What is a freight forwarder?
What Is Freight Forwarding?
A freight forwarder moves items through the supply chain on behalf of importers and exporters. To move items from manufacturers to the final market or customer, they hire shipping companies.
Long or complicated routes across land and sea may be involved in the shipment of products. A variety of services are provided by freight forwarding businesses to assist importers and exporters in securely and effectively moving their goods across international borders.
Freight forwarders help importers and exporters transport their goods in a safe, efficient and cost effective way. As well as moving cargoes Freight forwarders can organise customs clearance, and other forms of documentation required in international trade as well as marine insurance and supply chain management. A freight forwarder has specialist knowledge to prepare the types of documents required for moving goods via sea, road, rail or air as each mode of transport requires its own document of carriage:
- Air way bill (air freight)
- Bill of lading (sea freight)
- CMR consignment note (road freight)
When Should I Use a Freight Forwarder?
In general, using a reputable freight forwarder would be beneficial for anyone interested in international shipping. Due to the expertise and adaptability freight forwarders can provide to their supply chain network, even the biggest Beneficial Cargo Owners (BCOs), like Tesco and Marks & Spencer use them for a portion of their operations.
In many ways, a freight forwarder can grow to be a part of your company. They can serve as your outsourced shipping department, giving helpful insight and counsel to the import and export processes while also helping you save time and money.
Freight forwarders can provide you with the best routes, transportation mode and carrier for your specific requirements. Using forwarders can also cut your transport costs as they consolidate so many consignments that their rates and prices are extremely competitive.
Sometimes in our industry things can go wrong. Cargo can be handled many times on its journey to destination. People make mistakes or mechanics can fail. Every time the shipment moves on a new leg of the journey there is a risk, not to mention problems with weather, storms at sea and more.
Freight insurance is primarily used to make sure cargoes of all types / sizes are fully insured, especially oversized and heavy cargoes which require more unusual risks whilst transporting when compared to shipping container transportation. This can offer assurance that cargo is safely insured against partial or complete damage and loss.
Preparing and packing goods for transportation is highly important. Many freight forwarders can offer export packing services to ensure your cargoes can be shipped in a safe, damage free and cost effective manner.
Damage to cargo is common in the freight transportation industry and if this occurs due to inadequate cargo packaging, the consequences can be severe. The exporter could lose the sale, the goods may be lost or returned damaged, and the customer may look for a supplier elsewhere. This is not to mention the potential headache associated with a protracted or complicated cargo insurance claim.
Imports and exports can be difficult for those without prior shipping knowledge. Customs clearance, import duty / duty rates and entry processes differ from country to country and tariff classifications, value declaration, customs and duty management can also cause confusion. Using customs brokerage experts can help to produce compliant shipping documentation, moving import and export shipments through customs efficiently and minimising delays to your cargo.