International shipping is the central pillar of our interconnected global economy playing a crucial role in facilitating global trade, propelling business growth, and fuelling economic progress. However, as with any complex process, it comes with its unique set of challenges.

Cash flow

Cash flow constraints and documentation lags are two primary concerns that businesses often grapple with, leading to disruptions that can escalate costs and delay shipments.

Cash flow is a vital life force for any business and in international shipping, it is closely related to the prompt delivery of goods. The longer a shipment takes to reach its destination, the longer a business waits to receive payment, thereby straining its cash flow.

This strain can inhibit a business's ability to fulfill financial responsibilities, adversely affecting its profit margin and stunting potential growth and expansion.


While correct documentation is crucial for all international shipping transactions, it is vital for compliance with import and export legislation, acquiring customs clearances, and ensuring the goods reach their destination promptly.

The process of document management can often become a bottleneck due to inaccuracies, regulatory modifications, and inefficient manual procedures. These roadblocks can extend the shipping timeline, intensifying cash flow problems and obstructing business efficiency.

This is where innovative strategies like efficient route planning step in as potential solutions, paving the path for seamless and efficient international shipping operations.

How can route planning alleviate cash flow and documentation concerns?

At its core, route planning is about charting the most optimal course for shipments to arrive at their destination. It requires a comprehensive consideration of factors such as distance, known issues along certain routes, transport costs, and modes of transport. By enabling the selection of the most appropriate route and modes that reduce transit times, route planning accelerates the delivery process.

This faster delivery allows businesses to bill their customers earlier, ensuring quicker payments. Such a measure can drastically enhance their cash flow, providing them with the financial freedom to reinvest in their operations and seek new growth avenues.

Furthermore, effective route planning can lower shipping expenses. By identifying the most cost-effective routes, businesses can cut down on fuel usage and freight charges. This cost reduction directly influences their expenses, bolstering their profit margin, and freeing up cash for other vital business pursuits.

In terms of documentation bottlenecks, route planning can play a critical role. By opting for routes with more straightforward or familiar customs protocols, businesses can minimize the chances of unforeseen documentation complications.

Ensuring all requisite paperwork is prepared beforehand and adheres to the destination country's regulations significantly diminishes time spent on document management, expediting the shipping process.

The dawn of digital technologies is revolutionizing route planning. Sophisticated route planning software like Fluent Cargo can compute the most optimal routes, considering real-time conditions, updated carrier schedules, and even suggesting suitable alternate routes to save customers time and cost.

Several routing options from Fluent Cargo

Role of technology in route planning

As we delve deeper into the digital era, the integration of technology in route planning proves to be a game-changing development. Advanced analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning (ML) are set to elevate this facet of international shipping to new heights.

AI and ML can forecast potential documentation lags by recognizing patterns and inconsistencies in previous shipping data. This helps businesses pre-empt and rectify documentation errors before they cause delays, further enhancing shipping efficiency.

Moreover, the integration of technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT) and telematics into route planning enables real-time shipment tracking. This not only offers a better overview and control of the supply chain but also enables businesses to furnish customers with precise, current information about their shipments.

By speeding up delivery times, reducing shipping expenses, and improving document management, we can guarantee smoother, more efficient operations. As we continue to traverse the labyrinth of the global economy, the role of route planning will become increasingly crucial, providing businesses with a strategic edge in the dynamic world of international shipping.


While cash flow constraints and documentation delays are a part and parcel of international shipping, effective route planning, bolstered by technological advances, can provide a robust solution. By implementing the right strategies, businesses can circumvent obstacles in international shipping, navigate the complex global trade landscape, and turn the world into a more accessible marketplace.

Success in international shipping lies in effective route planning and if businesses harness the power of route planning software like Fluent Cargo it will certainly boost their operational efficiency with technology acting as a trusted co-pilot.

Written ByMaja Bernstein

Maja is the VP of Industry Relations at Fluent Cargo. She has vast experience in logistics having previously worked at Rock-it Global as a freight forwarder specializing in live events for several years and most recently at Oceanworks as operations manager.