Ensuring Seamless Coordination In International Shipping

April 22, 2024
Ram Radhakrishnan
Founder & CEO


Ensuring seamless coordination between brokers, carriers, and documentation can be challenging. Find out how you can achieve it for your business.

Most operations have a singular goal, but the stakeholders involved may often have varying interests. The same applies to international shipping services. Unfortunately, many of these shipping operations will be hindered due to a general lack of coordination or alignment of processes. International shipping is a complex operation involving many moving parts and often many stakeholders with varying interests. Getting them to work together is the foundation to achieve meaningful success in the process.

That said, challenges do arise while these different stakeholders look to coordinate across the value chain. Some of them are communication barriers, lack of trust and transparency, geopolitical issues, and sometimes technological limitations. To overcome these challenges, you must take certain steps. In this article, we will explore those steps to ensure seamless coordination between the carriers, brokers, and documentation in the international shipping operation.

Why is Coordinating Documentation between Carriers and Brokers Important?

Over 2 billion tons of goods are shipped globally. It's no wonder international shipping services incorporate too many factors. To achieve success, they must work together, or else the main goal, which is the efficient transportation of the cargo from source to destination, will not be met. Other than just success, here are some reasons you would want to ensure that they all work together seamlessly:

Efficiency and Cost Savings

When all parties are in harmony and communicating effectively, there is little to no chance of delays or errors due to a breakdown in communication or lack of understanding of the objective. The international shipping operation will also enjoy better planning and streamlining of processes. This will increase the efficiency of the process and ensure that costs are down.

Risk Management

Unfortunately, due to the volatile nature of the shipping market, shipping operations have more risks than usual, especially internationally. However, with effective coordination between all parties, including the customs brokers, there is more compliance with regulations and an increased probability of spotting and eliminating potentially harmful or undesirable situations that may arise.

Improved Visibility and Transparency

You will also have effective and free-flowing communication when you have seamless coordination in the international shipping process. This enhances the operation's visibility and allows for transparency between all parties. Visibility and transparency are highly valued in logistics management or transportation because they give all stakeholders some level of control over the entire process.

Supply Chain Resilience

Supply chain resilience can effectively respond and adapt to changes in the operation. These changes may include increased risk in the shipping process, changes in rates and regulations, or a geopolitical crisis. With effective coordination, you will have that. This is particularly important for complex and global supply chain operations.

What to do to Ensure Seamless Coordination Among Carriers and Brokers with Documentation

Coordinating the stakeholders mentioned above in the international shipping process can be complex. However, when done right, the results are astounding and, as we saw in the last section, very critical to the success of the shipping operation. We have detailed five key ways to go about it.

Improved Communication Channels

Communication is the bedrock of success when dealing with multiple parties, but to have effective communication between these parties, you must have the right channels to facilitate it. This means having the right channels in place and actively encouraging it. With effective communication channels, stakeholders can clearly and more effectively address their challenges or expectations, and the other parties can pick up on them.

When the opposite is the case, you may end up with a group of people with expectations but cannot communicate them clearly. When the operations go south of these expectations, there is dissatisfaction. If expectations are not communicated effectively, it casts a shadow on the documentation process, leaving vital information missing. All these can impede international shipping operations, leading to downtimes and supply chain disruptions.

Standardize and Centralize the Documentation Process

To effectively coordinate the parties in the shipping process, it is important to create a centralized and standardized platform that all stakeholders have access to. This platform will ensure all documents, including customs form and commercial invoices, are processed more efficiently and that all parties can retrieve or submit necessary documentation as needed.

On the other hand, you have the standardization of these documents. To do this properly, you will want to implement the electronic data interchange system. It will enable and facilitate the exchange of standardized electronic documentation between all concerned parties. This way, you will ensure everyone has access to the same type of information. In keeping with our last point, this will also improve communication.

