Shipping facts that you did not know about

The shipping industry is one of the most fascinating sectors in the world. While it is often wrongly accused of being an antiquated and outdated method of transport, in reality, things could not be any more different. The shipping sector is responsible for a large proportion of the world trade that occurs.

If it wasn’t for shipping, you probably would not be able to enjoy that iPhone that you love so much or that new car that you have been waiting for years to purchase. For an industry that has been around for centuries, you really do not hear of a lot of fun shipping facts being thrown around. To fill the void, here are fun facts about shipping that you probably did not know about:

Shipping fuels the world economy

Approximately 90% of the world trade is facilitated by the shipping sector. More than 20 million merchant ships can be found operating across the globe at any one time. That is the same number of inhabitants in Sri Lanka, which is categorized as the 58th most highly inhabited country in the world. There are more than 1.5 million people that work as seafarers and the number is slated to be on the rise in the next few years.

According to the International Chamber of Shipping, more than 50,000 merchant ships made up of bulk carriers, tankers, and container ships are currently involved in the business, transporting various types of cargos on daily basis. As a matter of fact, the entry of more containership to the market has revolutionized the blueprint of global trade over the past few decades enormously.

Greenest form of transportation

Container ships are some of the greenest forms of transportation out there. Compared to other modes of transportation such as trucks and airplanes, container ships consume a lot less fuel, which results in fewer greenhouse emissions. To deal with environmental pollution, more and more shipping companies are using technology to reduce the shipping industry’s carbon footprint.

The worst communication ever

When ships are out at sea, almost two-thirds of the ships and their crew members have no way of communicating with the Ocean Transportation Intermediary or the OTI apart from the captain and a few other essential members of the crew. As such, crew members tend to be isolated from friends and family members, as well as any means of entertainment for weeks on end. So the next time you get your long awaited package, try and think about all the crew members that sacrificed to have it shipped to you.

Megaships exist

Megaships, which are otherwise known as containerships are designed specifically for the purpose of holding and transporting huge quantities of cargo compacted in different sizes of containers. Presently, there are about 7 types of containerships in service all over the world with the largest being OOCL Hong Kong. The OOCL Hong Kong is a long Ultra Large Container Vessel (ULCV), standing at 399.87 meters and has a carrying capacity at 21,413 TEU. The world’s largest ship is capable of transporting more than 745 million bananas.

Champions in the shipping game

Germany, Japan, and Greece have the world’s biggest shipping fleets. Meanwhile, the Philippines produces more shipping professionals and seafarers than any other country.

It is the least expensive mode of transport

Of all the transport solutions that are utilized in the shipping industry, shipping is the most affordable one to use. The final quote prices are often based on the size of the cargo rather than its weight. Therefore, if you are looking to transport large expensive cargo like transporting a car from Japan to Kenya, then shipping would be your best bet to save money.

Pirate threats are still real

The rate of pirate attacks has reduced over the years, but the number of cases reported is still very high. For instance, pirate attacks happening off the coast of Somalia were higher in 2012 than violent assaults in South Africa, which experiences some of the highest crime rates in the world. Each year more than 2,000 sailors lose their lives as a result of pirate attacks.

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Healthy tips for long distance truck drivers to stay healthy

Long distance truck drivers are subjected to traveling extremely long distances which can force them to be away from home for weeks or days on end. For many, this career path often leads to unhealthy lifestyles because the nature of the job is monotonous and it requires one to be sedentary or inactive for long periods.

In addition to ensuring that their safety is maintained, truck drivers should also ensure that their health and fitness is at par. Because long haul truck driving can be exhausting and sometimes overwhelming, there is a particular lifestyle that truckers must maintain to avoid living unhealthy lifestyles which can be debilitating for the driver’s health as well as his capacity to drive carefully.

Although rest stops throughout the road can be helpful when a driver needs to take a break, such rest stops are often characterized by fast food restaurants designed to help truckers save time. Additionally, many truckers often rely on huge amounts of caffeine, junk food, and stimulating drugs such as miraa to stay energized and pass the time. These substances are often unhealthy and can cause health concerns for the driver.

Maintaining healthy habits while on the road is vital because they can help truck drivers avoid fatigue and burnouts so that they can drive for longer safely.

