Freight forwarders provide a great service to businesses, as they are the middle-men that transfer products internationally. It can be difficult to find and choose a freight forwarder and pick the right one for you because there are many freight forwarders to choose from, which makes it a highly competitive industry.
As long as a freight forwarder is able to take care of your business needs, then they are a good fit. You will have to perform research on the freight forwarders you are considering and also communicate with them to learn more about their business practices.
1. Clear Requirements
Make it clear to the freight forwarder what your shipping requirements are. You probably will require a high level of documentation and tracking, or perhaps there are specific certifications you expect the freight forwarder to meet. Whatever the case is, you should try to make sure that the freight forwarder can provide the volume of shipments you need.
You may also want them to provide the modes of transportation required, which can be air freight, ocean freight, or both. Learn about the industry terms of the freight forwarder, as well as their terms and conditions.
2. Learn Their Experience Level
The freight forwarder should have the experience necessary to execute your deliveries. They need to have industry knowledge regarding the countries you are importing and exporting goods to and from. For example, they should know the regulations and rules of these countries and how to deal with their customs investigations.
Make sure that they are credentialed. If you expect additional complications with your shipments, make sure the freight forwarder is familiar with these kinds of issues and has solutions for when these problems arise.
3. Are They Bonded?
The freight forwarder should have a freight broker bond so that they have the authority to operate their business. You don’t want to work with a freight forwarder that isn’t financially stable. This is because if they somehow are unable to fulfill expectations and have unstable business operations, this can result in delays for your shipments.
You don’t want an undependable freight forwarder, and bonds can only be provided when their financial status is evaluated. Bonds also guarantee that you are compensated if the freight forwarder somehow falls below standards.
4. Learn If They Are Well-Connected
Try to work with a freight forwarder that is well-connected across a network of other freight forwarders and third-party transportation companies. This is because you want a freight forwarder that can lean on the support of other partners when they are exporting overseas. This gives them multiple avenues for deliveries, creates safer operations, and also allows them greater flexibility when creating solutions.
When freight forwarders are not well-connected, they might not be able to deliver according to your business’s unique needs. There may be delays if they can’t find a workaround through their network. The freight forwarder should also be a part of a professional organization.
The most reputable freight forwarder is in a professional network, where the membership requires a high level of legitimacy, efficiency, financial stability, and professionalism. You should ask the freight forwarder you plan to work with whether they are in membership or organization.
5. Check Their Customer Service
You can also test the customer service of the freight forwarding company you plan on working with. If they communicate well with you, then you will know that they can provide quality service. This is important when you need to check on your shipments, figure out solutions for common shipment problems, and also share documentation regarding tracking shipments.
You don’t want to work with a freight forwarder that is disorganized or unresponsive. This can create chaos for your business operations if you are unable to find out what happened to a shipment that was sent to the wrong location because the customer service is poor. You can also ask that they provide additional services, such as document services and shipping logistics.
Also, make sure that they offer 3PL services, which can include the following:
- Negotiating sea, air, and road freight rates
- Appropriate shipment routes
- Packing and loading
- Freight insurance
- Export and import quotes
- Paying on your behalf
It is always a good idea to work with a transparent freight forwarder that is communicative and supportive of your business needs. You will want a freight forwarder that will answer all your questions, explain all their procedures, review their company protocols, and negotiate price points with you.
This will help you focus on organization and deadlines to keep up with supply and demand, while your freight forwarder focuses on getting shipments safely to their correct destination.
To find out more information on how to choose a freight forwarder, you can visit https://dedola.com/ for more information.