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Transport and logistics for foreign trade

Transportation is the movement of goods and logistics is the management of transportation from the manufacturer to the end user. 

If you are an exporter, it is common to hire a traditional transport provider or a freight forwarder, although experienced exporters can to some extent make their own transport arrangement. 

A transport provider will essentially perform the actual transport operation, usually without any special ancillary services.

A freight forwarder arranges land, air or sea transport, or a combination of these, depending on your needs. Freight forwarders often offer various associated logistical services, such as warehousing and administration. They can take care of export and import customs clearance, and handle all the documents necessary for export and import. The freight forwarder can thus act as a customs agent, although your company is still responsible for any information submitted to Swedish Customs in the company’s name.

Many freight forwarders also have their own means of transport and can take care of the transport operations themselves.

If you are not sure which transport solution is best for your delivery, it is a good idea to contact a freight forwarder. They can help you in finding a suitable solution based on your type of goods, costs and time frame, etc. Don’t forget to also ask about the approach to sustainability, and whether they can help you select a climate-smart means of transport.

Transport at Business Sweden

It is important that seller and buyer agree on the terms of delivery for the transport operation. It may be a question of who is to order and pay for transport, and who is responsible for the products during transport and therefore must insure them.

Incoterms® regulates terms of delivery

The most common terms of delivery in international trade are brought together in Incoterms, which have been drawn up by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). Incoterms is a global standard for interpreting terms of delivery, and the current version is called Incoterms 2020.

Intercoterm's website (in Swedish)

Incoterms 2020 consists of eleven standard rules adapted for different modes of transport. The rules govern who, of the seller and the buyer, must bear the risk, shipping cost and insurance. The terms of delivery to be applied in accordance with Incoterms 2020 should always be specified in the contract.

Incoterms® does not regulate the transport provider’s or the freight forwarder’s responsibilities

The allocation of responsibilities between you and the transport provider or freight forwarder is governed in a separate contract. This will often refer to general terms and conditions – either the counterparty’s own or NSAB 2015, which are the General Conditions of the Nordic Association of Freight Forwarders.

NSAB 2015 at the Swedish Confederation of Transport Enterprises

Limited liability applies, for example, to the handling of goods on behalf of others by freight forwarders, transport providers, ports and stevedoring companies, in accordance with national and international transport rules. Different rules on liability may apply to different parts of the transport operation.

Terms of delivery at Business Sweden (in Swedish)

Important information about transport insurance

There is always a risk of goods being damaged or lost during transport, loading or unloading. When you are liable for the risk, you should protect yourself with a transport insurance policy. A transport insurance policy is often a condition in a sales contract or letter of credit, even when it is not required by the Incoterms rule chosen by the parties.

Transport insurance at Business Sweden (in Swedish)

Do you need help?

Regional export collaboration (Regional exportsamverkan) is a partnership between government agencies and organisations that offers advice, financing and other support to those who want to expand internationally.

More information and contact details for Regional exportsamverkan (in Swedish)