Selecting the right freight service is extremely important when it comes to international forwarding and transportation.
It is like choosing the right supplier, vendor or accountant who will help you in making your business successful. Your freight partner should be suitable to handle your logistical needs and does their job correctly.
In today’s environment, supply chain optimization, cost efficiency, and timeliness play a huge role apart from a strong relationship with importers. This is why exporters have to be spot on while choosing freight forwarders to meet their international and domestic logistical needs.
Depending on the situation, expectations might change as for some corporations it is easy to bring the cargo from point A to B with a competitive rate while it can be a complex task to perform for others.
Forwarders may also provide additional value-added supply chain services if the need arises. Before choosing a freight, you must know that the size of your company does not determine the size of the freight since many large companies use the services of smaller freights.
Some of the following tips mentioned below will help you choose a suitable freight the next time you need to send cargo abroad.
1. Understand Internal Requirement
You should know what you need before you even start looking for a forwarder.
You should determine beforehand the mode of transport you will need along with the specific services and the volume of your cargo.
Knowing what you need from the freight forwarding process comes down to the specific services that your products require so that it can arrive at the desired location in perfect condition.
Additionally, you should be aware of the time it requires for your product to reach the location so that you may take appropriate measures if the shipment is delayed or meet an accident.
2. Research your Forwarder
You should be aware of the services that the freight forwarder provides before you choose him.
You should also familiarize yourself with the policies before you so that there is no issue later on. Read different blogs, rules, industry terms and international policies that you require for your shipment.
A freight forwarder should not only deal with air shipping and ocean shipping but should also handle the rail and trucking portion as well. If you do not require this service, then it would not be difficult to find forwarders who only deliver port to port services.
3. Can they handle multiple types of shipment
Although you may be using the ocean shipment method right now to import goods from Malaysia.
However, what if you needed to import from China using air freight or from Iran using the RORO or Breakbulk service for oil drilling equipment? You must make sure whether the forwarder has the technical expertise and the resources available to handle the shipment effectively and avoid damaging your goods.
Such things should be considered beforehand and you should find alternative options if they cannot meet your expectations.
4. Make sure that your forwarder has the relevant experience
Although it may be relatively easy to open a freight business but dealing with the international shipping industry is not an easy task.
There are many different methods of transporting goods and various commodities (automobiles, food, and beverages, machines, garments) and different regulations to deal with and not many forwarders are up to the task.
You should ask potential forwarders about their experience in the field and how they dealt with different issues that arose.
Having years of experience means that your forwarder has come across many situations and will help you avoid problems such as custom, warehousing, and other routine issues before they even start so that your international shipment will go smoothly.
Additionally, experienced forwarders have already built relationships worldwide which could be beneficial for you.
5. Are they a member of a trade organization or forwarding network?
Being a member of a well-known freight forwarding association requires financial muscle, operational efficiency, integrity, and many other requirements.
If the freight forwarder is a member of an organization beforehand it will significantly increase the chances of your goods being delivered on time and safely without you facing any issues since they would have already proved their worth before.
It is one of the risks involved with non-members because you are not aware of their reputation and performance standards until you have prior experience of dealing with them.
Being a member also shows their financial position since there are only a few quality freight forwarding networks that keep a close eye on their members to maintain their quality.
6. How will they manage your operations?
You should be aware of the hierarchy of the organization as you should know who will process your documents and who will coordinate the shipment and who you will approach when there is a problem.
Different teams of people will be delegated tasks in a large organization so the chain of command must be effective if you want your issues to be addressed on time.
You must also be aware of the communication process whether it will be via the telephone, email or any other method and will you get the option of tracking your shipment.
7. Whether they have a network of agents at the destination
Your freight forwarder should have strong connections particularly in the countries that you are sending your cargo. For example, if you are importing and exporting from Belgium, then it does not matter how good their connections are in Spain since it will be of no use to you.
If your customers overseas face any issue such as a strike, your destination agent can help you to solve out such issues.
8. Have a checklist of requirements
You should know everything from the time frame from when you begin, speed of delivery, special requirements and other necessities which you will require for your shipment to go according to the schedule.
It will help you to take appropriate measures in case there is a delay in the delivery of your goods to the customer.
9. Ask for cargo insurance
It is important to have insurance on the goods that you are shipping.
You should ask your forwarder to provide insurance since theft or any accident can not only upset your customer because of a delay but may cost you thousands of dollars in losses depending upon the product.
Insurances will protect you from incurring heavy losses and may compensate you if not in full but enough that you may not have to close off your business.