What is the Difference Between EXW vs FOB?

Mar 13, 2021 Chapter 1. Sourcing



Both EXW and FOB are Incoterms to refer to international shipments. You will first need to understand the difference between the EXW vs FOB to fully understand the appropriate usage of these terms and what they encompass. 


In FOB, the responsibility of loading the package on your desired ship falls on the seller, and only after that does the responsibility of goods passes on to you. On the other hand, an EXW arrangement means that the responsibility of collecting, loading, and transporting falls on you. The seller only has to let you the pick-up location.  


EXW Shipping Analysis | Pros and Cons

EXW is a vastly used method of shipping around the world. However, like almost everything we come across, it has its benefits and down-sides. 


Pros Of EXW

Under these terms, the responsibility and risks and costs associated with shipping the packages are on the buyer. Thus, with the supplier’s help, the EXW terms are very helpful if the buyer needs to know their total costs. 


Another advantage is the control that comes with these terms. The buyer can choose everything on his own. This means they are sure that any chances of fraud have been reduced and the chances of the supplier adding a margin on the transportation fee are eliminated. 



Cons Of EXW

The downside of these terms is related to the customs clearance of the goods in the origin country. The customs department contacts the supplier to collect information regarding the packages. However, if the information turns out to be misleading or misstated, the costs of extra inspections and any possible additional costs will have to be borne by the buyer. Additionally, if the customs department chooses the goods or package for random extra inspection, any resulting costs will also have to be borne by the buyer. 


Moreover, it is highly possible that a supplier who is not offering FOB terms might not have a license to export. In that case, if you get into an EXW terms contract with such a supplier, you will be charged for the export license fee, which is usually very high. Thus, a small tip; do remember to ask if the supplier has the license if you are being refused FOB terms. 


It is also necessary to mention that if you are accustomed to travelling overseas to place orders with multiple vendors, you might be at the risk of bearing very high costs. This is because the vendors might not let you know this, but you will most likely be signing an EXW contract with each of them. Meaning the transport costs will be on you.  


FOB Shipping Analysis | Pros and Cons


Pros Of FOB

FOB conditions have many benefits to the buyer. For example, the buyer buys insurance and has the initiative in the choice of insurance types\rates\claims; the buyer can specify transportation and can obtain transportation cost control\get bulk shipping discounts\require shipping credits\batch Import customs clearance and other conveniences; FOB prices allow buyers to evaluate the costs of various countries intuitively.


Cons Of FOB

If you are a new buyer, FOB may have some risks. You may find unprofessional freight forwarders and you will suffer a lot of losses. Obtain export licenses at your own risk and expense, and go through export procedures, be responsible for all costs and risks of loss or damage to the goods before the goods pass the ship’s rail at the designated port of shipment, provide commercial invoices, clean shipment documents, etc. at your own expense.


1. FOB. That is delivery at the terminal in China.

FOB=value of goods + domestic freight

If it is agreed to deliver at Shanghai port, it is called FOB SHANGHAI. Under these conditions, except for the value of goods themselves, the freight, customs declaration, export procedures for transporting the goods to the Shanghai terminal are also added to the FOB. This is also part of the cost.


2. C&F. That is delivery at a buyer terminal.

C&F = FOB + ocean freight.

If it is agreed to deliver at New York port, it is called CNF NEW YORK. This condition is the FOB price plus the ocean freight charges for shipping the goods to New York, USA.


3. CIF. It is agreed to deliver at a buyer terminal.

CIF = FOB + ocean freight + insurance. Or CIF = CNF + insurance premium.

Because the type of goods and the place of delivery are different, the insurance premium is also slightly different. The insurance company determines the insurance company’s amount, and there are several types of insurance, but we usually use all risks: no matter what happens, the insurance company will carry it for you. The insurance premium is not high. Buy it for safety first. In CIF terms, chartering and booking space and insurance are recognized.


To sum up, the freight costs under EXW terms might be high, but you get a very clear idea of all of your costs and control most of them (except for the customs inspections). 

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments