It’s Easy to Make Your Home More Comfortable and Energy Efficient

There is no doubt about the fact that the quality of one’s life can be greatly improved by living in a comfortable environment. What if you could live in more of a comfortable home and save costs on energy usage at the same time? What if you could attain those very benefits and impact your environment in a positive way at the same time? Sounds like a win-win situation in all aspects, right? By making your home more energy-efficient, you will be able to attain the benefits of incurring lower costs in energy and living comfortably at the same time. By improving the efficiency of your home, you will be able to increase the appraisal value of your home as well.

When striving towards making energy-efficient adjustments in one’s home, the homeowner should look at the current amenities and appliances that are installed and in use. Many energy efficient improvements ending up paying for themselves in the low costs that are incurred by the homeowner. This fact┬áin itself can be considered a form of comfort and relief. Since a home is considered to be one of the most valuable assets one can own, it will be in the greatest interests of the homeowner to make certain adjustments such as energy efficient installments to increase their ROI. Making energy-efficient adjustments will usually consist of the homeowner changing their HVAC systems, thermostat functions and appliances utilized within the home. Although these may seem like major changes, the return on investment is certainly worth it in two different regards. The energy bills will be drastically decreased on a monthly basis and the home’s appraisal value will increase dramatically. Potential home buyers will take great notice in the adjustments that have been made in the home they are looking at and realize that living in an energy-efficient environment will only benefit them. Comfort is an aspect of life that is considered to be very valuable. No one should live a life where they feel tormented by their own environment.

Another adjustment the homeowner may need to make is closing off leaky windows. If there are cracks in the window’s framing areas, it is very likely the air that is being circulated within the home will escape into the outdoors, thus diminishing the effects the homeowner and residents would be receiving from their HVAC system. By closing up these cracks and open spaces in the window frames, the home’s bill costs will decrease as the systems will not be required to work harder for the residents to feel the circulated air.

Top US Imports and Exports

International shipping and trade is the lifeblood of world economy. It helps countries grow their national economies and expands the global trade market.

Imports and exports, in particular, help countries because every country is rich in certain resources while others lack these resources. At the same time, some countries have more highly developed infrastructures and capital markets than others (that allow for complex technological manufacturing) while others do not. In short, imports and exports create a sort of balance so that countries can trade for resources they need by trading off resources they have an abundance off.

The United States is one of the top countries in international shipping and trade. Below is more information on the US’s top imports and top exports as well as the names of the countries they do the most trading with.

What are Imports and Exports?

A basic understanding of imports and exports is necessary to appreciate the top imports and exports of the United States.

Imports are goods that are brought into one country from another. When the United States trades for resources to bring into the country, this is an import. The reason for importing goods is usually because they are not domestically readily available. It can also be because they are cheaper to buy overseas. These imported goods are very important for businesses and individual consumers in the country they are imported to.

Exports, on the other hand, are just the opposite of imports. They are goods a country sells to another. When the United States sells goods to another country, this is an export. Goods are often exported because a country has an abundance of a particular resource.

It is better for a country to export more goods than it imports. This makes it a net exporter rather than a net importer. When you export the majority of your goods, more money is coming into the country through sales than out of the country. In addition to the sales themselves, exports increase domestic activity including production, jobs, and overall revenue. Simply put, exporting helps the wealth of a country go up.

Top United States Imports

It’s important to note that the United States’ top imports have the potential to vary from year to year depending on the world trade market. The top five imports below are for the year 2014. However, each of the below resources is generally near the top of the US import list, no matter the particular year.

  1. Oil – Oil makes up over 18% of the United States’ annual imports. Almost $400 billion of oil is imported each year.
  2. Machines, Engines – Imports of machines and engines make up nearly 15% of the US’s annual imports. This accounts to over $300 billion per year.
  3. Electronic Equipment – Just over $300 billion worth of electronic equipment is imported into the United States every year. This category makes up nearly 13% of the country’s annual imports.
  4. Vehicles – Slightly over $250 billion worth of vehicles are imported each year. That means that this trade category makes up 10% of the country’s annual imports.
  5. Medical, Technical Equipment – Another major category of US imports is medical and technical equipment with $72 billion, or 3% o imports, per year.

