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    Freight forwarding in Japan explained

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    Freight forwarding in Japan explained

    On October 3, 2019, Posted by , In Moving tips, By , With No Comments

    Fright forwarding was mostly used by big companies that were importing and exporting their goods all around the world, that is, internationally. Nowadays, freight forwarding can be used not only for business but for personal reasons too. However, today, we will focus on freight forwarding in Japan. Yes, this entire process might seem complicated, daunting and overwhelming as there are many things involved. Luckily, we are here to help you understand how companies coordinate freight forwarding, that is, the shipment of goods from point A to point B. So, if interested in the explanation of how fright forwarding in Japan works, keep on reading.

    What is a Freight Forwarder

    First of all, the freight forwarder is a company. This kind of company specializes in shipment and arrangement of storage on behalf of its clients, that is – shippers. But, it is the company’s duty to also provide the so-called ‘full package’ of services. That includes transportation, preparing all the documents, storage, arrangement of cargo space, negotiating freight charges and the insurance of the shipment. They do this, and a lot more. So, no wonder why freight forwarding in Japan sounds so complicated. Thus, to make things a little bit clear, let us just say that a freight forwarder is a big company that will deal with importing and exporting cargo, and in this case, will handle import and export for you in Japan.

    A view at a shipping port.

    A company that deals with freight forwarding in Japan will act as an intermediary between the transportation services and the shippers.

    Key Stages of Freight Forwarding in Japan

    Until now, we all realized that freight forwarding can be really complicated. As previously mentioned, it is complicated because a lot of people and parties are involved. And no to mention, a lot of stages and paperwork are involved too! Luckily, companies like the one you can find at are there to help you. Moreover, we will give our best to try to make freight forwarding in Japan easier by breaking this process into six key stages:

    1. Export haulage – The freight forwarding company will arrange the transportation of all the goods form the client or shipper to the freight forwarder’s warehouse.
    2. Export customs clearance – Then, all of your goods must receive clearance in order to leave the country.
    3. Origin handling – This is when all of the goods must be unloaded first. Then, an inspector comes and checks the validation of the cargo.
    4. Import customs clearance – Inspectors and the authorities then must check all the paperwork that both you and your freight forwarding company collected.
    5. Destination handling – If the cargo and paperwork pass the inspection, all the goods are then shipped to the import warehouse.
    6. Import haulage – After a couple of days being in the warehouse, the cargo is transferred again, but this time to its final destination.

    Means of Transport

    Basically, there are three possible ways you can transport your cargo from the point of origin to the destination point. You can choose from the ground (road) transport, ocean (sea) fright, and air (plane) fright. All of these come with many pros and cons. And, they come with different restrictions and price tags. In the end, the type of transport you will choose depends on your goods and the time and money you have to work with. When it comes to freight forwarding in Japan, ground or road transport is less possible as Japan is an island. So, in this case, you have to choose between an ocean or air freight.

    Ocean Freight (or sea freight)

    This is by far the most common type of transport, not only with freight forwarding in Japan but globally. Actually, 90% of the goods are transported this way. This is because this type of transport is ideal for covering large distances and it can transport a large number of non-perishable goods. For example, you can easily and safely ship your motorcycle or many of them. Moreover, it is the cheapest and the most economical option. However, its downside is that it is slow, unfortunately. Shipment can last from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, depending on the distance.

    A ship with cargo symbolizing freight forwarding in Japan.

    Ocean freight: fast, economical, cheap, but slow.

    Air Freight (or plane freight)

    This is of course shipping goods by the airplane. Unlike road or sea freight forwarding that usually last for weeks or months, air freight is quite faster. Its biggest advantage is speed. Your shipment can arrive in just a couple of days. However, there are some cons as well. Firstly, air freight is extremely expensive. Secondly, it pollutes the environment the most. So, when it comes to freight forwarding in Japan, it is best to use it for shipping perishable goods or extremely high-value goods.

    A plane at the airport.

    Airfreight is extremely fast, but expensive and pollutes the environment.

    Range of Services

    There are many freight forwarding companies out there. So, you have to do a lot of research if you want to find an affordable and reliable company. As previously mentioned, freight forwarding companies offer a range of services. So, do not hesitate to ask what services does the company include in the basic ones, and what are the so-called extra services. Also, it would be a good idea to first do some researching and then talk it out with your freight forwarder. Usually, the basic services include packing, storage, customs clearance, international export and import, taking care of documentation, insurance, and inventory management. Of course, depending on a company and your type of cargo this range of services may change, you can also ask for extra services like cargo tracking and warehouse storage. And, be sure to ask about their policy and restrictions. When freight forwarding in Japan, you cannot ship the following items:

    • Toxic Items
    • Flammable Items
    • All kinds of drugs
    • Sharp objects
    • All kinds of weapons
    • Alcohol
    • Batteries
    • Food and Drinks (unless those on a special express delivery)

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