Frequently Asked Questions
How can Flamingo benefit my business?
We can save you a lot of time. We are cost-effective. As well as the old adage “time is money”, we work closely with our partners to ensure that we operate competitively. You can track our progress, and see just how beneficial it is to rely on us.
What is included in your service?
The answer to that is simple: what do you need? We can provide tailored packages to suit your requirements, and importantly, your budget. It’s up to you which of our many services you use – flexibility and that personal touch is what makes us a reliable and reassuring company to partner with.
Why are the shipping rates so volatile?
While there are several factors involved, the primary is market demand.
The slow season from December to April, affects imports from Asia travelling to the US as the retail markets slow down after Christmas. However from mid-January through early February there is an upsurge of cargo moving to make it before the Chinese New Year deadline whereby factories all over China shut down for weeks. This usually keeps the rates high as there is always an issue with cargo space on vessels. From May through November the “peak season” runs where there is a big demand for cargo moving into the U.S., so the cargo carriers raise the rates during this period, with the GRI (general rate increase), and PSS (peak season surcharge). The rise and fall of fuel rates also plays an important role in the volatility of shipping rates.
Can I get payment terms?
Yes. You would have to fill out a credit application that we would send you ahead of time, with all the necessary banking information and references. Once your credit is approved, you would be granted the appropriate credit amount and length of time.
Can I get cargo released without presentation of the OB/L?
This can be a touchy subject, as you may be a long time importer with a continued relationship with a particular supplier overseas, however a situation arises and for whatever reason you have not paid your supplier because they were supposed to give you credit, but there was a misunderstanding, they are not honouring the agreement, the next thing you know the cargo arrives and if you don’t get it released it goes into demurrage and or you may lose your customer because they have a deadline, and so on. So you desperately need that cargo released. So the ONLY way this can happen without the OB/L is to somehow settle the matter with the supplier, get them to authorize the release in writing to the shipping agent in the port of origin, or direct to the U.S. Office that is holding the cargo. This can act in Lieu of an OB/L. This is no other legal way or one that doesn’t jeopardize the liability of the shipping company to be sued by the supplier if they release without their written consent.
Do you handle international household moves?
Yes! However we are not an international moving company. We are an international shipping company. We can help you ship but we can’t help you load. An empty container can be delivered to your premises and you will be responsible for loading it properly.
Any advice for a first time shipper?
We have 5 tips for you.
Tip #1: Save container transport cost by preparing to load your container in less than 2 hrs.
When the driver shows up at your site, the first 2 hours are included in your fees. We recommend staffing up and preparing in advance to load the container as quickly as possible to avoid overtime charges.
Tip #2: Prepare Shipping Container Contents for Extremes
Containers are subject to extreme conditions. There are wild swings in temperature and humidity inside the container – they go through the Panama Canal and sometimes around the Cape. Containers are subjected to triple digit heat and humidity to sub-zero temperatures while in storage or in transport.
Tip #3: Carefully Declare ANY Organic Cargo
Plants, Edible Plants, Vegetables and Fruit are all treated differently depending on the origin and destination of the shipment. If customs finds any undeclared organic cargo, the can quarantine your container and charge you daily holding fees.
Tip #4: Properly Insure Your Cargo
Plan for “attrition”. All of the contents don’t always make it all of the time.
There will be some “attrition” – containers get inspected, sometimes by unscrupulous dock/deck hands…this isn’t REALLY considered stealing, as the items in transit, technically are the property of the shipping company*.
Tip #5: Understand that Freight Forwarding is both an art and a science.
Many companies and handlers are involved in moving your container, here are just a few possible examples: Trucking companies outbound (from your door to the port of origin or train yard), Crane Operations transfer the container from truck to train, and train to ship. That’s just to get the container to the ship, then the reverse happens on the other side…it’s a REALLY rough ride, even in good weather.
Can you tell me the seaport code for my shipment?
All the documents have been tried, tested and passed with the necessary banks and have been sent to you (the importer) or your buyer-consignee on the B/L (if you are the exporter) at least 1 week before the cargo arrives at the destination so that everything is processed through customs ahead of schedule and that the freight is paid along with the presentation of the original B/L. To find out the seaport number of your shipmen, click here: thttp://www.photius.com/seaports/
Why should I use Relocation Support Services?
Quite simply, because we are the best! We have been relocating employees successfully since 1995. By focussing on individual needs and having a flexible approach, we provide an exceptional service and an outstanding quality of professionalism. And of course, we are genuinely friendly and helpful people – our client feedback shows how much they enjoy working with us.
