Everything You Need to Know About Ocean Surcharges

If you’ve ever worked with a freight forwarding services agency in Singapore before (or if you’re affiliated with a freight forwarding agency in Singapore yourself), chances are that you’ve heard of the various freight costs involved when it comes to using sea freight.

Part of these costs are the various factors that go into the shipping process, such as packing, documentation, and unloading, as well as the necessary transportation insurance.

For example, these factors include the freight (which can either be paid in advance or upon delivery of the cargo), the charge, and the surcharge (the added charges on top of the base rate for the various requirements needed for the shipping).

Here are some of the different types of fees and charges you will most likely encounter in an ordinary ocean invoice, if you happen to be using sea freight for bulk cargo transportation:

Base Rate

Whether it’s local merchandise export agent or an international freight forwarding service based from Singapore, shipping companies establish varying rates that account for the dimensions and nature of the shipment or cargo. Different weight, size, type (fragile, volatile, etc.), load handling and destination distance have its corresponding rates.

Different shipping companies can have various flat (or base) rates. These rates are based on whether they need to carry any extra volume of cargo along specific routes at sea. These charges may be cheaper or more expensive along these routes at certain times of the year.

Your chosen logistics company will also adjust to this flat rate depending on the chosen shipping companies and the routes taken, so be sure to discuss this in advance.

Surcharge for Peak Season

While this fee may vary wildly for different shipping companies, sizeable increases in transportation traffic coming from Eastern to Western countries can usually be seen between July and November. These spikes in maritime traffic can rise and fall depending on the demand of certain goods all over the world. These times are known as “peak season”.

Because of this, many of these shipping companies will often impose this surcharge on shipments from certain regions. These companies will even extend the peak season if they feel the need to adjust costs in order to accommodate the increased number of cargo bookings.

Origin Documentation Fee

This is the fee applied by carriers when you transfer goods by ship to or from Singapore, in order to balance the cost of various factors when it comes to documentation (i.e. staffing, equipment, and system database). If the shipping instruction is not given to the sea freight carrier on time, the origin documentation fee will appear on the bill of lading.

Even if the SI has been transmitted, but a request was made to cancel the cargo booking after the stated deadline, the ODF fee still applies, which makes timely data transmission to the carrier crucial in this regard.

Security Fee

The International Ship and Port Facility Security Code (ISPS) is essentially a set of policies and protocols enacted to enhance maritime security, as well as security on ships, docks, and ports. This is a measure that the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore implements and closely follows.

Carrier companies compliant to the ISPS will often charge this fee on the customer for the handling of the cargo, as well as the personnel and equipment needed, in order to keep the cargo secure. The charge is applied on all shipments for every cargo container.

Origin Terminal Handling Charge

The shipping company collects this fee in order to cover the handling costs for the containers, which will then be processed through any and all port terminals as defined by set policies and protocols.

The shipping company then proceeds to pay this surcharge to the terminal operator. Just as the handling costs differ according to the port of arrival, these charges can vary from country to country.

This is why it’s important that all parties involved in the transaction and shipment must determine who will pay for all or part of the terminal charges when the delivery or pickup of goods will be at a container terminal.

Surcharge for Manifest

Every shipping company must provide carrier-based shipment information to the correct destination customs authorities in advance in order to verify the dimensions and type of the cargo in question.

This cost is then added to comply with existing regulations. More shipping lines will then proceed to add this charge based on these varying requirements by various countries.

Chassis Charge

Many ocean liners may no longer offer dedicated chassis services for cargo containers whether it’s import or export. This is where drayage companies (companies that are in charge of transporting the bulk goods from sea freight or air freight by short distances on land) are chartered by logistics services.

Rate Renewal Initiative

The rate renewal essentially increases the rates for cargo containers in order for them to reach the needed compensatory amounts. These increases vary by shipping line and destinations, which in turn can also affect the rates of international logistics services offered by Singapore logistics companies to compensate for various factors, such as having a warehouse for an excellent place for storage.


While many clients, shipping companies and even freight forwarder services are aware of the base rates and shipment charges, many tend to be unaware of the increases in surcharge.

The same can even be said when it comes to air freight. The only difference with air freight is that the cargo in question tends to be for smaller, lighter, and more fragile types, or even certain types or cargo that have a relatively short shelf life, which makes it more expensive for a logistics company to book.

When it comes to booking cargo with a freight forwarder, be sure to consult with your chosen representative regarding the surcharges that may be incurred as well as your given budget. This way, you will have the needed know-how on the prices and fees for the shipment to proceed, which you can then work around to your advantage.

