International ocean freight shipping is complicated — an OTI can help streamline the process and maximize your value.

Sea freight shipping is a complex process. Looking for cost savings and peace of mind, many people opt to ship directly with big-name carriers, but this often has the opposite effect. Major ocean freight companies typically offer a limited number of options with little to no flexibility. Moreover, unless your business is a major global brand transporting thousands of containers a year, chances are they aren’t going to pay much attention to you. As such, you often get shoved into a one-size-fits-all solution with limited transparency, which ultimately means more stress and less value for your company.

By enlisting the help of an ocean transportation intermediary (OTI), you instantly gain experience, flexibility, and visibility into the process — all of which help to ensure that you receive maximum value for your dollar. If you haven’t worked with an OTI before, here’s why you should consider doing so.

What Is an OTI?

An OTI is a licensed ocean freight forwarder or a non-vessel operating common carrier (NVOCC) that makes logistical decisions on your behalf. Although it doesn’t own the ships on which you’ll be transporting your cargo, it has a license that allows it to work with multiple carriers. This allows OTIs to develop custom, outside-the-box solutions to meet the unique needs of companies of all different shapes and sizes.

Throughout the shipping process, OTIs make arrangements with carriers, managing necessary documentation, ensuring compliance with regulations, and coordinating warehousing and ground transportation logistics at the port of arrival.

How Can They Help?

OTIs can offer a higher degree of flexibility than direct carriers, working with multiple partners to accommodate a wide variety of budgetary considerations, timelines, and cargo types. With their knowledge of local regulations and shipping practices, they can quickly navigate customs, pay any tariffs or fees, and find the most efficient and cost-effective method of moving your goods from port to their final destination. In other words, they take care of the complex logistics and paperwork so you can worry about more important things, like running your business.

What to Look for in a Partner

How much value you’re able your add to your shipping program ultimately comes down to the OTI you choose to partner with. While some of the traits you should be on the lookout for — such as years of experience and a proven track record — aren’t unique to ocean freight shipping and logistics, there are a number of less obvious considerations that should be taken into account before deciding on an OTI.

First of all, can they handle different types of shipments? By partnering with an OTI that also specializes in additional transport methods, like air and ground, maximizes flexibility and ensures a wide range of options to accommodate any and every shipment you need to make. You’ll also want to make sure they have experience handling different types of cargo, from dry goods like garments, cars, and machinery to hazardous and/or perishable goods like food, chemicals, and medications. This also demands an understanding of international and regional regulations (BIS, ITAR, OFAC, etc).

It’s also a good idea to check a prospective partner’s portfolio — are they a member of any international trade associations or freight forwarding networks? Have they won awards or received recognition for operational excellence and client satisfaction? You’ll also want to see what kind of additional services and benefits they can offer, such as interactive tracking technologies and cargo insurance, which will ultimately help drive additional time, energy, and cost savings.

Why Primary Freight?

With nearly two decades of successful operation under its belt, Primary Freight’s experience, resources, and dedication make it an ideal partner for any business looking to optimize its shipping program. Our award-winning team is committed to customer satisfaction, and our flexible solutions, expertise, and expansive trade network ensure speed, reliability, and cost-efficiency throughout the entire shipping process.

If you’d like to learn more about what makes Primary Freight an ideal shipping and logistics partner, call one of our dedicated experts today at (800) 635-0013.