Freight forwarders are companies or individuals which organizes the shipments for corporations or persons in getting the goods from the manufacturer to market or final distribution point. They do not move them themselves but have a contract with multiple carriers who do this job for them. Their main responsibility is acting as the expert in logistics expert.
Carriers use various shipping modes including railroads, trucks, airplanes and ships with a single shipment possibly using multiple modes. This is specially true for an International freight forwarding company where the goods are transported from a manufacturing plant to the airport or dock using a truck. Then shipped via airplane or ship and from the port going to its final destination, trucks would be used.
Because they usually handle international shipments, they are knowledgeable and skilled with the preparation and processing of documentations. These include dealing with the local customs agency of the destination country and other related activities. Examples of these documents are bill of lading, export declaration of shipper and commercial invoice.
Your company size does not equate to the size of freight forwarder that you will choose because bigger companies sometimes chose smaller ones and vice versa. And selecting who to work with is essential because you are not only acquiring their services but becoming their partner. Having this mindset will help you look for the best one with your interest in their priority.
Before you look for forwarders, find out what your company specifically needs for your products to be moved around to other places. This includes determining the transportation mode applicable for the demand of your goods and what certain services you need. Identify the volume which you plan in shipping before contacting them.
Research about their industry to learn the things your forwarder could do and could not do for your establishment. This means you should know your responsibilities and theirs by reading regulations, various blogs, industry terms, international treaties and everything else related to this. Doing this helps you identify the area of logistics needed.
Find out that could handle various kinds of shipments because you might need only an ocean freight right now for importing in a certain country, but you might need something else for another country. This is helpful since you will not be looking for another forwarder for different destinations with varying transportation modes needed. Be sure they have the experience and knowledge for this and have partners throughout the world.
Various commodities such as hazardous, chemicals, perishables, garments, cars, food, and machinery have varying ways in transporting them. There are also many regulations they must know about and a lot of countries with variations for these regulations. So ask them if they are experienced with handling your shipment and if they had a similar project before.
Being members of reputable associations in freight forwarding and trading is an additional confidence booster because you would know they will handle your shipment carefully and diligently. This is because reputable associations only allow those with integrity, financial strength and operational efficiency to become a member. They have more specific requirements but these are the basics and most important ones.
Categories: Business and Management