The world has changed quite a bit since the COVID-19 pandemic began in early 2020. Everyone has seen the changes in their day-to-day lives through the way they interact with people when socializing, shopping, and working. However, many companies had to deal with another disruption during COVID-19—the virus’s impact on the freight shipping industry.

Now that several years have passed since the start of the pandemic, it is a great time to reflect on what happened to international and domestic shipping during this time. Moreover, such reflection can help us learn how to maintain efficient, modern shipping strategies. For example, we can begin to analyze how COVID-19 has impacted freight shipping rates.

If you’re trying to move freight internationally or domestically, you should know how the industry has changed since 2020. Read below to learn how the Coronavirus’s impact on the supply chain has extended further than simply delaying your neighbor’s latest Amazon delivery.

The Early Days of the Pandemic

The pandemic certainly didn’t stop digital goods and services from thriving; from movie streaming services to food delivery, people still wanted to buy things safely. However, greater barriers were set in place for workers in the physical freight transportation industry. Workplaces around the world were disrupted by Coronavirus protocols, and the shipping industry is certainly included in that list.

Domestic air, road, and train travel allow freight to move efficiently. When it comes to international shipping, both air and sea are the primary modes of transportation.

This process became less efficient when global lockdowns prevented shipping services from moving cargo at their usual pace. While lockdowns occurred all over the world, demand for buying physical goods did not, so a backlog of cargo developed in the global shipping chain. Of course, some products were more in demand than others.

For example, as a recent article from the OECD mentions, personal protective equipment (PPE) was among the products in unusually high demand during the pandemic due to their necessity for safer public encounters. This shift in supply demand and transportation capabilities caused frustrating bottlenecks for freight, but the physical constraints weren’t the only barriers.

Maritime Freight Rates Increase

Now that you have a better understanding of COVID’s impact on the shipping industry, let’s take a closer look at the titular question: How has COVID-19 impacted freight shipping rates? The aforementioned OECD article reflects on both bulk and container freight rates. These rates began rising in mid-2020 until they reached their highest point since the global financial crisis in mid-2021.

While that may not be an issue for companies benefiting from those shipping costs, it can be disruptive to the supply chain for those paying the extra fees. It didn’t help that COVID-19 outbreaks were still happening during 2021; there was no overnight transition back to normalcy for the shipping industry once 2020 ended. That said, it’s important to remember that not every increase in freight shipping rates is solely due to the pandemic.

International Air Freight Rates

According to Freightos, both ongoing Coronavirus outbreaks and the war in Ukraine have disrupted air cargo, which influences the cost of air freight transportation. Let’s take a closer look at air cargo rates post-pandemic.

Let’s not forget that fluctuations happen for many reasons. Sometimes rates drop, but in the context of a post-2020 world, that isn’t always an incredibly gleeful detail. For instance, the same Freightos article mentions that Europe-East Coast prices are 28 percent lower than they were the previous year.

Before you start celebrating, Freightos’s article reminds us that this 28 percent rate drop still accounts for prices being 50 percent higher than average. As you can see, it’s easy to say that the pandemic caused a lot of problems around the world, but the truth of the matter is a bit more nuanced. In the current state of the post-pandemic shipping industry, costs can fluctuate, but that doesn’t mean companies can’t start building better strategies to prepare for the future.

Reflecting on Recent Years and Planning Ahead

Of course, this is only a snapshot of the shipping world as a result of the pandemic because so much has happened in recent years. We could list a flurry of graphs comparing the numbers over the years, but there’s more to explore with this topic. Simply put, the pandemic put a lot of pressure on supply chains worldwide, resulting in product demand fluctuating across the board and ultimately leading to freight bottlenecks at ports and increased shipping rates.

Now that we’re a few years removed from the onset of the pandemic, shipping rates aren’t so dire, but they do continue to fluctuate. Although COVID-19 may contribute to some of this, it certainly isn’t the only issue causing shipping rates to be inconsistent. Fuel costs and more fees associated with shipping can cause inconsistent rate expectations, too.

One additional way that COVID-19 has affected freight shipping rates occurs in the strategy side of the industry. In other words, the pandemic showed that companies must be ready to pivot when extraordinary obstacles pop up. For this reason, it’s critical to build a shipping system for your company that is as efficient during routine work as it is when dealing with unexpected problems. That’s easier said than done, so how do you do it?

