10 Tips for Choosing the Right Freight Forwarder for Your Company
The dynamics and complexities of today’ global business environment makes an efficient logistics system an imperative. It is an absolute necessity if a business must succeed in the fast changing and highly demanding global market. With the high level of competition faced today, building an efficient and up to date supply system can be the difference between business success and failure.
This is where freight forwarding companies come in. Making an efficient and highly professional freight forwarding company a part of your company’s logistics structure can be what you need to achieve a highly effective and sustainable logistics set up. It can also serve as a differential when prospective customers are considering hiring your services.
Below are 10 very important tips to bear in mind when choosing a freight forwarding company for your business.
1) Be sure you understand your requirements – The first thing is to be certain of your specific needs before you even begin to look for a forwarder. Decide on what mode of transportation and the specific services you will need and also the volume you plan to ship. All these should be done before contacting a forwarder. They are all of utmost importance and should greatly influence how you proceed.
2) Research their industry and previous experiences – Ascertain what your forwarder can and cannot do for you. Be sure of your responsibilities as well as their obligations to your business. Read blogs, industry terms, regulations, international treaties and other information required for your shipments.
3) Do they have the capacity to handle multiple types of shipments? You may only need to export to China using sea freight, but what if you needed to import from the UK using air freight, or export to Malaysia using Breakbulk service for oil drilling equipment? Do they have the experience, technical know-how, resources and partners globally to handle your shipments?
4) Do they have the expertise you need? There exist different channels of transporting commodities (e.g. cars, office equipment, food items, garments, raw materials for production, perishables, hazardous, etc), regulations (OFAC, BIS, ITAR) and origin/destinations. All freight forwarders lack the capacity to handle all these combinations. For this reason, it is pertinent to inquire from a potential forwarder the experience they have in relation to your type of shipment. Usually, they should give examples of similar shipments they have handled for someone else.
5) Do they belong to any relevant trade association or network of freight forwarders? Being a member of freight forwarders associations such as FIATA requires financial credibility, efficiency in operations, integrity and many other criteria. If a freight forwarder belongs to a notable association, the chances of them handling your shipment with high level of professionalism and diligence is higher than if they are a non member. The fact that few of these trade associations thoroughly vet freight forwarders before admitting them into their fold is a pointer that members have proven track record of high quality services.
6) How will they manage your operations/shipment? This focuses on who will be your contact person for submitting documents, coordinating shipment activities, getting updates, and lodging complains when necessary. This may involve just a person who is dedicated to handling your shipment activities from start to finish, or a team, each member with clear responsibilities.
7) Inquire if they have professional custom clearing agents in your destination country – This is very vital for any DDU, DAP, DDP shipments and also if your client overseas has any unexpected problem such as a port strike, customs issue or other delays. Their destination agents can help with solutions to many of these issues. Also this will save you the time and money cost of dealing with so many people in the shipping value chain.
8) Make a checklist of requirements – This will include everything starting with your time frame on when you prefer to commence, what you intend to achieve such as delivery speed, items to be shipped, specific requirements for packaging, volume, terms of sale, , etc.
10) Does the freight forwarder have cargo insurance – This is important as they should be able to issue insurance policies for your shipments in case of theft, damage, or loss.
So there you have it. These are critical points that should be taken into serious consideration before employing the services of a freight forwarder. Choosing one for your logistics needs is important, but choosing the right one is even of greater importance. It is one of those business decisions you can’t afford to get wrong.
Here at IQ Express LTD, we tick all the boxes, and guarantee superior quality services and the ultimate Logistics experience. Weather you wish to export to Nigeria and Africa from the US, UK, or Asia, or you wish to import into the UK, US, or Asia from Africa, IQ Express is your go to partner. Over the years, with our sophisticated logistics structure, global reach, and expertise, we have been the primary Logistics solutions provider for some of the biggest companies in the world. Speed, cost effectiveness, and quality customer relationship are at the core of our operations. Our long list of satisfied customers is and will continue to be our biggest success story. We made a pledge to them to be a reliable partner in their drive to business success, and we remain committed as ever to continue to fulfill this promise.
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In our next article, we will look at some freight forwarding terms and their meanings. Till then, enjoy life and stay safe.