Wash & rinse, but don’t forget to repeat!

It’s true what they say, that history does, in fact, repeat itself, even the good stuff. The 90s seems like a long time ago, and back then things were really good for international trade, especially for my company, ETC International Freight System. We seemed to have the golden touch, and even had clients that nicknamed us “Midas International.”

Don’t get me wrong, because we take a lot of pride in our work, and we know that our services are superior, but international freight shipping is complicated, and there are many outside forces that we cannot control, which could cause setbacks for anybody.

There was a lot of pressure due to this apparent golden touch, and we survived and thrived under it. Today, it feels very similar to what it did in the 90s even though a lot has changed – the technology we use, the international networking system, many of the people involved, and the expectations of our customers.. all of this has changed, but there are some interesting similarities as well.

Shipping in the 1990s – Époques change, freight stories change

The 90s Setup

For the first few years of business in the 90s, ETC focused on exporting a new plant that manufactured car wheels. Shipping-wise, we were responsible for the global logistics of molds, parts, conveyors, and machinery. 

The 90s Logistics

The factory:

The shipper would send our international shipping company the orders with the pick-up address, nomenclatures, weight / dimensions per item (Download the ETC International conversion calculator for free!), mode of transport desired & date of pick-up. From that standpoint, our freight forwarding operations would begin the global logistics with the following sequence:

  • Analyzing the order
  • Getting the correct equipment booked
  • Set-up appointments with the shippers / manufacturers
  • Dispatch & Notify the shippers / manufacturers
  • Pick-up & deliver to the airlines / steam lines
  • Documentation for the USA Customs
  • Pre-advice the overseas agent & dispatch documentation
  • Overseas pre-clearance whenever possible
  • Delivery to Tatabanya

Once in Hungary, the overseas agent had to clear the shipments through their customs & deliver to the Tatabanya factory. 

The products:

After our international shipping company pretty much completed the export of a new plant to Tatabanya, we began freighting the finished products through our network to distributors in Europe, which started a new forwarding phase for the Wheel Industry.

We also dealt with US exports for machinery updates and repairs, and then, again, our shipping firm would re-patriate the return equipment for repairs or replacement before re-exporting.

Customs in the 90s

Items returned from USA origin were not subjected to tax or duty, through our in-house broker, our freight company would assure the clearance & delivery back to the manufacturers in all corners of the USA.

Bringing it to the 21st century

The shipping industry in the1990’s experienced large buy-outs from freight forwarding conglomerates. Our family-owned freight company was offered to be purchased more than once, but, we never let go of it. Freight conglomerates slashed rates to try and shake out competition, but inevitably, the quality of their services suffered tremendously. 



Through the good and bad times in the shipping industry, I always felt that the most important thing to keep in mind was that we must always strive for the status of “Midas International,” because when we do, people recognize the value over costs that seem cheaper at first glance. Back then it was put to test with the recession made by conglomerates. In 2016, in spite of a looming global recession, our freight forwarding company continues providing that one constant.

Markets may shift, but our freight network is made to adapt and pivot when they do. We are handling import accounts having us air & ocean freight from overseas in volume records. To those customers importing, we, of course, pledge the same quality service & dedication we showed in the 1990s.

Interested in learning more about how ETC International Freight System can help with your import or export? Request a free quote today!

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