Ways that can help long distance drivers remain healthy while on the road

Eat healthy while on the go

Eating and snacking on healthy meals while on the go is a great way for long distance drivers to ensure that they are full until they can make a proper stop to get a healthy dish. It is very easy to find a healthy snack while driving.

Fruit vendors standing at the roadside are always waiting and ready to offload fresh fruits in many popular truck stops at a moment’s notice.Fresh fruits such as bananas and peeled pineapples are great for eating on the go and they are inexpensive. If you prefer, you can also opt for yoghurt or mixed nuts.

Eat your veggies

Vegetables are essential to a trucker’s diet because they improve concentration and focus levels on the road. Green veggies especially contain Vitamin K which lowers cholesterol and preserves a trucker’s vision. A large amount of green veggies including spinach and sukuma wiki (kale) should be eaten at least twice a day.

Drink plenty of water

Dehydration is a trucker’s worst enemy because it affects the driver’s capability to concentrate on the road. Truckers should try to consume at least 3 liters of water throughout the day so that they can make sure that their bodies are functioning optimally. Furthermore, water ensures that you feel full for longer allowing you to drive further before you have to take your next break.

Truckers should ensure that they avoid soda and any fizzy drinks at all costs unless extremely necessary. Soda dehydrates the body and it causes one to suffer exhaustion at the end of the day. Rather than opt for soda, a healthy trucker should choose healthier beverage options such as tea or juice.

Sleep properly

A trucker’s quality of food is just as important as their quality of sleep. Truck drivers should sleep for not less than 7 hours daily in a dark, quiet and comfortable place. Sufficient sleep is critical as one in five deaths on the road are often caused by drivers that fell asleep while driving. If you are working long hours, sleep is your best bet for guaranteeing s safe arrival.

Taking a break every 2 to 3 hours to stretch or do simple exercises like start jumps can help you to feel more energized if you are driving for more than  hours. You can also take a few minutes to do some stretches such as touching your toes so that you can get your blood flow circulating well.

Keep your mind busy

Driving long distances is an extremely boring job especially if you have been doing it for a long time. It is therefore very easy to get distracted or become too engulfed in your thoughts. Dwelling on your thoughts for too long can be a bad thing as it can cause irrational emotional reactions that can distort one’s thought process.

Truck drivers can stay alert and fresh easily by listening to a range of musical styles or by tuning in to an array of radio stations. The options out there are numerous so it really is all about preference.

Use the safest long distance drivers in town

Sidoman only uses the most qualified and best trained truck drivers to ensure that your goods arrive safely and to guarantee the safety of the driver and other road users. Learn more about our truck drivers or request a quote here.

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10 Safety tips to ensure that freight drivers arrive safely

Freight drivers, particularly of the long haul variety, are an essential component of the freight forwarding process. Long haul drivers ensure that goods and materials to be transported by road arrive at your doorstep safely.

Although freight drivers are indispensable in the world of shipping and logistics, over the road driving can be a dangerous job. While the road certainly offers freedom and flexibility, there is always the constant pressure to deliver freight on time, which can make safety an issue for drivers.

Unfortunately, it is quite common for fatal accidents involving large freight trucks to occur. Most of these fatalities can be avoided by following basic safety tips that can help truck drivers steer clear of dangerous situations while on the road.

10 Safety tips for long distance freight drivers

Pre-trip truck inspection

Before you start your journey, check every component of your truck to make certain that everything is where it is supposed to be. Check that your horns are working, the breaks are in great condition and fluid levels are ok, and so on. Giving it a thorough look over will give you the peace of mind necessary to drive safely.

Avoid distractions at all costs

Paying attention to the road is probably the most basic tip for any driver but it is often the most ignored. Long haul drivers must keep an eye out for any potentially dangerous situations such as roadblocks. However, they must do so while paying attention to the road.

Ensure that you keep both your hands on the steering wheel, maintaining them at the 9 and 3 o’clock position to give you maximum steering wheel movement. If you are using a navigation app such as Google Maps, make sure that you stop and park in a safe place first before you start adjusting your settings or entering route information.

Take it slow

Although you must always try your hardest to succeed in every task assigned to you, remember that no freight is worth endangering your life for or of other road users. Whether there is too much traffic, the weather is too hot or other road user’s tempers are flaring, you should consider taking a second to breathe and take a cool gulp of water before doing anything drastic-cooler heads always prevail, after all.