A great supply chain begins with a professional, experienced team of logistics specialists. For example, at Diversified Transportation Services, we manage a company’s shipping logistics to ensure that shipments are arranged in an efficient and reliable way. Mislabeled shipments, mishandled goods, and inefficient shipping practices can strike when you don’t have focused, trained professionals by your side.

One of the many ways we can assist with freight transportation is through international freight forwarding services. Although we are not freight forwarders, we work with them to build an appropriate shipping strategy that aligns with the specific solution that the shipment calls for.

By partnering with a 3PL to oversee your company’s freight transportation, you can focus elsewhere while having peace of mind knowing that shipping specialists are handling everything on the freight side of the project. Take a closer look at your shipping strategy today to determine if you still have room to learn from the pandemic.

How Has COVID-19 Impacted Freight Shipping Rates?

Working with an experienced logistics company, such as a 3PL, helps companies more easily manage an efficient, safe shipping operation. However, a business owner should still learn some of the essential shipping industry terms before sending goods overseas. Doing so makes it easier to avoid miscommunications when shipping goods to customers, one of the most important branches of your operation. Read these terms to know when shipping international freight so that you can clearly communicate with your logistics experts.


Expedited shipping is when a company ships items at an unusually quick rate. Sometimes, a shipment isn’t time sensitive. However, some goods need to reach their destination within a few days, and that’s where expedited shipping comes in handy. Even when shipping freight overseas, a company can still expedite to ensure the quickest delivery time possible.


One of the essential terms to know when shipping international freight is HazMat due to the role it plays in safe freight delivery. HazMat translates to “hazardous material.” You’ll have to label flammable, toxic, or otherwise dangerous materials as HazMat to keep the carrier handling the materials safe. After identifying a HazMat order, the carrier can carefully handle the materials to avoid accidents.


If you’re not used to transporting cargo via sea, you may not know what maritime refers to in this industry. Maritime means transporting items via sea, specifically by loading the cargo onto a boat. Although it’s typically not as efficient as air travel, maritime freight transportation remains a reliable solution for many companies.


The final term to learn today is overage, which refers to how much cargo reaches its destination. More specifically, overage means there’s too much cargo in a delivery. Mistakes can happen in shipping, but proper logistics management ensures you can avoid accidental overages and more simple slip-ups.

Whether you’re seeking DHL international freight or another way of moving cargo overseas, you can do it today now that you have a firmer grasp on some of the industry’s most important terms.

Freight shipping requires a complex system of transportation modes functioning together to send items across the world. Whether your shipment is going on a short or long journey, they require more planning than it takes for an individual to send mail to a loved one. Maintaining clear communication during freight shipping processes is critical for keeping delivery dates consistent and packages safe.

Thus, you should familiarize yourself with the long list of terms and services involved in the shipping industry. For example, what is drayage and its role in logistics? Maintain clear communication with your 3PL today by learning about drayage in our explanation below.

Defining Drayage

Shipping logistics require coordinating a wide range of details to ensure a shipment reaches its destination safely. This isn’t only applicable to long-distance or international transportation; even domestic shipments moving across a single town require precise planning. For this reason, drayage is among our many shipping and logistics services. The drayage process is essential to ensuring short-distance shipments receive the care and efficiency they require.

That said, drayage has a straightforward definition. This term refers to the process of organizing and transporting shipments over short distances. However, we’re not talking about personal packages—we’re talking about large freights moving from port to port or another destination. Now that you have a clearer view of what drayage means to shipping logistics, we can move on to a very specific form of drayage services.

Intermodal Drayage

Intermodal drayage refers to short-distance shipments for freights using different modes of transportation. Through intermodal shipping, 3PLs can help companies transfer shipments for the most efficient delivery via air, sea, road, or rail. Simply put, without intermodal drayage services, you can’t shift from different modes of transportation during freight shipments.

Thus, partnering with reliable logistics services guarantees a smooth drayage process. There is still more to learn about the service because there isn’t just one form of drayage; there are many.

Six Drayage Styles

The shipping industry is complex as it is, but intermodal drayage also relies on various systems to create the best shipping experience for any chosen freight. Although there are many terms in the shipping industry to learn, they should become commonplace once you use them for freights.

According to the Intermodal Association of North America (IANA), you can separate drayage services into six distinct categories. These categories include intra-carrier, inter-carrier, door-to-door, expedited, pier, and shuttle. While some of these services may seem straightforward at face value, it’s invaluable to know precisely which each type entails. Let’s define these styles below so that you can navigate your shipping options more clearly.

