If you have been placed in charge of finding a freight forwarder for your company, you are probably wondering how to tell the good from the bad.
5 Tips for Finding and Choosing a Freight Forwarder
A freight forwarder handles the logistics of shipping. They coordinate the transportation of products. They ensure the goods get from the manufacturer to the wholesaler, warehouse, retailer, or customer.
You should select a freight forwarding company with a team of trained license professionals, a keen knowledge of all the paperwork that is required for each specific type of shipment, and a good relationship with various shipping companies around the world.
Before you begin, you should determine how often you will ship and the general volume of your shipments. It is also important to determine how many of your shipments will be domestic and how many will be International.
There are a few helpful tips for choosing a freight forwarding company.
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1. Familiarize Yourself with Shipping Terms
When you are selecting any service provider, you should be generally familiar with what it is they do.
If you learn a little bit about the requirements of their job and their lingo, you will be able to ask more detailed questions. They are also likely to take you seriously and give you the best deals that they have.
It is important to understand a bit about incoterms. Incoterms are rules set forth by the International Chamber of Commerce. They document who is responsible for the cost of insurance, shipping, and tariffs in an agreement between the shipper and receiver.
2. Ask About the Forwarders Experience
The first thing you should find out is whether or not a potential forwarder meets your basic needs. Make sure they are able to ship to the places that your products need to go. Ask if they are familiar with the tariffs in the countries to which you will be shipping.
Be sure to find out if the shipper has ever worked with your type of product. Ask what precautions they will take to avoid damage to the goods you will be shipping.
You should also ask them what they will do in the event of a strike or how they would reroute cargo should there be political unrest in the country to which you are shipping the product.
3. Make Sure They have all the Appropriate Licenses and Bonding
According to Dedola Global Logistics, both sole proprietors and corporations that are operating as Non-Vessel-Operating Common Carriers or ocean freight forwarders in the United States are required to have a license issued by the Federal Maritime Commission. You should ask your potential shipper if they are licensed and if that license is up to date.
A legitimate shipper should also have a freight brokers bond. This bond is issued after they have established financial fluidity.
4. Ask About Their Professional Connections
The freight forwarder that you choose should have relationships with shipping companies in every, city, state, and country that your product will travel through on its way to its final destination.
If you are using ocean freight, they should have a relationship with the trucking company that will take the product to the docks, an ocean shipper to get it to the country to which it is traveling, and another trucking company to get it to the warehouse.
5. Check References
Whenever you hire anybody to do any job, you should always ask for a few references.
Ask to speak to representatives from companies that are similar to yours in size and in terms of the kind of product that you sell. Ask their other clients if they had any issues with the forwarder and how those were resolved.
Your product deserves to be seen and experienced all over the world. A great forwarder can help your company realize its potential.
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