If you have an international business, or even a domestic one, it is a good idea to look into getting a freight forwarder to help out. Organising the logistics of getting your products from A to B can be very difficult to get your head around. It can actually become time-consuming and you may end up making some pretty costly mistakes if you attempt to do this yourself.
Especially if you are operating on an international scale, you have different country’s importing rules and regulations to consider as well. A freight forwarder will take care of everything, from start to finish, with things like documentation, customs clearance and terms of carriage. They work closely with customs brokers to ensure that the goods make it safely (and on time) to the desired destination.
If this is something you are considering for your business, then have a read on below on how to choose a good freight forwarder:
Probably one of the first things you need to think of when choosing a freight forwarder is your own shipping requirements. This will help narrow down your options, as some freight forwarding companies will specialise in certain shipping methods. For example, if you are looking to ship fragile items, then you need a company that has lots of experience in this area, so your products get to their destination without damage.
If you are unsure of what experience the particular freight forwarding company has, then it is a good idea to ask about their existing clients, if these clients offer similar products to you, then they could be a good option. It is also important to consider the amount of the product you are looking to ship. You need to know if the company can keep up with the number of products you are shipping.
Mode of Transport
The mode of transport that will be used to get your products from A to B is also an important point to consider. Certain freight forwarders will have relationships with certain carriers that could determine if you get special treatment, like a priority on your products, or even discounts. There are all sorts of deals and relationships going on that you could potentially take advantage of.
You probably already know which mode of transport works best, but it can’t hurt to ask a potential freight forwarder to see if they can find the most cost-effective way of transporting your products. For example, if you think most of your products will be transported by sea, then you should look for a freight forwarder is has pre-existing relationships with a shipping line. You could also use multiple modes of transport as well, so you can reach even more people.
Some freight forwarding companies will only operate in certain areas, and while they may operate in the area you are based in, they may not operate in an area where most of your customers are. If you are exporting your products to or from a regional or particularly remote area, then that may very well dramatically reduce the number of companies that have the potential to assist you.
Some freight forwarding companies also may have more experience in dealing with certain counties and they have a full understanding of all the requirements to ensure your products make it to their rightful destination. Some countries have particularly difficult customs regulations that can be confusing or difficult to deal with, so if the freight forwarding company has a lot of experience with that particular country you want to export to, it may be a good option.