Keep your lights clean

Make sure that you keep your headlights clean at all times when driving. Your lights are critical for maintaining your safety, especially on isolated roads at night. Bright lights that can be observed from a distance are essential because they help other motorists see your incoming truck sooner. It also gives other drivers more time to adjust in the event of any potential hazards before it is too late.

Freight drivers should load and unload safely

During loading, the truck should be turned off and chock blocks should be applied for added security. Do not re-start your truck or pull out until you have verified that the process of loading or unloading has indeed been completed and that no workers are still loading the trailer. Before starting your journey, always check that the freight is secured properly.

Wear your seat belt at all times

It is critical that you wear a properly adjusted seat belt throughout when driving. Seat belts are the most effective device that a long haul trucker can use to maintain safety always.

Be smart about your driving capabilities

Even though you may have been driving for years, it is vital to be smart about your driving aptitude and capabilities. Even if you are fairly sure that you can drive through bad weather conditions, do not risk your life by attempting it. Consider cutting your speed down by a third when driving in the rain and slow down whenever you approach work zones or if you find yourself in the midst of a construction zone.

Maintain the speed limit

Maintain the speed limit to guarantee your safety and that of others around you. If you can, travel at 100 KPH or lower but always check to see if any speed limits have been posted on the road that you are traveling on. Based on your current driving conditions, you can adjust your speed level to a safer one or increase it as you see fit.

The best Freight drivers invest in sunglasses

Sunglasses help to take care of blinding glares caused by the sun or by light reflecting off other vehicles or buildings. Sunglasses that have curved lenses can protect the front and the sides while a thin frame can free up your peripheral vision. When approaching a tunnel, always remove your sunglasses for maximum vision.

Overcome your fatigue

Driver drowsiness is also responsible for numerous road accidents. If you are driving for more than 8 hours, make sure that you take at least a 30 minute break during the first 7 or 8 hours of your shift. Although caffeine, energy drinks and miraa (khat) have known to help, these products should be used in moderation to avoid eventual burnout.

Bonus tip: Good freight drivers are healthy

Keeping yourself safe and healthy is especially paramount if you are to have a successful trucking career. Maintain a healthy diet, work out, and most of all get enough sleep whenever on duty because fatigue and drowsiness are a major concern for drivers who deal with long distances.


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Tips to Avoid Costly Customs Mistakes

Tips to Avoid Costly Customs Mistakes

From wrongly written addresses to ambiguous item descriptions, simple mistakes in the world of logistics can cost companies a pretty penny in terms of both time and money when moving international shipments. Various technological advances, as well as some customs procedures going digital, may have reduced the likelihood of such occurrences but the risk still remains. Incomplete, inaccurate or unreasonably filled electronic declarations may result in inflated costs during shipping and eventually slow down company production and impede productivity of the company as well as the movement of goods.

However, all hope is not lost; new age multi-country customs management software, with capabilities like automated check algorithms that flag errors, can help companies combat these issues and prevent the most common mistakes, which set off red flags for customs authorities.

Incorrect customs classification
A validated invoice serves as the basis for the customs declaration for both imports and exports. A detailed description of goods is vital to facilitate proper customs classification. From the importer’s perspective, clear agreements must be made with the supplier. A good’s description is sufficient when information for each item is listed, including the purpose for use, material, and characteristics. This can then be attributed to a customs tariff number. It is sensible for the supplier to include the importer’s item number in its invoice. If the attribution is not definitive, false tariff classifications can lead to excessive duties payments. A good customs handling solution will support both ends of the supply chain, streamlining communication, and enabling information to be shared automatically.

TIP: Create a database within your customs software for all common items, with master data and the customs tariff numbers to be used respectively. This will save time in the import and export process.

Subsequent payments and excessive customs duties
Within the customs classification, a product is classified into the electronic customs tariff and assigned a tariff number. If the goods are declared under the false customs tariff number during import, the customs office will charge only the duties associated with the specified code number. False tariff classifications are particularly tricky because the customs office rarely inspects the goods themselves. The inspection rate is generally about 1.5 percent, so errors in customs declarations can remain undiscovered for many years. And, while it’s possible to get a refund for excess duties paid if the customs office examines the characteristics of the goods, it could just as easily result in additional payments. Moreover, depending on the country, action can be enforced for up to three to ten years after the item has been shipped. It is far better to get the classification right the first time.