Intra-Carrier & Inter-Carrier

The first drayage type is cross-town, also known as inter-carrier. As the name suggests, this type of drayage involves carrying shipments across a town, specifically by moving the shipments between multiple railroads. In addition, the transition between railroads is carefully optimized for a seamless, swift experience. That may sound obvious, but not carefully planning that transition can result in avoidable delays to the delivery date. If you want to plan efficient shipments, every step of the item’s journey must be successfully optimized for minimal downtime and maximum protection.

Although it has a similar name to inter-carrier drayage, an intra-carrier service is quite different. Intra-carrier drayage involves moving a shipment between two hubs owned by the same carrier. Moreover, this typically involves transitioning from a rail hub to an intermodal hub.

Intra-carrier drayage is also known as IMX. The various monikers for each type of drayage don’t help with keeping track of each, but, as you’ll learn below, each of these services’ definitions are fairly straightforward. The more you use these terms in the field, the less convoluted they will seem.

Door-to-Door & Expedited

The next form of drayage service we will discuss is called door-to-door. A door-to-door drayage service involves moving retail shipments to customers via road transportation. Although many modes of travel are available, trucks continue to be a critical part of the delivery process. In fact, another form of drayage involving road travel is expedited drayage.

An expedited drayage service transports time-sensitive shipments on trucks. Door-to-door can certainly be an efficient form of travel, but expedited drayage is primarily used for time-sensitive shipments that must reach their destination by the determined delivery date.

Pier Drayage

As you may assume from the name, pier drayage involves loading shipments at a pier or dock. That said, this type of drayage specifically involves intermodal travel of a freight between the rail hub and the pier.

Since railroads typically don’t sit 2 feet away from the nearest ports, the hand-off for these shipments becomes complicated. Pier drayage eases that complication by packing the items on a truck and taking it to the pier after their railroad journey comes to an end. Even when freights must travel via sea, trucks are invaluable for getting the items to their destinations.

Shuttle Drayage

Shuttle drayage is a form of transportation but also a storage solution. This is a process that involves taking a freight to a dedicated holding point. People leverage the help of shuttle drayage services when the point of origin is overcrowded. Sometimes, no matter the efficiency of your shipment planning, situations like overcrowded ports can slow down your freight’s journey.

Of course, if there isn’t a suitable place for your items at the point of origin, you don’t want to just leave them in a random spot until there is room available. Through shuttle drayage, logistics services can give your items a temporary storage point until they can progress through the next steps of the shipping process.

Now, you no longer have to wonder what is drayage and its role in logistics. When you’re working with logistics specialists such as a 3PL, you can expect them to do an efficient, professional job. Understanding the essentials of freight shipping, such as what drayage is, will help you work with your logistics service with more coherency and fewer questions. This doesn’t mean you should shy away from asking any questions you have to a 3PL, but hopefully you’ll have fewer you need answered now.

What Is Drayage and Its Role in Logistics?

The costs involved with shipping items internationally make it vital to plan a concise budget every time. That said, it’s not rare for companies to run into unforeseen costs along the way. But how do you avoid overlooking these fees? Use our list of commonly overlooked costs in international shipping to better prepare yourself when budgeting for shipments traveling overseas.

Fuel Surcharges

Fuel surcharges may not seem like a surprising cost, so why would someone overlook them when planning shipments? This cost is commonly overlooked because fuel surcharges fluctuate over time, as they are a reflection of fuel costs at a given time.

A simple solution to overlooking this cost is to know the current surcharge expectations for each shipment. Whether you’re faced with a new carrier or a new week, there may be a factor causing fuel surcharges to rise more than you expected.

Shipment Loss

More costs are involved with shipping than simply what’s needed to ensure the package properly reaches its destination. Sometimes, accidents occur that result in unplanned costs. Thus, one of the most commonly overlooked costs in international shipping is product damage or loss.

You can explore insurance options that cover damages, but choosing a reputable 3PL for shipping is also an effective way to ensure the shipment goes smoothly. After all, 3PLs oversee the shipping process and work with carriers for precise results. For example, Diversified Transportation Services partners with expedited freight carriers that ensure quick delivery times while keeping the items safe along the way. If experienced professionals handle the shipment, you can have more confidence when sending anything overseas.


