Frequently Asked Questions

A forwarding agent or forwarder is an agent who acts on behalf of importers and exporters to organize safe, and economical goods transport. Among their many tasks, the most common are facilitating transport, selecting the most efficient route, taking out insurance policies, choosing the appropriate packaging depending on the cargo and taking care of its storage and/or distribution.

Our Freight service is calculated based on the volume of the goods transported. However, it is strongly influenced by the availability of physical means (transport) on your desired route. By way of example, bringing goods from China is much cheaper than it is to take them there. This is because shipowners are in high demand for bringing cargo from China to Europe, while it is more complicated to find freight to transport back out to China given the existing trade imbalance. Another variable with a strong influence is the oil price at the moment of traveling.

Multimodal transport consists of carrying a single cargo by different modes of transport (air, land, ocean…) using Intermodal Transport Units (ITU) such as containers, semi-trailers or swap bodies (interchangeable containers).

A forwarding agent or forwarder is a transport operator. They act on behalf and in favour of importers and exporters, organising safe, efficient and economical goods transport. In other words, a professional expert at your disposal for the purposes of hiring transport, selecting the most efficient route, taking out insurance policies, choosing the appropriate packaging and taking care of storage where required.
A customs agent is responsible for managing all customs duties and documents required by the tax administration in every country for the traffic of goods between states. Their importance lies in knowing the legal regulations in order to satisfy the tax authorities and avoid last-minute surprises such as tax duties or surcharges.

The main kinds of customs control according to the route and jurisdiction are as follows:

Land customs: Are found at the borders between countries, where they deal with heavy goods transport, private cars and even people who cross on foot in the case of city border points. Their functions are to check that the documentation matches the articles transported.
Air customs: Are located at international airports and deal with the highest flow of human transit. Imported and exported goods arriving at an airport are checked by customs on arrival, and subsequently by customs at the place of their destination
Maritime customs: This kind of customs deals with the vast amount of goods travelling between countries geographically very distant from one another. Here the goods are generally of great weight or size, such as vehicles or industrial machinery. Maritime customs are responsible for verifying the goods entering and leaving, as well as their documentation.
On the other hand, depending on their function, customs controls can be classified as:

Customs at the port of entry: Which deal with goods to be declared for national consumption.
Customs at the point of destination: Receive goods or products sent. At this point the goods are no longer considered as being in transit and become liable for tax.
Border customs: These are customs which neither receive nor issue goods, but which control goods in transit, often when travelling from their country of origin to that of their destination.

Customs control the movement of goods between different states in three steps:

1. Customs declaration: Must be presented to the customs authority in order to identify the goods to be transported and their destination.
2. Goods inspection by the customs agents, to check that they match the declaration.
3. Verification that trade policy norms have been met and amounts due have been paid (import and export duties).

Air Waybill (AWB): This is the document of title to the goods travelling by air and is therefore non-negotiable. It travels with the cargo and acts as evidence of delivery of the goods travelling on board the plane.
Commercial invoice: Document establishing the conditions of sale for the goods and their specifications. Serves as proof of sale.
Packing list: A list of the contents in a package, completing the information of the invoice, which must be issued by the sender.
Customs clearance authorisation: Document with which an importer or exporter authorises a customs agent to submit one or several customs declarations on their behalf.

Customs clearance is the management of all formalities required by the customs authorities. It is important for these formalities to run smoothly and trouble-free in order to prevent delays due to bureaucratic issues. These formalities are therefore usually entrusted to a customs agent who will carry them out on behalf of the freight owner.

Customs duty includes all formalities and requirements to be completed for goods entering and leaving a specific national territory in order to control and approve their transportation. The customs agent is responsible for completing these formalities on behalf of the importer or exporter, and for submitting a declaration of information to the competent customs authority in each case.