TIP: Regularly update master data to avoid subsequent payments and excessive duty payments.



Missing information
 Incoterms: Missing invoice information on the agreed terms of delivery is one of the most frequent reasons for questions and delays.

 Number of items: Customs declarations with missing or false information on the number of items are instantly rejected by the customs authorities. Your customs software should have the ability to check the information entered and trigger an alert if it is found to be incorrect. In the process, for example, the indicated number of pieces in combination with the weight serves as the basis for automated plausibility checks. Accordingly, a shipment weight of 1.536 kilograms does not match a quantity of 100 notebooks. To eliminate this simple error, the quantity of items should always be specified on the commercial invoice, even if this is not always required.

 Total price: The total price is shown on the invoice so one can check the completeness of multi-page documents, and organizations must specify the currency in which the invoice was issued.

 Customs value for goods delivered for free: Since no transaction value is available for these items, alternative methods for the customs value calculation must be used. Customs value calculation methods are subject to firm rules and can vary between countries. Specifying fictional goods values is not permitted.

Incorrect certificates of origin
It is possible for certificates of origin to be declared invalid after the import because the authorities doubt the correctness of the goods origin. Without a valid certificate of origin, penalties may result. Depending on the country of import, different certificates of origin may be required for the same product and different rules for the re-export may apply.

TIP: Harmonize the customs regimes of multiple countries into a single output with customs software.



Customs snags lurk in many different forms when importing or exporting goods, and sometimes these issues become apparent only after months or even years. It’s vital to check your processes for their sustainability. A best-of-breed, multi-country customs management software solution can help maintain compliance with customs and security regulations around the world and remain compliant even as requirements change. It may also be advisable to partner with a company such as Sidoman Investment Limited who specialize in logistics matters and can advise on importation/exportation processes or take them over completely so that your company may focus on its core business. Contact Us today to consult on all ‘matters logistics.’

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Sidoman’s Freight forwarding trends in 2018

The year has just started, which means that it is time to review the freight forwarding trends in 2018. Global trade continues to grow at an accelerating rate. The number of tons shipped by ocean containers has continued to increase over the years, from 102 million tons back in 1980 to a whopping 1720 million tons in 2016. Not only has this shaped the logistics industry and helped its growth, it also means that the complexity of conducting global trade as well as the need to comply to the numerous regulatory and licensing requirements has made it more challenging for professional such as freight forwarders s in the field.

As 2018 begins, logistics managers must assess and define strategies for this New Year in order to ensure their success. Understanding the trends in freight forwarding can help freight forwarders tie together expectations, review business performance and organizational goals so that strategies, logistics processes and contracts can be revised or improved upon. Here are some of the trends in freight forwarding that you can expect in 2018 across various transportation modes:

Freight forwarding trends in 2018 in Air freight

Air freight volumes are expected to continue to increase in 2018. This is largely because the demand for freight space is slowly increasing and might grow beyond its capacity in the next coming years.  Since the retail supply chain has undergone a massive transformation in the past few years, retailers are now looking to leverage their stores better so that they can compete with giants such as Amazon and other e-commerce retailers.

As such, popularly bought items such as clothes and electronics will be more accessible to international consumers, making it easier to order online and have your items shipped to you by a reliable freight forwarding company. As the demand for air freight continues to grow, an increase in rates is also foreseeable; fuel costs are expected to increase because of a weaker USD. Supply chain challenges from Russia and OPEC will also persist this year.

Freight forwarding trends in 2018 in road freight

Road freight will continue to face some of the same challenges that were experienced in 2017. For instance, road safety will have to be addressed particularly where unsafe road networks are concerned. Technology filled debates such as the use of autonomous trucks to deal with driver shortage will also continue to plague road freight as a whole.

Freight forwarding companies and services will have to take aggressive actions in 2018 to lure new drivers as well as develop systems that can train existing drivers. To increase efficiency, shippers and carriers will also have to rely on transportation management and transportation network design solutions to solve dire issues such as empty miles.

Freight forwarding trends in 2018 in Warehousing

Last year, there was a public debate looming regarding labour shortages in warehouses. The need for more warehouse workers has increased over the years because of e-commerce and omnichannel. However, warehouse workers often have to work longer hours for very little pay so it is not a desirable job for many. Because of the shortage, logistic service providers are currently exploring and considering the use of autonomous mobile robots as a way to meet the labour shortage. In the next few years, warehouses can expect an increase of sales where bots are sold to a warehouse in a robot as a service (RaaS) capacity.

