Freight forwarding is not an easy task. It involves ensuring that cargo is delivered to buyers at the required place, right costs and in an exact original condition. Companies dealing with multi-national and international import and exports are using freight forwarding services. Freight forwarders, on the other hand, are the people mediating between clients and transport services. The role of a freight forwarder is to deal with the movement of goods from end to end on behalf of the cargo owners.
With a pool of freight forwarders in the logistics industry, how do you choose one to handle your freight forwarding needs? Here are a few tips you can use in choosing a freight forwarder.
1. Be sure to understand your needs and requirements.
It’s given that you should, but this is something that bears mentioning because if ignored, a good experience with your freight forwarder will be down to blind luck. First things first, and that is to be certain of your specific needs before you even begin to look for a freight forwarder. Decide on what mode of transportation and the specific services your business will need and also the volume you are planning to ship. All these should be done before contacting a freight forwarder because you might get a forwarder that doesn’t fit with the specific service.
For example, if you are shipping something that needs refrigeration, then you should find a freight forwarder that can accommodate refrigeration. Or if you don’t have the resources to get your products from the port, then you will need a forwarder that has a truck network available in your country. These are all very important and greatly influence how you proceed.
2. Experience is key.
When you need and look for freight forwarders research and take note of the company’s experience. Experience is one of the most significant differentiating factors. More experienced freight forwarders mean that they’ve dealt with many problems over their tenure of existence and should be better equipped to deal with future problems.
If you have a fairly common product, then the depth of experience does not matter as much, but if your product is unique, this is very important. To par with your product, a freight forwarder with unique experience is preferred than one with more general experience.
This tops all the items on this list. Take your time when finding one and choose a freight forwarder that has years of experience. This means the freight forwarder of your choice is highly skilled and have been through many hard situations including but not limited to the following:
- Worker strikes
- Shutdowns of ports
- Rerouting of cargo
- Warehousing issues and so on
This could also mean that your freight forwarder can assist you and avoid or lessen problems arising in customs, warehouse, and routing to ensure your international shipping runs smoothly.
It is also important to take note that the freight forwarder should have capability certifications. Back office offshoring solutions freight operators are Cargowise one certified, highly trained and experienced.
3. Research the services offered.
Be prepared whenever you contact a freight forwarder and determine what mode of transport you require as well as any other services you need. Take a look at their services offered by the freight forwarder and make certain that they offer necessary services for your shipment.
A freight forwarder must be knowledgeable in linking all modes of transportation and this includes air, ocean shipping, and ground services including handling dangerous goods and temperature-controlled services.
As an industry, you need to look for a freight forwarder and scrutinize carefully if they can deliver the services that you need. The freight operator should be able to manage both air and sea exports and imports as well as rail and trucking for the shipping of your goods.
Total back office solutions offer Cargowise Back Office Operators for all your freight forwarding and logistics needs.
4. Consider crisis management.
When forwarding freight, there are unexpected casualties that sometimes occur that even the most experienced and reliable company find it hard to handle. In these cases, a freight forwarding company with great experience and a proactive approach to managing crises will make a difference between an inconvenience and a complete disaster. Therefore, when you choose a freight forwarder, examine and look into them carefully and check if they have been through and overcome these circumstances.
5. Do price comparison.
When choosing a freight forwarder and you have more than one option the best thing to do is compare freight forwarder on price. Eliminating those who do not offer all the services that your business needs should be the first step you will take. While some of the options available may be cheaper, you should not settle with a freight forwarder that will only do less or not be able to get the job done at all. Once you’ve narrowed down your list of those freight forwarders that have all the characteristics you want, it is tempting to directly choose the lowest list price and moved on, but it is essentially wrong, and you should never do that.
Freight forwarder’s pricing system vary enormously and it is extremely important that you understand the systems of the forwarders that you are considering. A good rule you should know about a freight forwarder is they are not trying to get you the lowest price possible while maintaining quality service, and if they do this then they are not actually doing their job. The biggest factor about comparing prices for freight forwarders is how they treat different volumes of product, and how this affects you. Therefore, when choosing a freight forwarder, ensure that their price should apply to the amount that you plan on shipping.
6. Understand the handling of multiple types of shipments.
It is important to verify that the freight forwarder of your choice is able to export multiple types of shipments. You may only need to export to a single place using sea freight, but what if you needed to import from another place using air freight? Choose a freight forwarder who has the experience, resources, and partners globally to handle shipments, and they must be technical know-how to avoid conflicts.
7. Ask about the network of agents and business partners.
Confirm your preferred freight forwarding company if they have a strong network of business connections all over the world. More importantly, the said company should have the right connections in the city of origin and destination for your imports and exports.
It is a right move for you to be certain and ask about your freight forwarder’s connection and years of experience in the specific locations that interest you. Total Back Office Solutions enjoys a vast network and conducts shipping from any region in the world. This wide network of overseas agents guarantees a smooth flow of information and delivery that allows you to know where your products are and if they will arrive in a timely manner because our Cargowise Back Office Operators have undergone training making them well-equipped and highly skilled.
8. Check if they have cargo insurance.
This is as well an important piece as it should be able to issue insurance policies for your shipments in case of theft, damage, or loss. Therefore, make sure to check that the freight forwarder of your choice carries a minimum amount of insurance known as carrier liability. It is a way to have your goods covered from any unnecessities during transit. Look for a freight forwarding company that is insured and can offer protection to your goods.
9. Understand compliance.
There are countless laws and regulations when it comes to transporting goods, so it is important that the freight forwarding company you choose has experience internationally especially in border protection, customs, and all other government regulations that could affect your shipment. Your goods might not arrive at its destination due to the reason that the laws are not being compiled by the freight forwarder you choose.
10. Good Customer Services and References
Customer service is very important because a business that offers good customer service is good business. You have to make sure that the freight forwarder you are contacting truly value their business and their customers. It pays to know that the freight forwarder you are going to entrust your cargo with offers good customer service since this is very important. Having good customer service involves the following:
- Being very proactive in responding to requests or queries about shipments.
- Being able to discuss the requirements and the processes if you are new to the business.
- Being able to take care of the needs of the business with professionalism.
Also, a good freight forwarder has good reviews and recommendations. Word of mouth is way effective than other forms of advertisement. If people say good things about a certain product or service, we feel confident about trying it on our own. Same goes to freight forwarders — if you do not hear good testimonials about the service, then that’s a clear sign.
Freight forwarding is not just a growing business but a complicated one. You will definitely need the help of an expert, experienced and highly skilled operators, and these tips will surely help you find the freight forwarders that will address all your freight forwarding needs.