Top United States Exports

The United States is one of the world’s top exporters as well as one of its top importers. As you will notice below, several of its top exports are also its top imports. The reasons for this are numerous. In the case of oil, for instance, the US has some of the best oil processing facilities in the world. It can buy cheap, dirty oil from other countries and process it into useable oil of its own. This allows it to sell its own high quality oil to other countries at premium prices.

  1. Machines, Engines – Machines and engines make up over 13% of the US’s yearly exports with $213 billion worth of goods shipped to other countries.
  2. Electronic Equipment – The United States exports over $165 billion, or 10% of its exports, worth of electronic equipment each year.
  3. Oil – Just under $150 billion worth of oil is exported by the United States each year. This account for 9% of its worldwide exports.
  4. Vehicles – $133 billion worth of vehicles are exported by the US each year. This figure amounts to around 8.5% of the country’s annual exports
  5. Aircraft, Spacecraft – The United States is one of the world’s top exports of aircraft and spacecraft. $115 billion was exported in 2014. This accounts for 7.5% of the country’s annual exports.

United States Top International Trading Partners

The United States is the top trading partner of well over 50 countries around the world. It is the country that these other countries primarily export and import with. At the top of the list are Chad, Haiti, and Mexico for exports and Canada, Mexico, and Costa Rica for imports.

However, the United States top international trading partners are far different. These are the countries that make up the bulk of the US’s imports and exports, rather than the US making up the bulk of their trading. At the top of this list are Canada, China, Mexico, the European Union, and Japan.

Final Thoughts on US Imports and Exports

International shipping and trade is of utmost importance to the United States, like it is for all other countries. Imports and exports allow the country the chance to make money off of abundant resources. They also allow the country to buy resources and goods that they are lacking in. Global market trade helps United States businesses and consumers get what they need to stay in business and raise the quality of life.

The United States trades with almost every country in the world. This has allowed the country to prosper economically and gives its consumers a wide variety of goods to select from. It goes without saying that imports and exports will continue to be of great importance to the US long into the future.

Moving Overseas: Air Freight vs. Ocean Freight

There are a number of things to consider before making an overseas move. One of the most important is whether to use air freight or ocean freight to move your household goods from one location to the other. Below are four essential factors to consider before making your decision.

Moving Overseas: Air Freight vs. Ocean Freight
  1. Cost – Ocean freight is generally more affordable than air freight. However, it is a smart idea to get estimates from both types of carriers. Sometimes if you are shipping less than a sea container load of goods, air freight is a better choice. Customs fees and destination fees also need to be taken into consideration.
  2. Speed – Air freight is almost always faster than ocean freight. While ocean shipping takes up to a month, air freight can be as quick as one to two days.
  3. Reliability – Both air freight and ocean freight are very reliable. On one hand, ocean freight has a much longer history, but airlines that specialize in air freight tend to be much more on top of their schedules.
  4. Environmental Impact – In general, ocean freight is more environmentally friendly than air freight. Ocean transport puts out far less CO2 emissions than air transport does. On the other hand, accidents to cargo ships are known to cause devastating oil spills, though their chances of happening are small.
Moving Overseas: Air Freight vs. Ocean Freight

Consider the four factors above to help make the best decision possible on shipping for your overseas move.

Shipping Household Goods Overseas

Making the life-altering decision to relocate to another country is difficult enough as it is. You don’t need to make your move any tougher than it needs to be by fretting about how you will get your household goods and other possessions from one location to another. Today, the Internet makes finding an International Moving Company (IMC) to perform a Household Goods (HHG) Move for you easy.

Shipping Household Goods Overseas

Below is a basic overview of shipping your household goods overseas whether you are relocating to another country or moving back to the United States from one.

What is HHG?

HHG, or Household Goods move, is the process of shipping your household goods and other personal property to another country. It involves an individual, rather than a business, shipping their personal property to an overseas country. It sometimes also involves the shipping of these same goods to a relative or an associate located in the overseas country.