Common Terms Used in VOIP that You Should Remember

If you are considering upgrading or improving your current traditional circuit-committed telephone network or public switched telephone network, you should not be intimidated by the difficult terms used in describing the technology. In fact, one advantage of VoIP technology is that it’s user-friendly, so you don’t need to be an expert in information technology to enjoy its benefits.

However, you need to be familiar with the basic terms before you look for a VoIP provider in Singapore.

Analog Telephone Adaptor (ATA) – It is a hardware that is responsible for converting the data, audio, and video signals into Internet Protocol or IP packets. These packets are transferred through the Internet. The hardware is used to connect a telephone to another line to allow the use of VoIP for calls.

Audio Response Unit (ARU) – It is a type of computer telephony system that uses voice storage and forwarding.

Bandwidth – This refers to the data that is carried from one point to another within a given time. The bandwidth is measured in 1,000 bits per second or kbps.

Broadband Telephony – Also called IP telephony, it is the communications protocol used to transmit calls on a broadband Internet.

Cloud Communications – Cloud refers to the network or remote servers that are hosted on the Internet. This means that if a company is using cloud VoIP, they are also using a form of hosted VoIP system because the servers are provided and maintained by a Singapore VoIP provider. The word cloud simply means the Internet, which is the host for the storage, management and processing of data used in cloud VoIP.

Codec – The term refers to the conversion of the analog signals to digital signals or vice versa. A software can be set up to compress and decompress the signals.

Data – This is the name for the information sent or all types of traffic sent through a network except for voice.

Data Network – These vary in size and functions, but the data network will create a way for computers to access the nodes or access points to both receive and send packets from different network connections. For example, in an IP PBX telephone system, multiple users can store, access, use, and encrypt data.

IP-PBX or IPBX – IP refers to Internet Protocol, while PBX phone system stands for Private Branch Exchange. Therefore, an IP PBX telephone system is a telephone exchange system in a building or designated are in which the calls are processed within an IP protocol. This means that the traditional telephony or PBX phone system used in the company is upgraded to allow for the use of VoIP in an IP PBX telephone system.

ISP – It stands for Internet service provider, or the third-party company in Singapore that provides the Internet access for both commercial and residential customers. Some ISP also offer additional services such as hosting, fax, and email.

ITSP – It stands for Internet Telephony service provider. Like the ISP, it is a third-party company that provides the means for companies to use their Internet connection to combine both the data and voice infrastructure, creating the VoIP. This type of VoIP is called a hosted PBX or a hosted VoIP system.

Latency – This is the duration the packet takes to get to its destination. The latency is important when transmitting data and voice through VoIP, because delays can cause problems in communication. This is one slight disadvantage when it comes to a hosted VoIP system like the cloud VoIP or hosted PBX because the third-party service provider has control over the technology.

Packet – This refers to the unit of the grouped data which contain the information that needs to be transmitted, the originator and destination, and the synchronization information. Packets are stored and forwarded in the routers.

P2P – It stands for peer-to-peer sharing of bandwidth, files, and other information in two computers.

PBX or PABX – It stands for Private Branch Exchange or Private Automatic Branch Exchange, which are systems that were used to replace traditional telephony. A hosted PBX system uses a private telephone network exchange and has more features than traditional telephony.

PTSN – It stands for public switched telephone network, which is the collection of telephone carriers in both public and private settings as well as local and international networks.

SIP – It means Session Initiation Protocol or the standard protocol that manages, initiates, and terminates peer-to-peer multimedia and communications.

SIP Trunking – This is a type of VoIP solution that utilizes a trunk to connect a VoIP gateway to the Internet. It makes use of the cloud and shared lines or existing Internet connection within the company to combine both data and voice.

Speech Recognition – This is a feature in some hosted VoIP system that allows the user to control applications by speaking.

Store and Forward – The term describes the process of storing messages and the transmission for playback. It is the basis of emails and fax-on-demand, and is also the opposite of real-time communication.

Telephony – It simply refers to the technology or the process of voice communications.

Trunk – It is the circuit that interconnects different switches where several users transmitting several data are managed. One example of a trunk is the PBX or hosted PBX.

VoIP PBX – Also called IP PBX telephone system, it is a telephony switching system for internet calls which also uses IP. It is also connected to the company’s traditional telephone lines to create a private shared network.

