If you’re wondering how to choose a freight forwarder that fits your needs, you’ve come to the right place!
When it comes to transporting your goods across the country or overseas, choosing the right freight forwarder can either make or break your shipment plans. From competitive pricing to in-depth knowledge and expertise, a quality forwarder understands the ins and outs of global shipping logistics to help you run a smooth, stress-free business.
In this article, we uncover the role of a quality freight forwarding company, essential criteria to consider when selecting a forwarder for your business, and why ForwarderOne may be right for you.
What is a freight forwarder?
A freight forwarder is a company acting on behalf of importers to organize the shipment of goods from one destination to the next.
Generally used for international freight transport, their role is to offer individuals and businesses a safe, efficient, transparent, and cost-effective solution to global import and export.
Freight forwarders partner with other contractors (i.e. ships, airlines, railways, lorries, etc.) to streamline large and small-scale freight shipments. Air freight forwarders specialize in air transportation while NVOCC (non-vessel operating common carrier, sometimes abbreviated as NV) specialize in marine transportation.
What is the forwarder’s job?
A forwarder’s job is to facilitate and manage the shipment of goods on your behalf. While they do not physically transport your freight, they act as the middle-man between the supplier, carriers, and other third-party logistic providers.
Sea and air freight forwarding companies are responsible for:
- Packing and loading the cargo onto trucks
- Facilitating domestic and international freight delivery
- Documenting confirmation and form application
- Managing exporting and importing customs clearance
- Loading the cargo (port/airport)
- Facilitating overseas and/or air transportation logistics
- Cargo pick-up and front-door delivery
Forwarders offer peace of mind transportation
When it comes to the transportation of goods, quality freight forwarding companies offer complete peace of mind. Solving numerous problems behind the scenes – whether that be vessel delays, documentation errors, or equipment problems at the port, it is the role of a forwarder to avoid and adjust to these scenarios swiftly as possible to successfully deliver cargo to a customer on schedule.
What qualifies a good forwarder?
A quality freight forwarding company is one that understands the needs of the shipper. Having the flexibility to adapt to specific requirements, expertise to minimize and overcome obstacles, and overall efficiency to cut down costs and save you time is key!
Other important features that qualify a good forwarder:
- Can provide optimal proposals tailored to shippers’ needs
- Ability to obtain and secure space to ship cargo
- Low transportation costs (compared to competitors)
- Ability to properly communicate shipment logistics and risks
- Capable of quick problem-solving when unusual circumstances arise
- Guarantees little-to-no interruption during transport (i.e. no stoppage at customs clearance)
- Makes correct documentation in accordance with current laws and regulations
How to choose the right freight forwarder
By now, you are able to understand the necessity for freight forwarding services, but the question is, how do you know which company to choose?
Here are some of the most important points to consider when choosing a freight forwarder for your business.
Secure vessel and airplane space
Adequate cargo space is a requirement when shipping your goods across the world – especially for companies who plan to export large packages or containers overseas. Since transport space in ocean freight vessels and airplanes is limited (especially prior to holidays), a good freight forwarder should help you troubleshoot this issue and help you secure space during all seasons.
Offer a competitive price
Once you’ve determined that your goods can be transported safely and on time, the next thing to consider is the cost of these services. Keeping in mind that the product unit price will increase if the fees for logistics are too high, finding a forwarder with competitive prices can help you stay on budget for long-term business success.
How to get a competitive freight forwarding rate
A competitive freight forwarding price depends on two things:
- the volume of cargo, and
- the efficiency at which they operate
If they are dealing with high volume, the shipping line will provide them with a special rate. If the forwarding company can operate efficiently, they are more willing to offer a more affordable price.
In the case that the freight forwarder offers their customer a cheaper price to obtain additional work, the quality of their service may decrease. So, it is important to maintain the balance.
Provide multiple carrier options
A freight forwarder does not typically own their own vessels or airplanes. Instead, they work closely with different carriers to facilitate all shipping logistics. As a result, freight forwarders are able to provide a range of prices, schedules, and resources to their customers.
Generally speaking, most shippers benefit more in working with a forwarder who can provide multiple carrier options, as opposed to a select few.
Smooth customs clearance
Customs clearance can be a major hurdle for international transport. Since shippers require a permit or other documentation to move freight across international borders, it’s essential for freight forwarders to communicate this information in advance.
In addition, an effective freight forwarder will be able to ship cargo smoothly from one country to the next, without interruption through customs. Oftentimes, these companies will hire a customs specialist who is experienced in dealing with international import and export more efficiently.
Strong communication with international agents or branches
Most large freight forwarding companies have numerous branches overseas within the shipment supply chain, each of which includes a network of agency contracts. For this reason, it’s essential to look into the communication and cooperation between exporting and importing branches of the freight forwarding company.
Without effective coordination between two countries, you risk experiencing delays which can affect the delivery timeline of your goods.
Excellent customer service skills
A freight forwarder is a service business and with that comes customer service representatives to provide knowledge, guidance, and support.
Working with freight forwarders who offer excellent customer service skills helps promote a positive business relationship that can last for years to come. For this reason, it’s important to choose a freight forwarder who has a team of polite, efficient, and helpful customer service representatives to help solve problems, offer reassurance, and to simplify your business.
High-level cooperation within a company
Roles and responsibilities differ from one company to the next – that is why it’s essential to maintain a high level of cooperation across all areas of the freight forwarder industry.
If strong employee relationships are not maintained across the team, the customers’ issues or concerns may not be appropriately answered in a timely manner. Also, if a sales representative leaves a company, there may be confusion as to who to contact for answers – this happens a lot in China.
Why you should choose ForwarderOne
Do you need a freight forwarding company you can trust? We’ve got you covered. At ForwarderOne, our forwarding services provide you with efficient transportation that can save you time and money along the way.
Here are three reasons why you should choose ForwarderOne for your shipping needs.
1. Reliable shipment tracking
When you’re moving your freight from one country to the next, having the convenience of reliable online shipment tracking can offer greater peace of mind during global transportation.
Using innovative technology to digitalize and integrate information into one easy-to-use online portal, users can set up live notifications, receive real-time tracking information, and so much more.
2. Versatile freight forwarding specializations
As mentioned earlier, having a range of options is key to facilitating a seamless delivery process. As a reliable freight forwarder for e-commerce, our founders have built successful business-to-consumer brands on Amazon FBA, eBay, Shopify, and Walmart – only to name a few!
ForwarderOne deals with freight forwarding and customs clearance. We specialize in the following:
- Transport across Asia and North America
- Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) services
- Safe transport of dangerous goods (DC)
- Import and export via air delivery
3. Saving you money on shipment costs
We all know that with any business, fees can add up quickly. At ForwarderOne, we offer our customers with a transparent quote breakdown to ensure you are in the know from beginning to end to avoid any confusion or uncertainty down the road.
Not only do we give you faster quotes than competitors, but our prices are on par too! Plus, we also offer cargo insurance at 1% of the product value to cover the costs of your product and shipping in the case of any lost or damaged cargo.
The Bottom Line
Choosing a freight forwarder should be simple! That’s why we have thoughtfully considered all aspects of a quality freight forwarder in this guide to save you the time of surfing through the internet.
Drop us a comment below or send us a message to learn more about ForwarderOne. We look forward to hearing from you!