Auteur: Erik van den Hurk
Our building system is suitable for use anywhere in the world and we regularly work on international projects. In such cases, Remco International takes care of engineering, production, assembly and transport. Our customers regularly ask us how the transportation of the various elements is arranged. For example, who organizes haulage and shipping? How are the materials transported? And who bears the risk? These are all logical questions for anyone starting up abroad, so I thought it would be a good idea to put together a number of frequently asked questions (along with the answers to them, of course).
1. Who organizes haulage and shipping?
Before answering this question, it’s a good idea to look at ‘the journey’ first, as it is made up of various parts:
Clients can decide for themselves who should be responsible for which parts of the journey. And, consequently, who then also bears the risk for that part of it. In other words, you, as the client, decide what the delivery terms will be. International agreements, called ICC Incoterms, have been defined for this purpose. The agreements are reviewed and revised every 10 years. Please note that the terms currently in force are Incoterms 2010. Revisions will be made in 2020.
There are 11 different Incoterms but in practice the one we frequently apply is Free on Board (FOB). Under FOB terms, the costs and risk are borne by us until the goods are on the deck of the ship. From that point on, the purchaser bears all risks and costs. To be clear, goods are only deemed to have been loaded on board when they are ‘lashed and secured’ and the captain has signed for their receipt. It is at this point that the goods are officially transferred to the client.
Other commonly used terms are Delivered at Terminal (DAT, named destination terminal) and Delivered at Place (DAP, named place of destination). I could dedicate an entire blog just to the various Incoterms, but won’t go into all of them now. If you would like to find out more about them, visit www.incotermsexplained.com for a clear and concise explanation of the various terms.
2. What documentation is needed?
Depending on the terms of delivery, we, as the seller, arrange for the transport documents required for exporting the goods correctly and ensuring that customs clearance goes smoothly at the other end. The transport documents are made up of an invoice, export papers and the cargo list. The cargo list is not only required for customs but is also used when the containers are unloaded at the construction site. Any project can easily involve the transportation of several dozen containers, so it can be useful to know which part is in which container.
3. How are materials transported?
As already mentioned, all materials are transported in containers. Depending on what is in each particular one, these may be open-top or closed containers that are 40 feet (12 metres) long. It goes without saying that the containers we use are all approved ones. The cargo is loaded on board in a seaworthy fashion, using wood, air bags and bungee cords to ensure that it is kept in place during the voyage. Once the container has been loaded on board, it is sealed.
The steel frames and columns are dispatched from where they are manufactured, with the supplier of the roof panels and wall sections dispatching these a few weeks later. Dispatching materials from different locations instead of first transporting everything to a central point allows us to keep handling to a minimum. This is important, as handling increases the risk of damage or of parts going missing, which we would naturally want to avoid.
Our own tools and equipment are transported in a separate container, which is temporarily imported and then returned to the Netherlands once construction is complete.
4. Is everything transported by sea?
No – there are a couple of exceptions. The anchors need to be cast in the foundations, so we send these on at an earlier stage, sometimes by plane in order to save time. On occasion, something may need to be forwarded urgently. We then air freight it as an exception. However, given the costs, this is something we try to avoid.
5. What about onward transport in the destination country?
Each country has its own rules and sets its own specific requirements when it comes to the import of goods. Import duties also vary per country. At the risk of sounding trite, our advice is to research this in advance in order to avoid any unpleasant surprises. Customs clearance usually takes place in a terminal at the port but in some cases customs officials come to the site. When this happens, the containers are still sealed when they are delivered to the construction site and are not allowed to be opened until the customs officials have checked them. Transport from the port to the construction site is again by truck. This is organized by the client or, if they wish, it can be contracted out to us.
6. Are there any other restrictions in terms of transport?
The weight and volume of the materials certainly need to be taken into particular account. This is because the maximum load capacity for road haulage varies from country to country. The cranes operating at ports also have maximum lifting capacities but in general these will be high enough.
You probably already understand that transportation is an important aspect of any international construction project. Where transport is concerned, the saying ‘Well begun is half done’ sums up the importance of good preparation. Over the years, we have gained a great deal of experience working on construction projects in a very diverse range of countries. So, if you would like to find out more or are interested in what we could do for you, please do not hesitate to get in touch by email or telephone.