Freight forwarders are a dime a dozen. A quick Google search will show that there’s no shortage of companies ready to ship your goods internationally. But, there’s a vast difference between any freight forwarder and a good freight forwarder.
If your business is new to international shipping, you may not understand the importance of freight forwarding. But the truth is, the success of your international business is heavily dependent on choosing the right freight forwarder.
The wrong choice can result in poor logistics management which can deter the success of your global expansion. On the other hand, choosing the right freight forwarder can make all the difference when it comes to international shipping.
So what your business must consider when choosing a freight forwarder?
When it comes to freight forwarding companies, few factors are more important than experience.
Experience will determine how your freight forwarding partner will deal with shipping issues like:
- Dockworker strikes
- Port shutdowns
- Cargo reroutes
These potential issues are common in international shipping. A freight forwarder with years of experience will know how to deal with such issues so your goods continue to their destination unhindered.
2. A NETWORK OF GLOBAL AGENTS
How your international shipments are handled at both your origin and destination port is the responsibility of your freight forwarder. As international shipping requires considerable logistics, the right freight forwarder for your company is one that has the right network of global agents.
When choosing a freight forwarder for your business, make sure their network and connections work in the destination country your goods will be shipped to. This will keep the flow of information running smoothly, confirming that your products are arriving in a timely and secure manner.
3. RANGE OF SERVICES
Each industry has specified requirements when it comes to international shipping. When choosing a freight forwarder, confirm that they have the services you need. This will ensure all your international shipments go smoothly.
The services that a freight forwarder should provide includes:
- Tracking inland transportation
- Preparation of import and export documentation
- Packing and storage
- Inventory management
- Booking cargo space
- Customs clearance
- Negotiating freight charges
- Freight consolidation
When doing your research, acquaint yourself with the type of services your desired freight forwarder provides. They should not only provide services that align with your supply chain processes but also guide you through the documents required for freight forwarding.
4. CREDENTIALS AND CERTIFICATIONS
When sourcing a freight forwarder for your company, ask to see their credentials and certifications. Certifications and credentials will inform you whether or not a freight forwarder has the specialized training and security requirements to handle your goods.
While you’re confirming credentials, ask for references as well. A list of references providing unsolicited praise for a freight forwarder is a good indication that they have the experience and expertise to manage your international shipping requirements.
5. CUSTOMER SERVICE
Like any other industry, customer service is important. A freight forwarder with excellent customer service will provide the support you need to expand internationally. This is particularly crucial if this is your first foray into the overseas market.
Exceptional customer service ensures you always have direct access to the agent managing your cargo.
They will provide open lines of communication should you have any questions about a shipment. What’s more, they will have a high level of responsiveness, alerting you to any issues or delays regarding your cargo.
Like choosing an accountant, supplier, or vendor, research is key. Whether this is your first attempt at international shipping or you are already a proven veteran in shipping goods, take your time and research various freight forwarding companies.
As a freight forwarder is responsible for managing your cargo, they can determine the success of your business. Take your time through this process, ask a lot of questions, and go through their list of references.
This will allow you to choose a freight forwarder that’s reliable and well-experienced to professionally take care of your shipping needs.