Streamline processes

Streamlining your international shipping operational processes is an effective strategy for ensuring seamless coordination. To do this effectively, the following will come in handy:

  1. Standardize the operation: This is essential in ensuring every stakeholder has access to the same process and information. It will also ensure that there is a uniform standard operating procedure across the board. Standardizing the process helps ensure consistency while reducing the risk of errors.
  2. Ensure Expertise: In an international shipping operation, you want to work with experts in the industry, preferably with several successful shipping operations under their belts. This applies to everyone, be it a customs broker or a carrier. It will simplify the process and save you time and resources.
  3. Training and Education: Outside the brokers and carriers, you will get better results in your shipping operation if the other operators are properly trained and certified to be on board. Again, this is a great way to increase effectiveness and limit time wastage.
  4. Pre-planning and Visibility: International shipping operations are too complex to be left to chance. You have to properly plan well in advance to ensure necessary precautions like the tracking number and weight limits are properly documented. With proper planning, you also have access to real-time data that will help in visibility and transparency, keeping you up to date on the entire process.

Invest in technology

Technology is a good friend of the logistics industry, and it is certainly a game changer for international shipping. With the right tech infrastructure, you can effectively communicate, streamline processes, and focus on the more delicate aspects of international shipping. Ultimately, this improves your coordination ability and the effectiveness of the entire process.Tech tools like the Internet of Things (IoT) help improve the visibility of the shipping operation, and shipping management software can be leveraged to integrate all aspects of the internal shipping operation into one platform, which would be more convenient to manage. With the advent of AI, you can also automate certain aspects of the shipping process, especially the repetitive tasks.

Technology solutions, such as the Silq platform, ensure you are up to date by sending you alerts on documentation and tasks that need processing. To take it further, each task is categorized according to urgency and importance.

How Silq Platform Facilitates Better Coordination and Keeps All Parties Informed Every Step of the Way

Picture Caroline Toyz, a small toy company that was on the verge of closing down because of a lack of coordination between all the relevant shipping stakeholders. Suffice to say the CEO, Caroline McDonald, wasn’t too pleased. With each passing day, a business that started off so well was beginning to look more like a sinking ship. Its once smooth operation was now characterized by missed deadlines, frustrated toy retailers, missing documentation, delayed customs clearance process, and to top it off, it felt like they could not get the brokers and carriers on the same page.

Caroline had spent so much of her career learning the ropes of building and selling toys, saving up as much as she could to eventually launch her own company. But it seemed that fate did not agree with her business choice as the logistics part of her operations was always a hassle. "Maybe I was never meant to own a business", she thought to herself. 

And then, one fine day things changed for the better. Caroline’s assistant was talking to a friend about the woes of his boss and how he may have to get a new job soon. His friend suggested Silq, a shipping platform that is currently helping his company streamline its shipping operations.

He suggested it to Caroline immediately, and they wasted no time conducting their due diligence. They really wanted to know if Silq would be able to solve their shipping challenge. When they were satisfied, they went into the agreement with all confidence, and here is what happened:

Caroline Toyz went from considering closing its doors to enjoying effective global shipping operations with the power of a platform that understood the industry and knew just how to get them up and running again. Silq has been helping businesses, especially those with global supply chains, simplify their shipping operations. It could do the same for you, too. Click here to get started.

Switching up: From Ineffective and Disorganized International Shipping Operations to Seamless Coordination Between All Stakeholders

Although international shipping operations can seem complex at face value, it doesn’t have to be difficult for you. One of the key ways to achieve these is through effective coordination between all stakeholders, especially the carriers and brokers. If you can achieve these, the documentation will take care of itself.

To ensure seamless coordination, we explored four main strategies: improving communication, standardizing and centralizing the documentation process, streamlining operations, and finally, highlighting the importance of investing in technology. These are vital strategies if you hope to enjoy a successful and seamless shipping operation.

With Silq, you have a platform that empowers you to implement and integrate these strategies into your operations. We take our planning seriously because it is the foundation of any shipping success. At no extra fee, you can leverage our platform to ensure you tick all the boxes and provide packing tips before commencing your shipping operations.

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