At AFS Global we often talk about going to the Nth degree for our customers, but what does that actually mean?

By the Nth degree we mean going the extra mile to get our customers’ cargo where it needs to be. We truly believe that when customers are faced with tricky shipping situations, if we can’t do it, nobody can.

Even when we are talking about the most complex cross trade involving numerous modes of transport, several local agents, and a ticking clock!

We recently shared an example of this in our guide to International Cross Trade. This instance required us to transport several large digital exhibition stands from Dubai to Lisbon, with just a week’s notice.

With such a tight timeframe, we planned to move the cargo via air freight. But, because the customer didn’t have a legal entity registered in Portugal, we needed to fly into Spain first (the nearest EU country where the customer did have an entity) and complete the rest of the journey overland.

While the plan seemed straight forward, to meet the timeline, we had to overcome several hurdles along the way, including:

Lack of air freight capacity

The big problem we initially faced was that there was no longer any air freight capacity available to transport the cargo directly to Spain. So, we found indirect flights which would take the cargo via Turkey, before being transferred on to another flight to Barcelona.

Missing export license

This plan hit a snag, however, when the Dubai supplier revealed (despite reassurances to the contrary) that it didn’t have an export license. To resolve this, we reached out to its licensed partner in Dubai, who then managed the shipment on the supplier’s behalf.

Incorrect customs declaration

In addition to not having a customs license, the supplier had also incorrectly declared the weight, dimensions and number of pieces contained in the shipment. This meant that Customs in Dubai refused to accept the cargo. With time of the essence, we then worked with our partner in Dubai to reclaim the cargo, during the night, and send it back through an express lane with the correct information – so it didn’t miss the morning flight.

Delayed transfer

Despite eventually arriving in Turkey on time, we then hit yet another hitch when airport handlers in Turkey managed to split the cargo into two packages. These were then placed on separate planes – with one leaving a day later than scheduled. As a result, we needed to work with our partner in Barcelona to request that the second shipment gain express clearance through customs, which was granted.

Rearranged road transportation

Due to the delay, we also needed to reschedule plans with our road transportation partner in Spain. The display stands were finally placed on two large vans to complete the remaining 1250 km journey to Lisbon. And, despite all the problems encountered, our customer was able to successfully erect the display stands in ample time, the day before the show.

Our client was so happy with this experience that they entrusted us to arrange a similar project the following week, this time between the Netherlands and Guatemala.

So, if you’re ever stuck in a tricky shipping situation and need expert assistance, please get in touch with our team. We’re always ready to find a solution.

If you also to learn more about shipping between countries, without transit via the UK, please read our guide to International Cross Trade.