Ask the Expert
Our month invited expert:
Alessandra Quartesan is InspiraFarms Production Operations Manager. She is a Chartered Architect and Planner, and holds an MSc in Architecture, Urban and Regional Planning from IUAV University Venice. She has fifteen years of experience in architectural design and local economic development across three continents. She manages InspiraFarms logistics since 2017, having under her responsibility the delivery of InspiraFarms facilities to the right location, on time and at a good cost. She coordinates transportation, stock control, warehousing and monitoring the flow of goods.
1. What are the most critical aspects when shipping to overseas markets?
Each market has very specific import regulations and is essential to comply with the local technical standards, local regulation, and pre-certification processes (where required). Understanding the regulatory framework of a country can be challenging. For this reason, is important to maintain regular communication with each of our clients so as to better address any specific requirement or need.
When preparing to deliver facilities to a country, we recommend paying special attention to these five factors:
- Licenses – as clients will need to acquire an importation license
- Packaging – make sure items are properly secured in the container, correctly packed, and can also be moved easily. It is also important to verify the size, shape, and weights of the goods being shaped, as they can vary.
- Certifications – depending on what you are sending, it may be necessary to provide certification for those goods.
- Documentation – for some countries is required specific documentation and forms.
- Insurance – it’s important to have insurance on the proper value of the goods being transported, so you can recover losses in case of any damages during transport or in case the container is lost.
2. What are the challenges?
During sea freight and inland transportation to rural areas, issues can always occur. Anticipating potential problems is a strategy that InspiraFarms always tries to put in place. I’ll guide you through the three main challenges we regularly encounter:
Cargo damages: are something that cannot be prevented entirely, but as InspiraFarms tries to reduce this risk as much as possible by being careful and methodical when packaging our goods. We also always have an international insurance policy in place.
Mismatches in the delivery schedule: this can happen during the shipping process, especially if the shipping container encounters adverse weather conditions. InspiraFarms tracks its shipments on a daily basis to better mitigate any delays and also provides weekly updates so that clients are informed of progress.
Lost container: Each standard intermodal container has a unique marking—called an “ISO 6346 International Shipping Container Standard Information reporting mark”—that allows for containers to be tracked during shipment. As Rose George once said, 90% of everything we buy arrives via a ship from somewhere. Reflecting that, there are at least 20 million containers traveling across the oceans. Some containers are lost, and it is a risk that exporters must address. For this reason, our international insurance covers unfortunate events like lost containers.
3. How do you select your carrier company? What are the criteria you use for selecting one and assuring quality service?
To great extent, selecting the right carrier company will depend on the type of incoterm you will be using. In our case, shipping DAP (Delivered at Place), which means delivering the goods at the client’s place of installation. In this case the seller (InspiraFarms), contracts and covers the costs of carriage and international insurance.
DAP presents a lot of challenges that start in the country of production and end in the country of destination. It requires a combination of freights and transportation means. Due to the complexity of these challenges, we rely only on leading global sea freight forwarders that offer innovative and fully integrated supply chain solutions.
We are working with Kuehne + Nagel, the number one global sea freight forwarder, is one of our usual service providers, as they a strong global presence, offering a network of about 1,300 offices in over 100 countries, with around 76,000 employees.
5. What is the customer’s role during this process? What do clients need to provide or how will they participate in this process?
Since the moment a client places an order, a constant communication with the client is very important in terms of service quality but also for having clarity around the process. In our case, we provide real-time information to the customer regularly, such as shipping dates, order status and guiding the client through the import process. We have seen this is key for keeping the client happy and to be sure the client in clear about compliance with specific local regulations and to assume full responsibility for handling the import clearance process in a timely fashion.
4. What are the key factors for creating a streamlined international logistics process inside the company?
Good and standardized internal procedures, regular communication, and a lot of diligence. There are many factors to keep track of, and a good cooperation and communication between the client and the company is the main element to assure an efficient process.
5. What recommendations on international transport can you give to agribusinesses that are looking into export markets?
Try to expect the unexpected, because when shipping, unexpected problems could occur in the carriage of your containerized shipping for different reasons. Missing documents, missing cargo or cargo damage are a few of the common problems shippers face—and they do happen. And when they happen, they lead to a delay in cargo release, which translates to delay fees, which translates to unanticipated shipping costs.
Hiring a shipping agent at the country of destination will take a lot of the workload and stress of shipping off your shoulders. We highly recommend this option. But if you decide to go the distance yourself, make sure to double and triple check everything from your end, and to tie up all loose ends before you ship. This will save you from a number of headaches and, more importantly, costs. And a final point worth repeating is that having a good insurance policy can allow you to recover most of the losses in case of lost container or damages inside the carriage.
6. Can you describe briefly how the InspiraFarms logistics and shipping process works?
InspiraFarms facilities are shipped via marine cargo. This is the most cost-effective option, delivering savings on transportation cost and greenhouse gas emissions, with the possibility of fitting up to 360 m3 of disassembled facilities into a single shipping container. We offer clients incoterm DAP – Delivery at Place. Our main responsibilities are:
- Making the goods available for export
- Loading the goods into containers and arranging local transport in Italy
- Coordinate main transport to the destination
- Handling export clearance at Italian ports
- Arranging import documents in the client’s country
- Unloading the container at the client’s site of installation
Although the client is responsible for import clearance (including the payment of taxes and duties), the InspiraFams team can provide support during this process by suggesting a clearing agent.