Freight forwarding trends in 2018 in Ocean freight

This year, the rates for containerized trade volume are expected to double in Africa , and are expected to increase everywhere else except Europe. The uncertainty over Britain’s exit from the EU is bound to affect retailers, suppliers and manufacturers. A large number of EU based businesses are anticipating moving their supply chain out of the UK due to the Brexit decision to leave the single market and custom unions.

Additionally, as more shippers transition to electronic chart displays that are prone to hacking, security risks are also expected to be on the rise.

The overly active hurricane season last year damaged both containers and trucks. Shippers may experience higher than normal increases in shipping rates at certain parts of the world affected by hurricanes, which might lead to tighter capacities as more carriers and shippers try to consolidate freight and get rid of deadhead.


Shed a light on any other trends in freight forwarding in 2018. Leave a comment below.

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Amazon and Sidoman: curious similarities worth knowing about

The world has changed significantly since any of us were kids. Somewhere along the way, someone decided that walking to a brick and mortar shop to buy those dresses and trinkets that we like and place so much value on was simply too tiresome. This, opened doors for organizations such as Amazon to step in and take all the headache out of walking.

In real sense, Amazon is sort of a freight forwarding service but for everyday stuff.  Amazon, like all freight forwarders, has gone out of its way to make relationships in the e-commerce industry. It has managed to collect the world’s largest number of retailers so that all the work is done for you; all you have to do is select an item that you want, pay for it, and check out. Voila! Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.

Amazon and Sidoman similar? Really? How?

What Amazon is doing, and doing extremely well, is nothing more than what freight forwarding companies such as Sidoman have done for years. Shipping is an extremely complex venture. Picture having to get 2,000 boxes of shoes from China to different retail stores in Kenya; doesn’t sound so easy, does it?

Like Amazon, Sidoman also has to concentrate on value addition. As technology continues to make the purchasing process more efficient, it has allowed more companies to join the e-commerce game, such that Amazon now has competitors. Similarly Sidoman must exist in the same environment as other freight forwarders. However, to remain the best, it must go the extra mile to differentiate itself and stand out.

Adding value, through expertise, expanding contacts in the world of logistics, and using specialized technology which makes freight forwarding more efficient are some of the ways that Sidoman uses to define itself as a leader in the field. That is why Sidoman can get it to you faster and for less money.

How has technology changed the logistics industry?

Technology has made it possible and easier to access software that freight forwarders can utilize to better control the logistics process. Everything nowadays from recruiting and driver staffing, to monitoring and coordinating fleet can be improved with technology. The improved ability to communicate and get access to fleet information effortlessly, has allowed freight forwarders to improve upon delivery times, which is of course of benefit to you, the customer.

Safety technology is perhaps one of the best things to happen to logistics and freight forwarding in general because it has helped significantly with issues such as:

  • Stability control
  • Collision avoidance systems
  • Blindspot warning devices for truck haulage etc.

Investments in safety technology have not only reduced injuries and fatalities but they has also helped freight forwarders cut costs considerably.

Have any insights regarding how technology has shaped the world of logistics? Reach out here.

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How to avoid buying low quality goods from China when importing

Importing quality products from China so that you can sell them online through the various e-commerce platforms available can be profitable. However, your profit margins can be affected when you buy low quality goods from China. Although an e-commerce business is generally simple, it can be easy to over think it because of all the risky moving parts involved.

Starting an online business, much like any other business has its own sets of risk but if you do not know what you are doing, it is very easy to end up with knock-off goods worth thousands of dollars that may not offer any value to your customers at all. That being said, there are some things that you can do to avoid buying low-quality goods from China.

How do low-quality goods from China come about?

First things first, it is important to point out that China is one of the best manufacturing countries in the world. This means that thousands of companies and businesses from all parts of the globe rely on Chinese manufacturers for their high-quality products. Sadly, although some companies have built a reputation for themselves for producing goods that consumers can rely on, there is an equally successful section of manufacturers that produce low-quality goods from China by cost-cutting.

