP Sales is Mr. Dimitri Malinbaum

More simply Request a pro-forma invoice / packing list from your supplier to contain an itemized list with HS Code number and value. Get the total weight & dimensions of your shipment.

Contact ETC International Freight System emails address
and provide copy & shipping information as well as the mode of transport that should be on your pro-forma. With this our in-house custom broker will assess your customs duty and other associated fees.

Refer to ETC International Freight System information / disclosure sheet (see below).


International Freight Forwarders 


  1. Quote provided is valid 30 days from issuance, unless otherwise stated, must be confirmed at the time of booking and subject to final booking & space availability.
  2. ETC Intl. Freight System & related parties reserve the right to correct any omission or clerical error made in the quotation process.
  3. The preceding rate quote is not considered a binding agreement. A booking confirmation is provided based on space and equipment availability, and is based on acceptance of ETC Intl. Freight System & related parties terms and conditions, which are available upon request.
  4. Please note cargo is freighted on actual dimensions recorded at the terminal upon delivery, which may result in a higher rate than quoted.
  5. Total loss insurance coverage is optional, with a minimum charge of $ 75.00 and a deductible of $ 500.00 or 3% (whichever is greater).
  6. For commercial shipments, U.S. Customs requires a commercial invoice. For personal effects, a packing list /valued inventory is required along with origin/destination names & addresses, itemized description & value.
  7. Customs requires the tax identification number for businesses, or an EIN # for a citizen shipping individually (obtain by calling IRS 1-800-829-4933). For foreigners, please procure us with your foreign issued passport number.
  8. For titled vehicles being exported, U.S. Customs will not validate the original title(s) if the exporter’s name does not match the name on the title, or if the title has not been signed off by the previous owner with the exporter’s name/details entered in on the back.
  9. For routing through Houston, the auto title validation must be done in Houston & can be performed by the shipper directly. ETC offers this service to our customers, but, we do not bear any responsibility for any delays & associated costs from rollover fees assessed by the steam lines when USA Customs are unable to provide us with timely validation to meet the sailing schedule.
  10. Quotes are up to destination terminal / port unless otherwise specified. Any destination charges are not included (IE# terminal / overseas clearance / delivery) unless specifically indicated.
  11. Trucking service is subject to the area being accessible & for curbside pickup or delivery the loading / unloading services are not included unless specifically indicated.
  12. Labor & Packing material costs are estimated. We tally the hours while on the job & have the customer sign the truck bill to reflect the exact man-hours.
  13. Incidental charges (I.E. # customs inspection, port storage, parking ticket, tax or duty) cannot be anticipated and is therefore not included.
  14. Any on-site job requiring a shift of longer than 8 hours will be assessed at time and a half for the excess time
  15. For shipments imported into the U.S., it is the importer’s responsibility to conduct their own research and insure that all governmental requirements (i.e. permits, licenses, etc.) are obtained and satisfied before the goods are shipped. Due to the multitude of requirements imposed, ETC Intl Freight System does not offer consultation services to provide such guidance. Please refer to the Customs and Border Protection web page which offers more information in this regard.
  16. Most countries require that any wood material used for packing must be ISPM15 certified (i.e. heat treated see Before using any wood materials, please verify whether your country of destination regulates wood packing utilized.
  17. Once you book with us you agree to conform to our terms & conditions readily available upon your request that are based on the US Shipping Act of 1998.
  18. Air Export and Import shipments require payment prior to uplift and release in the US.
  19. Acceptable mode of payments: Cashier check, money order, Company check (on a per case basis), Credit Card (Visa, MC, Discover) Admin fee 3.5% in addition to the invoice total & Wire transfer for domestic or international.

                                 21039 S. Figueroa Street, Suite 101, Carson, CA 90745

                      (T) 800.383.3157 │(F) 310.632.3044 │(E) 


The questions to ask (see below). By following the above mentioned instructions, we will save
you the time of going around in circle. Your pro-forma will give us all there is to know on your prospective shipment. A pro-forma is not a final purchase confirmation, but, merely a mimic of a purchase that gives you the upper hand on the all costs and pertinent information.