Is Flamingo a freight forwarder?
Yes! Our services within freight forwarding are used by companies that deal in international or multi-national import and export. We handle considerable logistics of this task for our clients with a guarantee that the products will reach the proper destination by an agreed upon date, and in good condition. We offer the best possible price to move the product along the most economical route by working out various bids and choosing the one that best balances speed, cost and reliability. We save you untold time and potential headaches while providing reliable transportation of products at competitive rates. When you choose Flamingo as your freight forwarder, what you get is an asset in dealing with the international transportation of goods, especially when in-house resources are not versed in international shipping procedures.
What are the usual methods of freight payment?
Most freight payments are transacted with a company check. A wire transfer or a credit card (subject to administrative fee) payment can be made around the time the freight is due to arrive, clear customs and be released.
What can I do to prevent delays and ensure a smooth process of the shipment?
Firstly, all of the necessary documents (packing lists, commercial invoice, original bill of lading-OB/L) have to be submitted in a timely fashion, so that all documents are provided with the necessary banks and sent to you (the importer) or your buyer-consignee on the B/L (if you are the exporter) at least 1 week before cargo arrives at the destination. This has to be done so that everything can be processed through customs ahead of schedule and freight can be paid for along with the presentation of the original B/L.by your supplier overseas (on imports). If you are the supplier, then you will have to do it for an export shipment.
How many containers do you move a year?
Flamingo moves about 7,500 tonnes a year
Can you ship my vehicle internationally?
Yes, with conditions. See above regarding household moving.
Can you offer more information on customs’ codes?
Yes, please click on this link to know more:
Air Cargo FAQs: Size & Weight
Does size matter for air shipment?
Yes, air freight is based on both the actual weight and changeable weight of the cargo.
How is changeable weight calculated?
There is a special formula. Just give us all three dimensions and we will calculate the chargeable weight for you. http://www.emeraldfreight.com/online-resources/freight-volumetric-calculations
What is the maximum size or weight?
This varies depending on the airline guidelines, so please ask us. As a rule of thumb, the maximum normal cargo dimensions are 120x80x60in. As the weight and size increases so will the cost. If your cargo is oversized or requires special handling, ask us about our special rates.
Air Cargo FAQs: Pick up & Drop off
Do you have a warehouse where I can drop off the cargo?
Yes, we have a receiving warehouse near all major airports. Please let us know your cargo location and we will direct you to the closest receiving warehouse.
How and where can we pick up the cargo at destination?
We will provide you with the necessary paperwork for custom clearance. Once customs are completed, you can go to the warehouse to pick up the cargo. We also advise you to check with the destination customs prior to the departure of the shipment, just to make sure you meet special rules and regulations as specified for certain commodities.
Do you have an office at the destination who can help us?
Yes, we have a lot of partners that we work with at different international locations. Please check with us. They will be able to help you with any destination service requirement.
Can you handle door delivery at destination? Can you handle pick up from residential area?
Yes, please provide us with your door address, and we will verify and share the cost with you.
What are some of the destination charges?
There may be airport fees, warehouse fees, custom clearance charges, duty/tax and door delivery charges. Of course, if your cargo is chosen for a custom exam at its destination, please prepare to pay for home charges and delays for getting the cargo.
What’s the best way to save money on air freight?
Ship only the most important items, pack in as small a box, crate or pallet as possible.
If you can route from/to a major hub (JFK, LUH, BJS) instead of a smaller airport, this may help to lower your freight rate.
Can I pack my items in suitcases, bags or plastic bins?
There is a standard packing procedure, which includes a box, crate, or on a pallet. Any cargo that is packed otherwise will be rejected immediately by the airlines. If your cargo needs special packing, please get in touch with us.
What is typically transit time?
It takes about 3-5 days on average for good transiting from airport to airport. Door to door varies depending on customs clearance, and has an estimate of 5-7 days. Delays and/or changes to a schedule can happen. The best way to make the cargo ship as quickly as possible is to make sure all the paperwork is properly filed before hand. This eases the customs process.
Are there types of cargo that cannot be shipped via air freight?
Yes, anything that is hazardous, flammable, dangerous, chemical based, computer batteries, live animals, and perishable items, etc., cannot be shipped via air freight.
What kind of paperwork I will need to fill out ahead of time?
We will need your basic information to proceed with sending you some paperwork for you to fill out. We would require information such as shipper and receiving party contact information. Don’t worry, we will take care of all the export customs and paperwork for you.