Did you know that last year the United States imported more than $2.3 trillion worth of goods? The reality is that we rely on both international and domestic shipping to get the resources and products we need.
If your business requires shipping, then a good freight forwarder is essential for navigating the confusing waters of international shipping. Unfortunately, finding a good freight forwarder isn’t always easy.
So, how do you find one that you can trust? Simple: by reading this article! In this guide, we’ll go over everything you need about finding the perfect freight forwarder.
What Is a Freight Forwarder Company?
Before we learn about how to find the right freight forwarder company it’s important that we first go over exactly what these types of companies do. When many people think of freight forwarders, they think of shipping companies.
However, the reality is that there are important differences between the two. A freight forwarder doesn’t ship your products and goods. They don’t own any planes, ships, or trucks.
Rather, they organize the shipping process and make sure that your goods get to the agreed location. To do this properly, freight forwarders operate within a network of carriers.
When they receive your order they find the carrier that best suits your needs. Because most freight forwarders have dozens of carriers, they can typically get you much better rates on your shipping.
How Do Find the Best Freight Forwarder Company For International Shipping?
Now that we have the definitions out of the way we can learn more about how to find the best freight forwarder for your needs. In this section, we’ll be going over five things that you should consider before making the final decision on an international shipping organizer. That way, you know for sure that your transported goods are in trustworthy hands.
1. Pay Attention to Experience
The number of years that a freight forwarder has been in business can tell you a lot about how they operate. An older company is a good sign that they’ve been in the industry long enough to know all of the ins and outs.
However, don’t simply pay attention to how old the company is. You should also confirm their expertise through other methods. For example, certain goods, like hazardous goods, require special customs and documents to get through different countries.
If you plan on shipping these types of goods, then you should make sure that the freight forwarder has experience with them. You can confirm their experience by calling the company and questioning them.
Or, you can ask for references from past clients. This will give you a good sense of the type of expertise the freight forwarder has.
2. Check For the Proper Permits, Licenses, and Certification
Freight forwarders must have certain types of permits and documents to properly handle cargo. This lets you know that the company has provided specialized training for their employees.
Additionally, you should also make sure that the company can handle toxic materials if you plan on transporting them. These types of transports require specialized licenses.
3. Do They Have the Services You Need?
Think about the type of services you require before you go with a freight forwarder. Do you prefer sea freight? Or does your business require a more quick method of air freight forwarding?
Some types of freight forwarders only work out of certain countries. So, if you require a truly global operation, then you will want to make sure that they provide that. Ultimately, you will need to decide whether to go with a company that covers everything, or one that specializes in a certain area.
There are pros and cons to both of these methods. A jack of all trades can do almost everything you need in terms of shipping, but they might have some blindspots.
A specialized freight forwarder is more limited in its services. However, the service they do provide is exceptional. Ultimately, the final decision comes down to your specific business needs.
4. Look For Well Connected Companies
Connection is important in the freight forwarding business. A company needs to have a variety of international agents in all the countries they operate out of. This will allow them to direct goods to these countries without any problems or hold-ups.
The more well-connected a company is, the more global reach they have for shipping. At the very least, you should make sure that the freight forwarder is established in the countries you plan to do the most shipping to.
If you plan on growing your businesses, then you should also make sure that your freight forwarder can grow and keep up with demand alongside you.
5. Confirm the Status of Their Customer Service
More likely than not you will be dealing with the freight forwarder’s customer service regularly. As such, you want to make sure that they treat you with respect and answer any inquiries promptly.
The customer service for a freight forwarder should be able to provide you with details on the state of your shipment. It’s important to avoid companies that deal in vague generalities in this department.
Ideally, they’ll also offer features like online tracking, personal calls, and notifications. This is a good sign that they care about keeping their customers fully in the know.
Want More Content? Keep Reading
We hope this article helped you find the best freight forwarder for your business’s international shipping needs. As you can see, there’s a lot of consideration required before you choose a forwarder.
And this is for good reason. You’re putting valuable products or resources in the hands of this shipper. As such, you should be 100% sure that you can trust them. Did you enjoy this article? If the answer is yes, then you’re in the right place. Keep exploring to find more topics that you’re sure to love!