Topics like tariffs, taxes, and duties should be something you’re familiar with if you’re in the international shipping industry.However, duties are paid for by either the buyer or the seller of the product. To avoid unforeseen costs, it is always important that the buyer, seller, and transportation provider communicate the chosen incoterms for the shipment.

An example of an incoterms where the seller pays the fees, duties and taxes is Deliver Duty Paid (DDP) and is often the reason companies alter the price of their product on shelves. Delivery Duty Unpaid (DDU) is when the duty payment is put into the hands of the shipment recipient. In such cases, always keep clear communication with the recipient to ensure they’re not caught off guard by the additional costs. Have this information ready for any upcoming shipments to ensure you always have the perfect budget in place for the item’s transportation.

If you have any questions regarding the incoterms for your shipment, please reach out to us at the

The shipping industry is full of terms and acronyms that are easy to mix up or use interchangeably. For instance, freight broker and freight forwarder are two terms you may see used to reference the same service, but you certainly wouldn’t go to them for the same job. What’s the difference between freight brokers and freight forwarders? Read below so that you know which service provider to contact for your company’s freight shipping needs.

Freight Forwarder

Freight forwarders are companies that are very actively involved in the physical transportation of shipments. The freight forwarder will handle storing, packing, and loading vehicles associated with your freight transportation. For instance, our freight transportation services can involve partnering with a freight forwarder to oversee international travel if that’s the most efficient solution. Now, let’s move on to the more managerial and logistical sides of the operation.

Freight Broker

Freight brokers work with a business that needs to negotiate freight transportation with shipping specialists. Think of a freight broker as a middle-man who connects a business with a shipping service. That said, the freight broker is not an official partner with the company in the same way a 3PL is, though we will get into that difference more in the next section. So, when it comes to the roles of the freight broker versus the freight forwarder, what exactly is the difference? Whereas the freight forwarder is actively on the ground moving shipments, the broker manages the relationship between shippers and carriers.


Now that you know more about what separates the freight broker and forwarder, let’s address the differences between them and a 3PL. After all, it’s easy to mistake a freight broker and 3PL at first glance because they’re involved with overseeing freight transportation, but they serve very different roles.

As mentioned above, 3PLs partner with a business to oversee their entire freight shipping operation. 3PLs are logistics specialists that ensure businesses can allocate their shipping services to an experienced, resourceful team of experts. That way, businesses can focus more on other areas of their company while 3PLs handle shipment delivery. Now that you’re more familiar with freight forwarders, brokers, and 3PLs, you can find the best expert that your operation needs today.

Looking for ways to reduce production and distribution costs without compromising product quality is always a helpful move for businesses and manufacturers. Fine-tuning your fees requires understanding the hidden costs in your supply chain. Let’s discuss how to find these charges and prevent them from catching you off guard.

Assessing Your Supply Chain

One of the best ways to take more control over hidden costs is to assess the price of each step. For example, shipping products isn’t a standard up-front cost for a business. Costs can fluctuate for many reasons, including the volume of traveling shipments from other supply chains. However, hidden costs like fuel can also catch unsuspecting businesses off guard. Like shipping costs, gas prices fluctuate consistently, so you must check prices every time.

Revealing the Hidden Costs

Beyond the shipping costs, you have to think about how manufacturing and monitoring quality products impact your budget. For instance, if an accident happens during the transportation of your goods, you may have to ship a second product to your customer if the product is not salvageable. Mistakes should be spotted during internal quality assurance checks, but problems with products can occur when they’re on the move. If a shipment reaches its destination damaged and unsalvageable, you may have to pay for freight charges to ship a new product, which isn’t free.

Even holding onto goods can cost you because you have to think about the costs of the facility you’re keeping those products in and the professionals overseeing the storage process. Likewise, if damage occurs during storage, you must replace the product. Taking these details into account will ensure you understand the hidden costs in your supply chain.

Working With Hidden Costs

Uncovering hidden supply chain costs and preparing for them before each shipment will likely sound daunting because you may not know where to start. This is why it helps to work with a logistics specialist, such as a 3PL. As a 3PL, Diversified Transportation Costs works with you to find the optimal transportation strategy, like by preparing international air freight and more solutions. Work with logistics specialists to find the best shipping strategy for both you and the receiver of each shipment. Use the guide above to navigate your shipping costs so you can avoid being blindsided by hidden fees.