The HHG Process

It is essential to find a reputable Household Goods Mover to ship your personal property. The companies you select needs to be licensed and registered to receive, pack, and arrange for overseas transportation of your property. There are a wide variety of International Moving Companies to select from. Most can be easily found and researched online. The Federal Maritime Commission is an excellent resource for those looking for an IMC.

The next step in the HHG process is packing your goods. The IMC you have hired will subcontract a local trucking or moving company to pick up your goods. These goods will then be delivered to the IMC’s personal warehouse. Here they will generally be consolidated into a shipping container. This container is then delivered to the port by a company truck.

Once at the port, the container holding your goods is loaded onto a ship. The ship crosses the ocean to the destination port. Here, your container is unloaded, given customs clearance, and then delivered to the specified location. Though the HHG process can seem daunting, it is actually surprisingly simple and straightforward in practice.

Shipping Household Goods Overseas

Select a Great IMC

A great International Moving Company handles every step of the international shipping process for you. They set everything up involving transportation as well as customs and export documentation. This means no paperwork for you. Furthermore, many companies now offer the choice between air and sea shipping. Both have their benefits. While air is generally faster, sea is far more affordable.

Get an Estimate on Your Overseas Move

Reputable International Moving Companies will always offer free estimates on your overseas move. Many of them even have estimate calculators available on their websites. Moving cost estimates are based on either the total volume or the total weight of your personal belongings. These estimates also take factors including shipping container type and shipping method (air or sea) into consideration. Getting quotes from a handful of trustworthy IMC’s helps narrow down your selection.

Final Thoughts on Shipping Household Goods Overseas

Relocating to another country overseas is a big step. Though it seems daunting, the international shipping process is actually fairly easy. The information above should give you the basic knowledge you need to successfully contact and hire an International Moving Company to safely move your household goods from country to country.

Definition of Incoterms

International shipping and trade would be far different without Incoterms. An abbreviation for International Commercial Terms, they dictate specific trade rules and regulations. The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) publishes Incoterms.

How Incoterms Are Used

Incoterms are used to lay the groundwork for contracts in both international and domestic trade. They were developed to protect traders trading across different countries. They also serve to make such international trades easier.

The first set of Incoterms was developed in 1936. Since then, they have been updated numerous times, most recently in 2011. This eight version of Incoterms is now known as Incoterms 2010. Though it is the most commonly used set of Incoterms, there is no law preventing the use of earlier versions of Incoterms. However, the version which is being used must be clearly noted in the contract to avoid confusion.

To put it simply, Incoterms provide the ground rules for countries trading with one another. It makes the responsibilities of both the buy and the seller clear to both. Since their implementation, Incoterms has greatly reduced the amount of misunderstandings among traders from different countries.

Final Thoughts on Incoterms

Incoterms are vital to importing and exporting. Without them, international shipping and world trade would likely be wrought with far more problems. An understanding of the current version of Incoterms, Incoterms 2010, is essential to anyone or any company interested in international shipping. They will help make the obligations of each party clear and minimize the amount of disputes (and litigation) that occurs.

Incoterms Explained

Incoterms are an important part of international shipping and trade. Short for “International Commercial Terms,” they are specific trade terms published by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). Incoterms are commonly used in both international and domestic trade contracts to make trading easier between traders from different countries.

History of Incoterms

Incoterms have a long history in international shipping and trade. The first set was developed in 1936. They have been periodically updated since then so that they continue to conform to current trade practices and laws.

Incoterms Explained

The most recent version of Incoterms is known as Incoterms 2010. It is the eighth version and was published on January 1, 2011. Because of the many updates over time, it is important for trade contracts to specify which version of Incoterms they are going to be using.

How are Incoterms Used?

Incoterms play an important role in international shipping and trade. Because different companies have different rules and regulations regarding trade, a separate set of rules is needed when these countries trade amongst one another. This is exactly where incoterms come into play.

In short, incoterms provide a set of ground rules for different countries trading with one another. They make clear the regulations of both the buyers and sellers. The focus of incoterms is the delivery of goods under sales contractors.

