Tips For Hiring A Freight Forwarding Company

Tips For Hiring A Freight Forwarding Company

Freight forwarding is an almost $200 billion market that moves cargo from different corners of the world to its respective destinations. With a 34.9% global market share, Asia Pacific recently became the biggest market for freight forwarding across the world. Previously, Europe was the leader in this segment, but with dynamics shifting and markets evolving, Asian countries are emerging as leaders in trade worldwide. 

As a business with extensive freight forwarding requirements, you are evidently part of this competitive market. And since this is a service, it comes with all the same caveats as any other industry, most importantly, the consequences that can emerge from making the wrong choice of a service provider. From unexpected delays to lost shipments, from inadequate customs clearance to under-par customer support, there are a lot of hassles you may have to deal with. 

The only solution, like with any other service provider, is to thoroughly vet and carefully choose the freight forwarder you want to work with. There are hundreds of companies out there that have the credibility, resources, experience, and reliability to effectively ensure the transport of your precious cargo. These are the service providers worth taking a bet on. So, how does one find these companies in the crowd out there? Here are a few tips that can help:

When vetting a professional and trustworthy freight forwarder, the first thing to look for is the magnitude of their operations. A relatively new or smaller company may not have the connections and resources to get your cargo across in the most effective manner. Particularly with companies that ship goods in large volumes, a small or even medium-sized company won’t cut it.

There are numerous reasons for this. Firstly, a larger company has ships sailing worldwide throughout the year. Your goods can therefore be delivered to any place on the planet without any hassles. Secondly, the bigger the company’s size, the more connections they have with various representatives like clearing agents and the lot. If your goods ever get caught up in customs, these companies are better suited to get them out. Lastly, the size of the company also tells about its ability to easily manage orders with substantial quantities. 

  • Experience in the field of freight forwarding

For some, this may be the first thing they would want to look for in a freight forwarding company. Either way, it is essential to look into the history of a company. When it was founded, who founded it, what is the current management like, and how often does the senior leadership change? These parameters shed light on the stability of operations in the company while also underlining their professionalism and ability to be trusted.

It is preferable to pick a freight forwarder with at least ten years of experience. Having spent a decade in the segment gives them a relevant reputation and the connection needed to effectively transport cargo worldwide. Ten or more years of experience adequately show that a company has been in business long enough to understand the nitty-gritty of the trade and handle individual customer requirements efficiently. 

  • Shipping for different product categories

Every product is different, especially in how they need to be shipped. Countries have varying laws and regulations governing certain items entering their borders. For instance, shipping vehicles may fall in a different customs bracket than exporting or importing vegetables and so on.

On top of that, various items require more care than others, while some products, such as machinery, may be dismantled before shipping. All of these steps fall under the domain of your freight forwarder, which is why you need to extensively research their experience with shipping the goods you manufacture or sell.

It is imperative to find out as much as possible about the professionalism with which your category of goods is moved and how well they are looked after during the process. Moreover, you will also discover whether the freight forwarding company is aware of relevant international taxes, customs clearance requirements, national regulations, documentation, and any other issues that may arise. 

  • Diversity of business portfolio

The next parameter to assess a freight forwarding company is the extent of services they provide. The existence of local offices, particularly in the countries where you operate, or at least the presence of an agent in each territory, is something that makes a lot of difference. They also need to take care of customs clearance, essential paperwork, and transportation to and from the warehouse for you. In fact, they need to be an end-to-end solution because enlisting these different services from numerous companies instead of one can cost a fortune. They also need to be extremely effective with communication because, at the end of the day, that can make all the difference between successful and unsuccessful negotiations. 

  • Insures your shipment

The professionalism of a freight forwarder is depicted by their willingness to go above and beyond in securing your cargo. Among other things, this means insuring the shipment to cover for any potential accidents or mishaps during the shipping process. Most companies still have a fundamental default insurance policy that offers the absolute bare minimum and nowhere near enough to cover your damages in the event of an untoward incident.

Therefore, you need your freight forwarder to offer you more comprehensive coverage options because they safeguard you from potential monumental losses. 

  • Offers dedicated consulting agent

One of the ways by which you know that a freight forwarding company will be the right one for you is through the level of involvement they show. A professional and experienced firm will not only handle your business, but sit down to discuss with you how it can be made more efficient. Since transportation is their forte, the freight forwarder will have dedicated agents to work with you in streamlining operations and suggesting the best possible approaches in every scenario. This level of commitment needs to be your ultimate selling point. 

Conclusion

Freight forwarding is the process that ensures products reach consumers around the world from the places of their manufacture without any hassle. From essential to luxury commodities, freight companies move almost everything. However, it is imperative for businesses to assess the credibility, professionalism, and scale of operations for a firm before contracting them to move goods from one place to another. Proper research is essential because trusting the wrong company can translate into substantial losses for your business.