Dangerous goods are classified according to the ADR (European Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road), as follows:

Class 1: Explosive substances and articles
Class 2: Gases
Class 3: Flammable liquids
Class 4.1: Flammable solids
Class 4.2: Substances liable to spontaneous combustion
Class 4.3: Substances which, in contact with water, emit flammable gases
Class 5.1: Oxidizing substances
Class 5.2: Organic peroxides
Class 6.1: Toxic substances
Class 6.2: Infectious substances
Class 7: Radioactive materials
Class 8: Corrosive substances
Class 9: Miscellaneous dangerous substances and articles

There are different regulations on dangerous substances.

The road transport regulation is the ADR (European Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road), an agreement including 32 EU countries.

The carriage of dangerous goods by rail is governed by the RID.

For the ocean carriage of dangerous goods, the IMDG (International Maritime Dangerous Goods) code applies. Here such cargoes are also known as IMO goods due to the fact that the International Maritime Organisation is the authority in the matter.

Finally, the ICAO provides the regulation for the air transport of dangerous goods.

IMO is the name given to dangerous goods in maritime transport. It takes its name from the International Maritime Organisation, the body responsible for classifying these kinds of hazardous freight.

The ADR (Agreement on Dangerous Goods) concerns the land transport of dangerous goods. It is the European agreement that classifies these dangerous goods and provides the regulations for their transportation.

This is a practice whereby the cargoes of one or several shippers are bundled together for transport under a single transport document. It is also known as groupage when different cargoes are combined to fill a single container.

They are two different ways of transporting freight by air:

When using a courier service your goods won’t be considered as freight, but as a postal package. This is an ideal option for small, lightweight parcels requiring urgent transport. However, courier companies don’t provide an integral logistics service covering aspects like customs clearance, meaning that you may find yourself faced with delays or surcharges.

On the other hand, air freight sent by means of a logistics or forwarding company will guarantee greater security for your operation since its professional team will take care of all necessary details.

The size of a general cargo or multi-purpose ship varies greatly, although they tend to be rather small according to freight carrier standards. They are generally between 5,000 and 25,000 DWT.

We can distinguish between different kinds of ships for maritime transport, depending on the load they transport:

General freighters:These are basic cargo ships; they can carry freight, but have no space for containers.
Container ships: Ships specially designed to carry goods in containers. They monopolize the majority of international dry freight transport and represent more than a half of all maritime trade.
Bulk carriers: The vessels best suited to transporting solid bulk cargoes.
Oil/gas tankers: Special tankers for transporting crude oil and by-products differentiated by their superior technical characteristics; all of them guarantee water tightness and structural resistance. Gas tankers have more sophisticated technology for storing liquefied gas and are divided into carriers of GNL and GLP, given that each one needs to be kept at a different pressure and temperature.
Reefer ships: Transport perishable food and commodities which must generally be preserved at very low temperatures
Ro-Ro ships: Have ramps and platforms for transporting vehicles with wheels, from private cars to industrial vehicles and loaded trucks. There are also hybrid versions of these ships which combine vehicle and passengers transport (ferries) and others that transport vehicles carrying containers (Ro-Lo)

Road freight transport is governed by the Law on Land Transport (Ley de Ordenación de Transportes Terrestres, LOTT), and by the Regulation on Land Transport (Reglamento de Ordenación de los Transportes Terrestres, ROTT), which develops the subject in greater depth. These documents provide regulations for transport companies and for companies related to their activity, meaning that it is important to know them. In this link you will find the complete set of regulations affecting this kind of activity, including special road transport.

The documents required for land freight transport are as follows:

CMR (Convention Relative au Contrat de Transport International de Marchandises par la Route). This document confirms the existence of an international road transport contract. It indicates the freight type, its origin, destination, the carrier, shipper and addressee. It is also a receipt for the consignor proving that they have delivered the goods to the carrier.

ADR document: When transporting dangerous goods, this document specifies the type of goods carried, their classification and UN number and the measures that must be taken for their transportation and handling.

You can track your delivery online using your consignment number. For all freight that can not be tracked online, please call our office on 1300 300 447 and we will be able to track the freight over the phone.

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