Globally operating companies need a strong and effective logistics infrastructure to guarantee the delivery of their goods without any issues and concerns. Naturally, inexperienced business leaders and prospective entrepreneurs might not be familiar with the logistics and international shipping processes. However, with this being said, a third party, often known as freight forwarders, is in charge of ensuring that goods arrive at their destination safely and securely.

Importers and exporters use freight forwarders to move goods through the supply chain. They serve as a go-between, serving as a point of contact between a shipper and the carrier they prefer to use for their transportation needs. They even hire shipping companies to move items from producers to manufacturers, and then on to the final market or customer. Additionally, they can provide assistance on the most efficient international shipping routes and coordinate rail, road, sea, or air freight transport arrangements to ensure that items reach on time.

However, some businesses must choose whether to handle their exports by themselves, or rely on the knowledge of freight forwarders. To meet the increase in demand, they must invest in the most up-to-date logistical infrastructure, technology, and qualified staff if they wish to manage exports instead of leaving it to other agencies. But then, most businesses now choose to delegate the management of their non-essential operations to third parties so that they can focus their efforts on growing their primary business.

If you need domestic or international shipping and you own a small or large manufacturing firm, or even if you are an individual with a load that is larger than what is allowed by normal package delivery services, it would be in your best interest to learn more about using a freight forwarder rather than doing it alone. This article will break down different elements that make up the reliability of freight forwarders. Read on to learn more.

What Does a Freight Forwarder Do?

Freight forwarders are responsible for shipping for both domestic and foreign trade. They plan the logistics of moving and storing products during transit and collaborate closely with importers and exporters to ensure that all necessary paperwork for customs clearance is in order. Actually, a freight forwarder is a cost-effective and efficient means to deliver products to market, especially for companies exporting huge volumes, even though they do not physically move the goods. As a middleman between businesses and shipping firms, freight forwarders can negotiate favorable freight rates through their network of reliable freight services.

Instead of individual businesses having to be experts in the shipping of goods, freight forwarding organizations are. The time it would take importers and exporters to arrange all the required paperwork, fees, and insurance themselves is saved by them. Companies can gain from freight forwarders’ expert understanding of the import and export laws and regulations of other nations.

The Process of Freight Forwarding

The items are transported inland from the customer’s warehouse to the port, temporary storage, cargo consolidation, preparation of shipping and customs documentation, and export paperwork are just a few of the services offered by freight forwarders. They also negotiate freight rates with ocean carriers on behalf of shippers, reserve cargo space on oceangoing vessels, arrange for cargo insurance, arrange for transportation and manpower, and transfer goods from customer warehouses to ports. Depending on the type of cargo that is being exported, such as banned materials, specific food products, and the like, they could also be necessary to communicate with various government organizations.

The freight forwarding process can be divided into six key stages, including (1) export haulage, which denotes the movement of goods from their original source to the freight forwarder’s warehouse; (2) export customs clearance, which indicates that the goods are granted permission to leave their country of origin; (3) origin handling, which represents the unloading, inspection, and validation of the cargo against its booking documents; and (4) import customs clearance, which identifies the customs paperwork required to bring in goods from another country; (5) destination handling, which is the handling of cargo after it reaches the destination office, includes transfer to the import warehouse; and lastly, (6) import haulage, which is the movement of cargo from the import warehouse to its final destination. 

Benefits of Freight Forwarding Companies

Freight forwarders offer support at every stage of the shipping process, from packing and storing goods to dealing with the complex customs process. Despite not actually moving the items themselves, forwarders are experts in the logistics of transporting the products from point A to point B, foreseeing and avoiding any unneeded hazards along the road.

More specifically, among the advantages of using a freight forwarder is having access to their extensive network of business contacts. This can help you get the cheapest prices for your specific shipping project and guarantee that your items arrive on schedule and in good condition. Additionally, freight forwarders uphold a professional standard of interpersonal contact and client care because they not only desire your business but also a lasting professional connection. Thus, maintaining an open and sincere working relationship is in your best interests.

Furthermore, your forwarder is in charge of handling your priceless goods in addition to this. Therefore, be sure to pick a business you can believe in, especially one with excellent customer service and a well-known name in the sector.

Services Offered by Freight Forwarders

Freight forwarders provide a variety of services. Among them is offering guidance on the shipping method. A professional freight forwarder will give you a range of transportation options and advise the best one for your needs in terms of price, timeliness, and kind of cargo.

Additionally, a freight forwarder is in charge of streamlining the shipping process for you because international shipping calls for labeling the contents, the type of goods in the shipment, an itemized list of the products, and their supporting documentation; as well as a bill of lading—a legal document that serves as a contract between you and the shipper; and a certificate of origin, which specifies the precise country from which the product is being exported and its value. This just shows that freight forwarders actually handle a lot of different documentation processes along the road.

In addition, given their familiarity and experience working with customs officials of other nations, freight forwarders frequently provide custom clearing services to help you relax as your goods cross international borders. However, for the procedure, there can be an additional charge or brokerage.

Due to their size and scope, a lot of freight forwarders also provide warehousing and storage space for shipments. And prior to your goods arriving at their destination, you could be required to bundle or assemble them. Many freight forwarders can help you with this. Last but not least, freight forwarders offer last mile delivery, or local transportation of your goods from the port to the warehouse, in addition to assisting you transfer your goods from one port to the next.

Key Takeaway

Overall, freight forwarding is a crucial business tool that promotes effectiveness and provides security against conventional shipping procedures. The key to a successful shipment is developing a connection with a freight forwarding company that not only meets turnaround requirements but also understands your organization’s demands and expectations. And now that you are aware of what freight forwarders are and how they can assist you, it is time to carefully consider your options and select the top freight forwarder for your company.