13 Things You Need to Know About Freight Forwarding

by Rakuten Super Logistics | Freight

This is a guest post written by International Logistics Centre.

Global freight forwarding is a widely used method of international transport for both business and personal use. Global freight forwarding companies, like International Logistics Centre and Rakuten Super Logistics, coordinate the shipment of goods from one destination to another using a range of carriers, including air freight, ocean freight, road fright and, in some cases, railway freight.

The process of global freight forwarding might seem daunting, especially if you’re not familiar with the process of freight shipping. Here are thirteen facts you need to know about using a freight forwarder:

1. What is a freight forwarder? 

A freight forwarder is responsible for the transportation of goods between two or more destinations. Freight forwarding companies specialise in arranging the whole process for their shippers, from storage to shipping of their merchandise. They act as an intermediary between the merchant and transportation services, liaising with various carriers to negotiate price and decide on the most economical, reliable and fastest route.

2. Using a freight forwarder is a hassle-free way to import and export goods 

As experts in the import and export business, using a freight forwarder can make the entire process significantly less stressful. Reputable freight forwarders can assist on all levels, from the packing and warehouse stages to the customs procedure, taking pressure off you.

3. Freight forwarders provide a range of services 

Using a freight forwarder can help you with the supply chain process on multiple levels including:

  • Customs clearance
  • International export & import documentation
  • Insurance
  • Packing
  • Storage
  • Inventory management

4. Freight forwarders are a business advantage

Using a freight forwarding company to transport your goods, gives your business a fiscal advantage. Using their knowledge and expertise, freight forwarders ensure that your goods will arrive at the correct destination on time and save you money in the process.

5. Forwarders are not responsible for shipping delays

Global freight forwarding companies are not responsible for delays in shipping. These delays often occur due to bad weather, breakdown, port delays or unforeseen route changes. Shipping delays are frustrating, but it is important to remember, these delays are out of your freight forwarding companies’ hands. They are trying to resolve it as quickly as possible.

6. It’s important to maintain a good relationship with your freight forwarder

Your freight forwarder is in charge of your precious cargo. It’s vital that you establish a good working relationship with them. If you’re set on using a freight forwarder, you’ll want to ensure that you choose a company that is trust-worthy and reliable, as well as one with impeccable customer service.

7. You need to make sure your paperwork is up to date!

Before leaving your goods in the hands of your freight forwarder, you need to ensure that all transportation paperwork is completed accurately. Your freight company can assist with this. It’s incredibly important that the paperwork is accurate, this will reduce the risk of your items not being released from customs or the bank refusing to release your funds – neither of which would be beneficial to your business.

8. Shipping restrictions apply to certain products

Global freight forwarding companies adhere to strict regulations and will not carry certain goods and substances, particularly by air or sea freight. Although the list of prohibited items varies from country to country, freight forwarders are generally restricted on:

  • Dangerous goods (including flammable liquid and toxic items)
  • Drugs (prescription and recreational)
  • Alcohol
  • Batteries
  • Perishable items (except for those on special express delivery)
  • Sharp objects

9. Ask your freight forwarding provider about extra services

Many global freight forwarding companies offer extra services for your shipment, so it’s always worth asking them when receiving a quote. These extra services include warehouse storage, cargo insurance, cargo tracking and dangerous goods handling. Even if you don’t require them, it’s always worth bearing these additional services in mind for future reference when using a freight forwarder.

10. There are six key stages of freight forwarding

The global freight forwarding process can be broken up into six key stages, including:

  • Export haulage: the transfer of goods from its original source to the freight forwarders’ warehouse.
  • Export customs clearance: the goods receive clearance to leave its country of origin.
  • Origin handling: the unloading, inspection and validation of the cargo against its booking documents.
  • Import customs clearance: the customs paperwork for your cargo will be checked by the authorities.
  • Destination handling: the handling of cargo once it reaches the destination office, including transfer to the import warehouse.
  • Import haulage: the transfer of cargo from the import warehouse to its final destination.

11. Your freight forwarder should provide you with a range of documents

With freight forwarding comes a lot of paperwork, especially when shipping overseas. Your freight forwarder should provide you with all the relevant documents, including:

  • Commercial invoice
  • Bill of Lading contract
  • Certificate of origin statement
  • Inspection certificate
  • Export license
  • Export packing list
  • Shippers export declaration document

It’s essential that all of these documents are provided in order to ensure that your goods reach your customer without any issues arising.

12. The strength of a freight forwarders’ network is vital

Well-established freight forwarders will have an incredibly strong network of contacts and experience in the business. A large and reliable shipping network will help you get the best shipping rates and quickest delivery. Experienced freight forwarders will have encountered a multitude of problems along the way, so they’ll be able to quickly and efficiently deal with any issues which may arise as your goods are transported.

13. Does your freight forwarder specialise in a particular cargo type? 

Some freight forwarders focus on a specific type of cargo, whereas some other companies accept a variety of goods. Using a freight forwarder who specializes in what you’re looking to ship is beneficial. Not only will they have a team of specialists in place, but they will also have vast experience in dealing with cargo similar to yours.

Doing your research before choosing a logistics company will ensure that your goods get to their final destination in a timely, cost-effective manner.

About the Author 

The international Logistics Centre is a family-run freight forwarding business in the UK. They are passionate about providing their customers with a first-rate service from start to finish. From their skilled drivers to their experienced office staff – the International Logistics Centre will provide you with the best service, no matter what you require.