Such suppliers often employ cost-cutting measures when manufacturing goods with the hope that the buyers and their customers will not notice. The quality of the product usually starts off high, but it soon begins to dwindle in a process that is often referred to as quality fade in the manufacturing sector. The honest truth is that businesses and customers may or may not detect the changes so it is always important to put measures in place that can eliminate defective products entirely before any harm comes to any consumer.

In some cases, low-quality goods usually come about as a result of non-deliberate mistakes. For instance, a supplier may send out the wrong type of shoes to a buyer not because of self- sabotage but because of poor quality assurance processes. As always, this is why it advisable to only work with a reputable company that has years of experience to ensure that such mistakes do not occur.

Here is how to avoid importing low-quality goods from China

Know and understand the value of your products

You can assess the value of the products that you are buying by ensuring that you get at least three to four quotes that will help you settle on the right market price for your product. Chinese manufacturers are incredibly competitive and similar products are typically priced similarly or within a small price range of each other.  If you find more than a10% difference between the quotes that you receive from suppliers, then you should be aware of which supplier you can trust and which one you cannot.

For instance, if you are importing weaves from China and you get the following quotes:

1st quote: $35.00

2nd quote: $34.00

3rd quote: $ 13.00




There is likely something strange about the 3rd quote because it is incredibly low compared to the other two. This could mean that the weave has been constructed with cheaper materials which will result in an inferior product.

Send a purchase order

When sending your orders to your suppliers, ensure that you include an actual purchase order instead of just sending an email. Purchase orders are more professional and they are likely to make your business appear well put together, which will demand some level of respect and professionalism. In turn, this means that suppliers will take fewer liberties with the quality of your products.

Send a product specification document

Ensure that you include a product specification document along with your purchase order. A product specification document is simply a document that defines what the high quality product that you want should look like. This document will help you set a standard and you can use it as a quality assurance document for your Third Party Inspection when your goods arrive. If any issues occur with your order, the supplier cannot give you excuses as long as you have a product specification document. A product specification document can contain details such as:

  • Where you want the location and size of your company logo to be.
  • The color of the items.
  • Pictures of all hardware that needs to be attached.
  • The material types to be used, eg, synthetic, polyester etc

Try and include as many specifications as possible to ensure that you get the exact product that you are paying for/need.

Perform third party inspections

There are several companies that offer Third Party Inspection services that are affordable and reliable. Third Party Inspections allow you to verify that the products that you receive meet the criteria specified in your product specification document. Such inspections also ensure that your supplier never cuts corners.

Review your goods completely

Once you get that first shipment of products, make sure that you review them thoroughly. You should ideally point out any elements that you need changed on your next order so that you can include them in the product specification document. As you continue to receive feedback from your customers, you can adjust your needs as you build your business.

What if you receive low-quality goods from China?

Try as you may, it is crucial to understand that each shipment will always have its sets of complications. If you ever receive low-quality goods from China, common practice dictates that you should raise the issue with your supplier and ask for replacements on the next order. You can try and get a refund, but most suppliers won’t give you a refund unless you have worked with them for several years and have developed a trusting and dependable relationship with them.

Ever encountered low-quality goods from China? Did you take any steps to fix the issue? Please share your experiences and tips in the comment section below:












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How to have a successful career in freight and forwarding


So, you’re thinking about a career in freight and forwarding- congratulations! A career in freight and forwarding can be extremely rewarding because international trade is a tremendously huge and profitable industry. Don’t get us wrong here; a career in freight forwarding is not all peaches, unicorns, and rainbows.

Freight forwarding consists of a highly complex process that ensures that the movement of goods from point to point is seamless so that the cargo can get to the owner undamaged and on time. The essence of the entire freight forwarding process is to make certain that the cargo is picked up from the seller and delivered to the customer at the right time, place and in the expected condition. Sounds easy enough right?

Companies such as e-commerce stores and individual buyers are dependent on freight forwarding companies such as Sidoman especially if they are involved in multinational or international export or import. While a freight forwarder does not actually move the cargo itself, the freight forwarder acts as an intermediary between the customer and the transportation services involved whether air, road or sea freight.

Why do companies need a freight forwarder?

Companies need freight forwarding companies to deal with their imports and exports because large shipping companies only deal with large shippers such as Amazon. Therefore, for small and medium business who for example specialize in selling clothes in the CBD to survive in business, they rely on freight forwarding companies to negotiate the importing and exporting of the shipping containers or the different modes of transportation that are used in the process. Freight forwarding companies also help individuals to get the best freight forwarding rates.

