The export and import industry relies on the freight forwarders or better-called freight forwarding companies for their existence. These companies arrange the import and export of goods and act as an intermediary between the shipper, you, and transportation services, such as shipping vessels. This may not seem like a task that you need an additional professional company to handle at first. However, international shipping is very complicated. From laws and regulations to different states regarding duty and customs, passing their waterways, to the bureaucratic hurdles of the process, top freight forwarding companies streamline a complicated process for their clients. You would not have to worry about how your merchandise will reach its destination on time. These companies will manage that and you can spend your time doing what you are actually good at, which is to run a business.
What do Freight Forwarders actually do?
You have now understood that freight forwarders are the middle man who manages your cargo from the dispatch to the destination. But, international trade is not as simple. Let’s go over the services freight forwarders provide:
- They arrange the storage and shipping of the consignments for the shippers
- They book the warehouses and cargo space as well as ensure the cargo for any calamity
- They provide services such as preparing the shipping and export documentation, preparing the cargo bill, the freight charges, handling the insurance claims
- They have agents who forward the consignments at the destination by managing delivery documentation, collecting the freight, and so on
- They have contact with the agents and government officials from the dispatch to the destination to ensure a smooth and speedy process
- They navigate the legislative hurdles that come with new developments in any region or state and stay updated about how to handle it so you would be bothered the least
- They offer professional advice to you about what sort of shipping is best for you depending on the scale of your business: for a small scale business the requirements and recommendations, as well as cost, will be much different than a larger one
- They guide you about the banking processes and the transfer of money across different states and regions effectively and with minimum costs
- They handle organizations as well as individual shippers
They handle business models of all kind: shipping from business to clients under the B2C model or business to business under the B2B model
- Freight forwarders do not handle cargo by ships only, as is the popular misconception. Rather, they handle various transportation services such as ocean shipping, trucking, railway cargo delivery, and even air freight!
- They have established relationships with carriers in all these different forms of transport services and negotiate with them to find the best possible price to move your goods. They handle the various bids and choose the one which ensures the most reliability, speed, and cost for your business.
Do you need to hire a freight forwarder?
There are a lot of mandatory requirements for international trade. Hiring a freight forwarder is not one of them. You are free to handle your shipping and everything associated with it yourself. However, considering the long list of services that the company provides and the logistics that you absolutely cannot avoid, it is a formidable task for you to get done effectively on your own. It will serve you well, in the long run, to spend one or rather invest in a freight forwarder to manage the shipments of your cargo and all the logistics that come with it.