Freight questions:

  1. Mode of Transport: Ocean Freight or Air Freight? If Ocean Freight, do you need LCL (less than container), FCL (full container, 20’/40’/45’/Flat Rack, etc.), Oversized, and Out of Gauge, or RORO service. If Air freight,  how urgent the shipment is a faster or slower air freight service which also affects the price.
  2. What is the commodity you are shipping? (E.G. food, kitchenware, machinery, etc) Please be specific because there may be a license or special clearance required to import your goods such as an FDA clearance.
  3. Which of the following mode of service do you need: port to port, door to port, port to door, door to door?
  4. How is the cargo packaged? Is it in pallets, loose boxes, or other packaging? How many pieces in total? Provide dimensions/weight/# of pieces of the cargo
  5. Are your Incoterms with the supplier Ex Works or FOB port or? Please send us the port name of origin if it is FOB port. If the freight terms are Ex-Works from factory, please include the factory address overseas
  6. What are the origin & final destination for the cargo? Please provide specific addresses or just ports /airports.
  7. Do you need us to handle any fulfillment/repackaging services? (e.g. relabeling, Amazon fulfillment or other fulfillment delivery). Please specify what services and the addresses of the centers we need to deliver with the number of packages, dimensions, and weight of the cargo going to each center
  8. What is the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) Code of the cargo and the Total Value? If you include a commercial invoice or pro-forma invoice, this will help to clarify the HTS code. This info drives the duties/taxes as well. Your supplier can provide you this information Any hazardous shipment, provide a copy of the manufacturer safety data sheet (MSDS)
  9. Do you already have a Continuous Bond?
  10. How often do you plan to ship these goods?

Documents that are required to handle customs clearance of your cargo:

1. Commercial Invoice / Pro Forma Invoice

2. Packing List

3. Certificate of Origin

Selecting your international Freight Forwarder


Soliciting a freight forwarder that is fully license for air & ocean freight and with an office that has been in business for many years will bring you the expertise, competitive rates
& peace of mind.

Licenses include

FMC licensed, NVOCC bonded for Ocean Freight, IATA or CNS licensed IAC (indirect air carrier) or Air Freight, Customs House Broker for US Customs Clearance, Intermodal Drayage/Trucker for US Domestic Container Trucking, Rail Consolidator for US Domestic rail moves, Domestic
LTL/FTL Trucker for Domestic Trucking within the US, Warehousing (pick and pack, order fulfillment, reverse logistics, cross docking, container loading/unloading deconsolidation, storage, etc), CFS (container freight station), Documentary Services (document legalization services) or Notary Public for notarizing documents.

Warehousing / Distribution for a “3PL” or “4PL” is less important than really understanding
what services they offer that meet your needs and which licenses or certificates they have from their respective governing body such as the FMC or IATA. Create a checklist of requirements you have in order for the freight forwarder to understand your needs. Ultimately you are responsible for your shipment such as a miss-declared shipment or incorrect HTS classification.

Cheap freight rates or low logistics costs for services to determine forwarders are the most common mistake. View it as choosing a supplier. Your freight forwarder ETC International Freight System will be your “outsourced” logistics company and must therefore have a full understanding of your company’s operations. 

Export Compliance

Freight forwarders are there to guide you, but they are not your compliance division & yes, you
are responsible for your cargo before customs. 

Tips for Export Compliance:

Regulators hold the exporter responsible (not the forwarder) if information submitted to US Customs for imports or exports are miss-declared or inaccurate. Forwarders rely & declare based on information they are provided by the exporter or shipper of record. Familiarize with U.S. export regulations. Ex-Works, shipments shippers remain responsible for any part of the transaction once it leaves their dock. This is false, many times the exporter, even though the incoterms is Ex-Works, is considered the US Principal Party of Interest (USPPI) and is therefore
responsible that the Electronic Exporter Information (EEI) submitted through the Automated Export System (AES) is filed correctly for each of its shipments. The best way to ensure proper declaration of your shipment is to give an accurate Shipper’s Letter of Instruction (SLI) to your forwarder or your customer’s forwarder. This is a good link for those new to exporting: Common Export Documents.

Shippers provide Classifications (both Schedule B numbers for exports and HTS numbers for
imports). The Exporter or Importer is also responsible for any Licenses, Certificates or Authorizations required for the cargo.

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