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Exploring Incoterms: Is FOB the New EXW for OEMs?

In the world of international trade, Incoterms act as a compass guiding transactions between buyers and sellers. Among these terms, EXW (Ex Works) has long been the preferred choice for many Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), but could the landscape be changing?

FOB: The Emerging Alternative

In recent years, FOB (Free On Board) has emerged as an attractive alternative for OEMs seeking greater flexibility and control over their product logistics. With FOB, the seller is responsible for delivering the goods on board the vessel designated by the buyer at the agreed port of shipment. From there, responsibility and costs shift to the buyer.


Advantages of FOB for OEMs:

  1. Greater Logistics Control: Being responsible for delivery on board the vessel, OEMs can better manage the logistics and transportation of their products.

  2. Reduction of Hidden Costs: By transferring responsibility to the buyer once the cargo is on board, OEMs can avoid additional costs associated with land transportation and other logistical expenses.

  3. Flexibility in Carrier Selection: FOB allows OEMs to choose the carrier that best suits their needs, potentially resulting in more competitive rates and more efficient service.

Disadvantages of FOB for OEMs:

  1. Increased Responsibility in Maritime Transport: Assuming responsibility once the cargo is on board means OEMs must also face the risks associated with maritime transport, such as damage during transit.

  • OEMs can purchase marine cargo insurance to protect against potential losses or damages during shipping. Working closely with a reliable freight forwarder can also help mitigate risks and ensure smooth delivery.

  1. Added Complexity in Documentation: FOB may entail increased administrative and documentary burden for OEMs, especially in terms of preparing export documents.

  • However, this challenge can be easily overcome with the assistance of international trade experts or by utilizing digital tools that simplify and automate the documentation process.

  1. Less Control over Shipping Costs: While FOB offers flexibility in carrier selection, OEMs may face fluctuations in shipping costs that are beyond their control.

    • Establishing clear contracts with carriers and using cost-tracking tools can help OEMs maintain greater control over their shipping expenses and plan ahead.

Ultimately, the choice between EXW and FOB will depend on the specific needs and preferences of each OEM. However, in an increasingly globalized and competitive world, FOB is emerging as an attractive option that provides greater flexibility and control over the supply chain. Are you ready to explore this new frontier in Incoterms?


Join the conversation and share your experiences with Incoterms in the comments!

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