Incoterms apportion transportation costs and trading responsibilities. The newest version, Incoterms 2010, is designed to reflect modern-day transportation practice. The implementation and use of incoterms greatly reduces the amount of misunderstandings among traders (importers and exporters) from different countries. This in itself serves to minimize the amount of trade disputes and litigation in the international shipping and trade industry.

Incoterms 2000 Revisions

To fully comprehend the current use of Incoterms, it is essential to understand why the seventh version, Incoterms 2000, was updated to the most recent version of Incoterms 2010. The newest set of incoterms was developed after an extensive review of world shipping practices and trends. The update was prompted by the rapid expansion of world trade during the previous decade.

Though several small changes were made, the key changes between Incoterms 2000 and Incoterms 2010 focused on a need for improved cargo security and new trends in global transportation. They also had to do with changes to the Uniform Commercial Code in 2004 that greatly affected the terms of U.S. shipment and delivery.

Incoterms 2010 Main Categories

Incoterms 2010 is now organized by modes of transport. They are broken down into two main categories and several subcategories. The goal of this new method of organization is to simplify the drafting of new contracts between buyers and sellers.

The first category of Incoterms 2010 is Group 1. These apply to any mode of transportation. They include Ex Works (EXW), Free Carrier (FCA), Carriage Paid to (CPT), Carriage and Insurance Paid to (CIP), Delivered at Terminal (DAT), Delivered at Place (DAP), and Delivered Duty Paid (DDP).

The second category of Incoterms 2010 is Group 1. These apply to sea and inland waterway transport only. They include Free Alongside Ship (FAS), Free on Board (FOB), Cost and Freight (CFR), and Cost, Insurance, and Freight (CIF).

Is Incoterms 2000 Still Used?

All contracts made under Incoterms 2000 remain valid even after 2011. This is according to the International Chamber of Commerce. Even though the ICC recommends the use of Incoterms 2010 from January 2011 onward, the two parties involved in the contract can use any version of Incoterms they want to. It is essential that the two parties specify which version of Incoterms is being used in their agreement (such as Incoterms 2010, Incoterms 2000, or an earlier version).

Common Incoterms Terms

As mentioned above, there are a number of different terms used in incoterms in both Group 1 and Group 2 categories. An understanding of the most common of these terms is helpful in understanding incoterms as a whole.

  • EXW – Ex Works
    Ex Works (EXW) is one of the most common incoterms. It relates to a seller that makes the goods available at their premises. This incoterm places the majority of the obligation on the buyer and only the minimum of obligation on the seller. Ex Works is often used for initial quotations for the sale of goods. Basically, the buyer takes on the risk of transporting the goods from the seller’s premises to their final location.
  • FCA – Free Carrier
    Free Carrier (FCA) is another one of the most common incoterms. In this method of trade, the seller delivers the goods (already cleared for export) to a specific location. Most often, this is a carrier named by the buyer. Sometimes it is another person named by the buyer instead their own carrier.
  • CPT – Carriage Paid To
    Carriage Paid To (CPT) is a new term for Incoterms 2010. It replaces C&F (Cost and Freight). It also replaces all CFR terms other than those that pertain to non-containerized sea freight. In CPT, the seller pays for the shipping of the goods up to the place of destination. The risk transfers over to the buyer as soon as they handle the goods for the first time.

Learn More About Incoterms 2010

Since they are such an important part of international shipping and trade, there are a variety of great resources that detail the ins and outs of Incoterms 2010. Surprisingly, the Incoterms Wikipedia page is a great basic resource. It offers a thorough breakdown of each term. is another useful research that breaks down Incoterms 2010 in more complex terms. This website also provides a Trade Events Search Database. The database is a great tool to use to find private sector and government organizations that offer workshops, webinars, and seminars related to Incoterms 2010. If you are interested in incoterms in a professional sense, these events are invaluable.

Final Thoughts on Incoterms

Incoterms are a very important part of international shipping and trade. Understanding them is essential for anyone involved in imports or exports. The information above provides the basic groundwork for an understanding of Incoterms 2010.