During my trips to the Caribbean I always find myself explaining our shipping rates. I also have to justify our rates as compared to the competition.
Unfortunately there is no standardized quoting system that shows who is higher in price and who is lower. What makes it even more difficult to be discerning is that you often do not even get the same service. It can vary from one consolidator or forwarder to another.
Consolidators can give you a shipping rate of $3.00 per cubic foot and cost you more than the one charging $4.50 per cubic foot. This is because the $3.00 rate is only the ocean freight and there are 5 or 6 other charges that will be added to it. And, of course, the receiving agents will have fees and charges that can vary widely also.