What positions/ job titles does a career in freight and forwarding promise?

There are many different possible positions that can be held by individuals in the freight and forwarding industry. Some of the positions and job vacancies in freight forwarding include:

  • Customs Broker.
  • Customs clerk.
  • Export officer or export coordinator.
  • Freight forwarding manager.
  • Documentations or freight operations clerk.
  • Freight Scheduler.
  • Import officer.
  • Logistics Manager.
  • Shipping agents.
  • Supply chain manager, and many more job titles within the industry.

The responsibilities of a freight forwarder include but are not limited to:

  • Arranging for the bills of lading and all associated shipping documentation on behalf of the client.
  • Issuing customers with approved House bill of Lading.
  • Arranging or forwarding the client’s cargo as per the needs and instructions of the client.
  • Storing cargo belonging to customers in a warehouse. All respectful and reliable freight forwarding companies like Sidoman offer warehousing services.
  • Booking and handling cargo.
  • Negotiating freight pricing on behalf of the client.
  • Experience in all freight transportation modes including air, sea, and road.

Complications often occur during the process of freight forwarding. As such, the freight forwarding services that you as the agent offer is a client’s line of defense when complications arise. A qualified freight forwarder has the capacity to help with a shipment that is a thousand miles away because they have the know-how and the experience needed to do so successfully.

In this light, a career in freight and  forwarding is no joke; you have to have the grit and the social skills to deal with challenging components in the supply chain.

How to have a successful career in Freight and Forwarding

The world is now a global village, and with the preponderance of the internet use and the rise of e-commerce stores, a career in freight forwarding has never seemed more lucrative. As technological access becomes more prevalent, the opportunities for freight forwarders will continue to increase principally for those people that have the right approach. Here is how to become a successful freight forwarder:

Keep up with technological changes

To become the best freight forwarder, it is important to embrace and keep up with technological changes as they occur. Technological advancements such as freight forwarding management software as well as customer relationship management software can help you to be more efficient and therefore more productive as a logistics expert.

Reach out

Networking has never been more important than it is in today’s contemporary job environment. Networking and connecting with peers in the freight forwarding industry allows you to expand your interests and career goals. The easiest way to expand your network is to build the relationships that you already have with your colleagues, then you can work on expanding your professional circle from these relationships.

Stay knowledgeable

Having the right information at your fingertips is not only your duty but it is your responsibility as an individual in the freight forwarding industry. Having the right know-how allows you to understand what is required of a freight forwarder so that you can provide the best service possible. A knowledgeable freight forwarder has the capacity to identify the needs of a customer and handle them adequately to the client’s satisfaction.

Call your clients regularly

The best freight forwarders call their clients on a regular basis so that a candid and constructive dialogue can occur between client and freight forwarder. Your role as a freight forwarder is to understand the needs of your customers including upcoming shipments, future projects and any problems that the client might anticipate in the future. Your job is to collaborate with your client so that your customer’s business can grow and so that you as the professional can consolidate your role as the only freight forwarder worth calling.

Go above and beyond for your client

As a freight forwarder, you should be willing to go above and beyond for your client and not just settle for a mediocre level of service. What sets a good freight forwarder from the best freight forwarder is the willingness to add value to the supply chain. This means going the extra mile to analyze the client’s shipping patterns and come up with a suggestion on the best way to handle future volumes. Alternatively, you can offer a helping hand in the face of challenges should your client need it. Your duty as a qualified freight forwarding agent is to anticipate the ever-changing needs of your client and provide solutions that align with their strategic goals.

So? Still interested in a career in freight forwarding? Share with us your doubts, challenges, and thoughts here.











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How to label your packages for export

The last phase of packing your product for export effectively is always labeling. Parcels can travel thousands of miles through modern and sophisticated global networks before they finally reach their destinations. To ensure that your packages are always delivered in time and in excellent conditions, it is important to label your packages for export shipments correctly. If you have never exported anything before, here are some labeling tips to help you out.

Label your boxes with all the necessary information

When exporting, some of the information that you will need to include on the label, which is important for making sure that your goods arrive undamaged and safely include:

  • The country of origin
  • The shipper’s mark
  • The weight and or volume of the package or items you are shipping. Your net and gross weight measurements should be included in metric measurements, which is the accepted standard worldwide.
  • Cautionary marks and instructions for handling such as GLASS to indicate fragility or THIS SIDE UP.Consignee details (the receiver of the items)
  • The seller’s name and order number
  • The number of the package or size of the case if you are exporting multiple boxes or crates. For instance, labeling ‘one of two’ and so on will guarantee that your shipment arrives together at the port of destination.

Make certain that the country of origin is labeled correctly- the country of origin may differ from the country of business if the products were actually manufactured in a different country. Check the regulations in your destination country to ascertain the rules (different export markets may require the country of origin to be marked in a specific way). Inappropriate details regarding the country of origin on the label may result in confiscation of goods by the customs authorities of the destination country so prudence should be exercised.

Do not add unnecessary information that does not serve a purpose

Unless your destination country requires you to specify the contents of the package or box, you should refrain from denoting the contents of the package on the label. Specifying the contents is often an invitation for thieves to steal your goods. If you must, use coded marks to identify the goods in accordance with your destination country.

Only use brand new boxes

Sidoman understands and sees the value in recycling. However, recycled boxes often contain old marks, which lead us back to the above point.  If you are planning on using old boxes, make certain that all old marks, addresses, labels, and advertising is removed or obscured permanently to limit the confusion that handlers or carriers may face.

The label must be clear and permanent

The labels that you use must be large and easy enough to read. Ensure that you have enough space to fit all the important information required. The labels that you select must also be waterproof and resistant to natural elements.

Label multiple sides

Consignee marks, which are the symbols placed n packages for identification purposes should be included on multiple sides. Consignee marks generally consist of triangles, diamonds, circles, crosses, squares etc and design letters or numbers that help to identify the nature of the package.

If possible, try and make all five sides of your carton, this way, handlers can locate your carton no matter how it is positioned.

Make your label markings in English

Unless notified otherwise, English is the best language to use for your markings. The freight forwarding service that you use should be able to notify you whether you also need to provide the markings in the language of the export country.  If such markings are necessary, you may have to translate the labels with the help of a translator. Alternatively, the embassy or consulate of your destination country should be able to help because they are always eager to facilitate international trade.

Not sure how to label your goods? Sidoman can help here.

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Musings of My Trans-Atlantic Tour [Part 3]

This is Part Three of a three-part blog post. If you missed Part One click HERE. If you missed Part Two click HERE.

I began this blog post by drawing parallels, and I shall conclude by doing the same.

Getting to interact with the Canadian and American people, observing their way of life and the efficiency of their systems…

I was at pains to compare them with the Kenyan and largely the African equivalents. Indeed, what struck me sharply were contrasts.

Yes, you have to brush your Kenyan (EngSwa) accent for Americans / Canadians to understand what you’re talking about.

Most often, you see Kenyans trolled for changing their accent after a brief stay in the USA, this could be the source.

Nonetheless, they’re at pains to gain these to avoid: ‘say again please’, ‘sorry I didn’t get you’ or eventually ‘please write down here so that I can assist you’ (haha).

When the Americans tell you ‘Sounds good’ like the Siri application, that means they’re contented with your ‘struggled accent’ to explain something.

Stranger holds door open for man leaving building

A simple example would be common courtesy exercised by most Canadians and Americans such as not littering, holding a door open for strangers, punctuality, et cetera.

As a result of what I shall call ‘soft skills’ for lack of a better term, the functioning of different sectors is in great consonance.

The country can then focus on getting great and remaining great.

I do not, however, posit that America or Canada are without fault. America, for instance, has race issues which divide the country.

That notwithstanding their value systems are mostly on fleek.

As I thought about the contrasts, I remembered a quote attributed to Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana who said that Africa needed “a new type of citizen, a dedicated modest honest well-informed man, a man who submerges self in service to mankind, a man who abhors greed and detests vanity, a new type of man whose humility was his strength and his integrity, his greatness.”

Credit | Uugwana Institute

Nkrumah was then – as I am now – talking about the value side of the national development enterprise that has been so elusive across Africa.

What Nkrumah said close to half a century ago, in my mind remains that one thing that must be effectively addressed, if Kenya is to lift off, and fulfill the potential it symbolizes.

If Kenya is to lift off, Kenyans must acquire an Uungwana Mentality.

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