Strategizing the best shipping solutions requires understanding what each method brings to the table. For instance, why should you choose air freight for shipping cargo? The obvious answer may be to reach territories overseas, but that’s not the only application for air freight. Learn more about the advantages by reading these top benefits of domestic air freight services.

Widespread Reach

One of the best benefits of this freight shipping solution is how far you can send cargo. Trucks are critical to international and domestic shipping alike, but the reach of a plane is unmatched when it comes to freight. For instance, we help businesses arrange DHL Express international shipping for sending cargo overseas.

Planes aren’t landlocked or bound by sea; they can fly over all terrain to deliver shipments safely. For this reason, many assume air freight is only for international shipments, but it also benefits domestic cargo.

Reliable Security

A benefit of domestic air freight services that should give businesses and customers peace of mind is the security. It’s no secret that airport security is thorough and reliable, and that doesn’t just apply to flights to Disneyland.

Beyond airport security, an advantage of shipping freight via air is aircraft don’t have to deal with issues trucks may encounter on the road, such as theft or collisions. Although air traffic is a factor to consider, road traffic backup can slow down trucks delivering cargo domestically.

Convenient Speed

That lack of dealing with street traffic also lends itself to another benefit of air freight for domestic shipments—speed. Planes travel from one spot to the next with only the weather in their way. By working with a reliable logistics specialist, such as a 3PL, you can plan your air freight schedule to find the most efficient time to ship.

Driving from Florida to Illinois will take well beyond 10 hours, but you can bypass that time significantly via air travel, where you don’t have to deal with roadblocks like construction, post-work rush hour, and excessively slow drivers. After learning what makes domestic air freight services so useful, consider how you can use this method to make your shipping experience quicker and more reliable.

Speed is one of the most important details to optimize when shipping items. Sometimes, a customer or client won’t mind waiting a while, but others need their product as soon as possible. You can use various vehicles, such as boats, planes, and trucks, to carry items swiftly.

So how much faster is air freight compared to ocean freight? Below, we’ll summarize how the pace of these two options vary, and how you can always establish efficient shipping plans for your products. In doing so, you can forge strong relationships with your clients through reliable, stress-free delivery experiences.

Air vs. Ocean

The best method for shipping items depends on many factors, such as the available cargo space and the intended delivery date. The delivery date is particularly relevant because it’s a commitment to the customer or client that they will get their items within a specified time, which gives them peace of mind and a greater sense of transparency.

Although various issues can cause delays, people widely consider air freight as the quicker option over ocean freight. Of course, ocean freight is efficient in the right circumstances, but priority shipments that need delivery ASAP are typically better off moving by air.

Finding Efficient Solutions

How much faster is air freight compared to ocean freight? As you now know, the answer is fairly straightforward, but efficient delivery also relies on the professionals helming the project every step of the way. For instance, teaming up with reliable 3PL specialists will help you find efficient solutions for every shipment, whether you need to send items by air or sea.

Air Freight Variations

Air freight isn’t just one type of shipping service. At DTS, our international air freight services include standard service, expedited/next-flight out, and more. These logistical solutions allow us to find efficient delivery paths for your shipments. If you can find an efficient 3PL, then you can expect their productivity to influence your shipments too. Speak with us today to discuss the best shipping solutions for your products.

Finding the best freight shipping plan for any delivery requires more than the right vehicles. Understanding the policies and potential extra fees involved is essential to putting together the perfect plan. Suffice it to say that it can be frustrating to see unforeseen charges that you don’t understand. Let’s help you gain more context so you can plan shipments accordingly. Refer to our guide below to find everything to know about freight shipping detention charges.

Introduction to Free Time

When a company scheduling shipments signs a contract allowing for the use of shipping containers, this contract outlines the available free time. In this context, “free time” refers to the specified time in which a shipper, such as a freight forwarder, is allowed to use the container, which has a designated end date. So, what happens when the container isn’t successfully returned to the owner on time? This is where the titular detention charges come into play.

Defining Detention Charges

A detention charge is a fee that a company charges when a freight forwarder or another shipping service neglects to return any borrowed container within the free time allotted by the contract. This isn’t a one-time charge; the charges will accrue every day that the container remains borrowed. Although these charges may sound daunting, all it takes is returning the containers on time to avoid such fees.

