If you watched last month’s State of the Union address, you saw that President Obama set a new goal to double U.S. exports over the next five years. While this level of export growth can be exciting to imagine, it can also be daunting for shipping managers and business owners as they grapple with the realities of doing business globally and exporting goods. 

Clearly, it’s difficult to compete and thrive in today’s global marketplace if you’re not reaching customers in foreign markets, and the Internet has made it easier to sell to customers around the world than ever before. However, engaging in global trade can cause anxiety due to the complexities associated with exporting – from guarding against trade risks to moving your products overseas on time and in one piece. 

The increasing threat of cargo theft can be particularly unnerving. According to FreightWatch International, there was an average of 72 cargo thefts per month in the U.S. in 2009, which shows why trade risk protection is so important for exporters. 

Keeping in mind the White House’s call to increase exports, here are a few tips to help simplify exporting for your business. 

Protect Against Losses Due To Trade Risks

Shipping your goods to overseas markets exposes you to a variety of risks. There’s the potential for common losses due to poor navigation that causes ships to occasionally run aground, or even theft as your shipments are checked at customs. And piracy is even a concern as it has been on the rise as of late. 

Utilizing cargo insurance can protect your business from these legitimate trade risks and allow you to take advantage of lucrative sales opportunities in overseas markets. However, cargo insurance policies are not all the same, so take the time to review your policy and ensure that it protects against the most common major trade risks that can affect your company’s goods. 

Minimize The Risk Of Doing Business With New International Trade Partners

If you’re new to exporting, you will be selling your goods to buyers who are, for the most part, unknown to you. And selling to a partner on the other side of the world can be risky. Without any previous experience with a buyer, can you trust that the buyer will make payments – and make them on time? Trade credit insurance is an effective way to minimize the risk of doing business with potentially risky customers, protecting your accounts receivables against buyer insolvencies, bankruptcies, and slow payment. 

And credit insurance isn’t just for new exporters. Companies with longstanding trade relationships should also consider credit insurance protection, considering that almost 50 percent of all payment defaults occur from stable, long-term trade relationships. 
Meanwhile, political unrest in some overseas markets and cross-border trade regulations can significantly delay payments and make some businesses hesitant to explore export opportunities. But the proper trade credit insurance policy can considerably minimize your losses due to trade risks. 

Get Your Products There on Time and in One Piece

Identifying trade partners is one important step, but you also need to get your products to buyers on time and in good condition to build sustainable trade relationships. 

One hurdle is the process of clearing customs, which has the potential to considerably delay your exports. The main reason shipments are delayed in customs is due to missing or incomplete paperwork. Completing customs paperwork manually can be complicated and error-prone, so seek out a carrier that provides an electronic commercial invoice option that enables electronic data entry, which can significantly cut down on paperwork errors, saving you time and headaches. 

Top-notch trade technology is one important consideration when evaluating export carrier partners, as is a carrier’s track record, network, and breadth of offerings. 

Is the carrier experienced in facilitating, with practical understanding of what works for various business types and sizes? Does it have the global network to not only move your goods across borders, but also to seamlessly get them to their final destination once they reach an overseas port? Do they offer a variety of financial and transportation services to simplify exporting as much as possible? 

Exporting provides an exciting opportunity for you to increase your business to lucrative foreign markets, but it comes with its share of risks. Take time to review the trade risk solutions and carrier options available to ensure that you’re taking a competent, calculated approach to moving your goods to overseas buyers. 

UPS Capital is the financial services arm of UPS. Marshall Christman is Vice President, Trade Risk Solutions, for UPS Capital Corporation. For more information about UPS Capital, please visitcapital.ups.com or call 1-877-263-8772, or click here to contact Marshall Christman via LinkedIn.