VoIP Phone – This is needed when setting up VoIP in your office, so make sure to contact your VoIP provider, so they can provide you with the right VoIP phone to channel your calls through the Internet for your local and international calls.

Wi-Fi Phone – This is another option if you do not have a VoIP phone, and is useful in residential settings where wireless signal is available.

5 Ways a Live Chat Feature Help Overall Customer Experience

For a better overall customer experience, you have to work an extra mile to exceed your customers’ expectations in terms of communication. Businesses that provide great customer experience have higher customer loyalty rate, and therefore achieve higher sales.

Live chat feature is one of the most efficient ways to be in touch with clients. With this feature, it’s possible to turn interactions with website guests into potentially profitable relationship and, in result, boost your sales reports.

What is this Live Chat Feature?

Live chat is an effective communication feature included in CRM Software from Singapore that allows you to interact with people visiting your online site. This is a very valuable addition to your company website as it allows you to start conversing with potential clients, whether they have concern about your service, interested with your products or just need help navigating around your site.

One best thing about live chat is that it allows you to answer questions and address concerns on the spot and in real time, giving prospects and clients instant gratification. With faster response than email, you will also be able to know whether a visitor is a potential lead that you can pursue or just someone lurking around.

How Live Chat Improve Customer Experience

There are numerous benefits with live chat that have proven to generate leads, meet customer satisfaction and boost customer relationship management. Below, you will find out what live chat can do for the betterment of your overall customer service.

1. Respond to more customers and address more concerns in real time

When customers encounter a problem with your product or service, they want instant solution from you. This is one of the major reasons why consumers turn to live chat whenever they need something from their service provider—to get immediate answers to their questions.

Any delays run the risk of losing profit. In fact, slow response is cited as one of the top three reasons why Singapore consumers leave a certain provider.

By integrating live chat to your CRM system, alongside your CRM software, you can handle three, four, five, six or more clients at a time. You can respond to all of them in seconds, rather than letting them wait for hours to answer an email.

2. Answer questions in a timely manner to eliminate fears and doubts of customers.

With live chat, it’s almost effortless to help visitors and clients to navigate around your site, especially when they are in the hunt for specific products or pages. Therefore, it only makes sense to add the live chat feature to the pages that customers often visit (if not in the entire site), such as the products, pricing and support pages.

With a live chat box, consumers can directly ask you questions about the service or product they are interested in and it will be easy for you to answer them right away, which simplifies the purchasing process. You can enlighten your customer by explaining the differences of different products and provide advice to the customer on which product is the most suitable.

3. Target potential buyers easily.

When mapping out customers with your products or services, do you focus on web analytics and real data, or you make the common mistake of treating buyers like any other buyers, who miss out the ‘how, when and why’ of purchasing decisions?

Using your live chat alongside with the customer relationship management tool you are using will help you easily target customer interests. If the CRM software you are using includes sales management and marketing automation, much better! You can target customers based on your previous conversations and run an automated campaign through email on them, targeting their interests with personalized promos, discounts and contents.

4. Retain current customers and build brand loyalty

A cloud CRM is ideal for the sales team because it lets them handle sales management better, track leads, create deal pipelines, boost accuracy of sales reports and many more. However, that may not be enough to build brand loyalty. Majority of your transactions and profits will generate from clients you already have, and having live chat feature is key to retaining a client.

When your clients see a live chat feature on your company website, they know that they are not dealing with a faceless business in the web. In fact, more consumers here in Singapore tend to stick longer to companies with live chat and can offer immediate support to them. Just the idea that you are always available when they need you is enough to make any customer stick around for longer time.

5. Send transcript of chat to create positive impression.

Some live chat features give you the option to save a conversation, which is called transcript, and to send a copy of it to your prospect or client through email.

By giving consumers the option to have a copy of the transcript of your conversation, they will be able to read the conversation any time they wish, instead of having to call you and ask the same question again. Oftentimes, consumers forget some details and answers to their questions because of so much information handed to them all at once.

With a transcript, they can always revisit their inbox to double check on any information they might have forgotten.

A good CRM software is able to provide you with such feature. If you want a more consumer-based environment of CRM software, contact www.crystaldash.com in Singapore to discuss the most suitable CRM solution for your type of business.


Overall, live chat is a great addition to your business’ cloud CRM system. With such useful feature, your clients get the support they need quickly and you get to speak to them directly.

By integrating live chat on site, you can effortlessly convert visitors into customers and you can keep existing customers satisfied (and loyal) and improve your overall customer satisfaction rates. All these, in result, will help improve your productivity and company credibility.