Avoiding Detention Charges

Learning everything to know about freight shipping detention charges becomes even easier when working with a reliable 3PL. As the specialists overseeing the shipping process, your 3PL should be able to help you find the most efficient ways to transport items. For example, at Diversified Transportation Services, we offer international freight forwarding services. Although we are not freight forwarders, we partner with reliable freight forwarders to ensure efficient transportation both internationally and domestically.

Many issues can occur during a shipment’s journey that can cause delays, such as a transportation vehicle breaking down. That said, getting containers back where they belong primarily comes down to logistics. To avoid detention charges affecting your shipments, work with a professional 3PL to find the best path for any shipment you need to deliver.

Freight shipping can be complex at first, but business owners can learn the ropes to keep communication clear between themselves and the team shipping their products. Learning the industry language helps business owners capture that clear communication. If you want to begin today, read these common freight shipping acronyms all businesses should know.


This is a cargo situation in which one shipment stays on one truck during its entire shipping journey; TL stands for “full truckload.” This scenario is best for shipments that will fill an entire truck, unlike other transportation options where your smaller shipment may pair with others to fill the vehicle’s cargo space.


A 3PL is a type of service provider. More specifically, this acronym directly translates to “third-party logistics.” In the freight shipping industry, a third-party logistics service helps companies fulfill their shipments so that the company needing shipping assistance does not have to do it themselves.

Instead, they can find a 3PL that can get the job done reliably. For instance, ourshipping and logistics services assist in various ways, including completing international exports from the U.S. and imports to the U.S. through a wide selection of logistical solutions.


FAK is a standard acronym in the industry meaning “freight all kinds.” This is a pricing term in the LTL shipping world that groups classes of freight into a given freight class. This allows the shipper to ship many products of different classes at the negotiated freight class.


This is one of the most common acronyms because it ensures clear communication between shippers and carriers. The BOL, or bill of lading, is the official legal contract between any carrier or shipper. The BOL typically details dates, names, addresses, and other details associated with the designated shipment.


This is one of the top freight shipping acronyms all businesses should know because it represents a critical step in shipment transportation. POD often translates to “proof of delivery.” As you may suspect, this refers to paperwork detailing and acknowledging the shipment’s delivery.

Now that you know five of the essential freight shipping acronyms, you can continue expanding your knowledge of the industry today.

When navigating any industry, having the ability to separate fact from fiction opens the door to new opportunities. For instance, certain myths in the shipping industry relate to 3PL. This stands for third-party logistics, which is a service provided to companies through which certain shipping operations are outsourced to another professional service.

Due to the myths about 3PL, it’s not always easy to determine whether it’s the best step for a business. To help you take that step accurately, look below to find several common 3PL myths debunked.

Overall Quality Consistency

When working with a third party on any aspect of your business, it’s understandable to have trepidation regarding their quality, whether it’s their speed or efficiency. If you’re working with a reputable 3PL, their services should help your business expand.

Moreover, they should be taking additional work off your plate to reduce stress and maintain efficiency. For instance, our international shipping solutionshelp businesses ship to and from the United States. Simply put, you don’t have to reduce the quality of your operations when partnering with a 3PL.

A Daunting Upgrade

Another common 3PL myth that can be swiftly debunked is that partnering with a 3PL is too daunting in scope or price. Of course, budgeting for a 3PL partnership is important, but prices will vary depending on unique factors, from your needs to the third party who is potentially accommodating them.

Moreover, third-party logistics are beneficial to businesses of all sizes, so choosing to expand in this way depends on your operation’s needs more than anything. Whether you’re a massive company or a flourishing smaller-scale enterprise, teaming up with a 3PL can expand your capabilities and maintain in-house efficiency. Always consider your options when optimizing shipping operations.

Degrading Communications

Another understandable concern regarding a 3PL’s performance and professionalism is their communication skills. Struggling to communicate with a 3PL that provides an essential service to your business is stressful, but it’s not the experience you’ll have universally. At Diversified Transportation Services, we take great pride in communicating daily with our customers and offer an online portal where our customers have full transparency on the status of each and every one of their shipments.

Finding the right 3PL to assist your operations means finding a service that is fully transparent with you and provides equal transparency to your customers. Any time a customer reaches out for assistance with a 3PL, they should expect the same attentiveness and friendliness that your company would provide. After seeing the myths debunked above, you can start finding ways to integrate 3PLs into your operations to support and stabilize your services.

Today, businesses have the ability to ship their products anywhere in the world. They can tap into new markets, boost their profits, and build their business using international shipping. However, there are a few drawbacks to shipping products overseas. And although internationally shipping your products brings in more profit, it requires a significant amount of time and money.

In addition to transportation expenses, businesses also pay duties, taxes, and tariffs when moving cargo to different countries. If you’re not familiar with these expenses, they can be difficult to navigate, especially since they change depending on the government and economy. Unfortunately, some of these taxes can be costly, so you’ll need to take them into account before moving your shipments.

Because these additional expenses can be challenging to predict, the best way to handle duties, taxes, and tariffs in international shipping is to learn more about them before you transport your cargo.

Customs Duties

Although duties, tariffs, and taxes sound similar, they are different expenses, so we’ll go over each one separately. We’ll begin with customs duties. When you ship items internationally, your shipments must pass through customs before they can enter a different country. After customs ensures that your cargo is legal, they send it on its way.

However, if customs finds any issues with your cargo, they can detain it for undetermined amounts of time. Sometimes, you might not be able to receive your cargo back from customs, causing you to lose time and money.

One of the tasks you must do to pass customs is to pay duties. Duties are indirect taxes that the government places on businesses that import goods into the country. The business that imports the shipments is responsible for paying this expense. Duties vary greatly depending on the weight, height, and type of products you ship.


Many businesses confuse duties with tariffs, and although they’re similar, they’re not the same expense. Tariffs are fees that the government enforces for certain products during specific times. Tariffs change quickly, so businesses must stay up-to-date on government events to see how they will affect shipping costs. Unlike duties, customs calculates tariffs based on the value of the imported goods. The purpose of tariffs is to decrease the number of imported goods on the market and increase the number of local items.

Import Taxes

Both duties and tariffs are types of import taxes. Import taxes are fees that the government places on items that enter the country. Since duties and tariffs fit under this category, they both count as import taxes. The purpose of these taxes is to support and protect local businesses along with the economy.

Calculate Your Expenses

Now that you know more about duties, taxes, and tariffs in international shipping, it’s time to dive into how these expenses affect your business. There are multiple ways to determine or calculate your duties or tariffs.

Thankfully, customs has a database for import taxes, so all you need to do is visit their website to find more information about specific duties or tariffs. To start your preliminary calculation for your import taxes, you need the HS code and the value of the good with the freight costs, insurance costs, and any other costs included. Once you have gathered that information, you can multiply the total of that with the duty rate to find the estimated amount of import taxes you will be required to pay.

Payment Options

Customs provides multiple payment options for taxes to make the process as convenient as possible. If you are a business on US soil, then you’ll need to pay with US currency. You can use checks or certain types of cards to pay the taxes. The key to a successful international shipment is to pay the exact amount on time. If you don’t pay the correct amount or if you send the payment late, customs will hold your shipment, and you’ll have to go through many steps to get it back on track.

Essential Documentation

Without the proper documentation, customs officials won’t be able to calculate the taxes for your shipment. There are a few documents that you will need to send to customs to ensure that your cargo reaches its destination. Some of these documents include a bill of lading, a packing list, and a commercial invoice with pricing, HTS tariff classification, and the origin country.

Always double-check these documents for errors before sending them through! One minor mistake can turn into a time-consuming problem, especially if you don’t have a lot of experience when it comes to dealing with customs.

Contact Customs

If you are new to the international shipping world and need help navigating all the steps, reach out to customs. They’ll ensure that you know what you need to do to ensure that your shipments reach their destinations safely and on time. You can also take a look at the customs website for more information about a specific tax or law, which comes in handy since these laws and taxes change often depending on the current government and state of the economy.

However, keep in mind that working with customs isn’t always an easy process, especially if you aren’t familiar with the transportation industry. If you have had some experience in the industry, then you know how difficult customs can be. That’s why we offer our services here at Diversified Transportation Services to make your life easier and your transportation processes smoother.

Work With a 3PL

All these transportation processes take time, which is one of the reasons why many businesses choose to partner with a 3PL and its freight forwarder relationships to help with their international shipping needs. At Diversified Transportation Services, we have decades of experience dealing with customs, taxes, and international laws.

With our international freight services, we help businesses of all sizes ship their products safely and efficiently overseas. We work with our reliable freight forwarders to ensure that your cargo reaches its destination.

Give us a call today for a quote or more information, and see what Diversified Transportation Services can do for you.

Duties, Taxes, & Tariffs in International Shipping
19829 Hamilton Avenue
Torrance, CA 90502
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