The Small Business Times

What Does a Freight Forwarder Do?

If you want to ship your goods via ocean freight, road transport, rail freight, or air freight, then you may want to consider seeking help from a freight forwarder. But what does a freight forwarder do? They act as an intermediary between you or your company and the final destination. While freight forwarders do not carry out the shipments themselves, they offer various transportation modes. 

Generally, freight forwarders use their trustworthy and reliable contacts with carriers and partners from air, ocean, trucking companies, or transoceanic lines to negotiate the best prices and the most economical route by working out different bids. They will then choose the best method depending on the timeline, cost, and reliability. 

Why Do I Need to Hire a Freight Forwarder?

If you are looking for a business-to-business shipping method, you must know how intimidating the paperwork, process, and regulations regarding international trade can be. When you are applying for the services of a freight forwarder, you won’t get caught up in the logistic process. 

Typically, a freight forwarder handles a full range of services, including:

  • Tracking inland transportation
  • Prepping the shipping and export documents
  • Warehousing
  • Booking cargo space
  • Negotiating freight costs and charges
  • Freight consolidation
  • Ensuring the best cargo insurance
  • Filling of insurance claims if needed

In addition, it is common for freight forwarders to ship goods under their bills of lading or air waybills. They may provide the necessary documents such as delivery, deconsolidation, or freight collection services.

According to trade.gov, most exporters seek help from a freight forwarder to act as their shipping agent. They will advise and assist their clients in efficiently moving their goods from one destination to another. 

Hiring a freight forwarder to handle importing and exporting your goods is not mandatory, but it would be best to consider this option. Importing and exporting involve a lot of documentation and regulations, so most importers and exporters choose to hire a commercial freight forwarder as their logistics partner.

The Advantages of Using a Freight Forwarder

By using a freight forwarder, you won’t have to deal with the documentation, the shipping companies, or the customs laws of different countries. That means you will save a lot of time and potential headaches if you get help from a reliable freight forwarder. 

There are many advantages of using the services of a freight forwarder, including:

  • A freight forwarder is an asset to any company dealing in the international transportation of merchandise
  • Handling ancillary services (insurance, customs documentation)
  • Provide to the individual shipper or consider non-vessel operating common carrier documentation
  • Provides bills of lading and warehousing
  • Offers risk assessment and management
  • Offers methods for international payments
  • Offer advice for proper packaging, labeling, and loading of merchandise
  • Ensures great customer service
  • Tailors solutions for each project
  • Supplies chain optimization advice on the best means of transport depending on origin, destination, seasonality, danger, nature of merchandise, and the urgency of the merchandise (air, sea, road, or rail).

Whether your firm is small or large, or the weight of the cargo is light or heavy, a freight forwarder will ensure that the shipment will be transported from dock to door, if needed.

This will include filing the correct export documentation, packing, crafting, and storage services. Additionally, freight forwarders usually charge affordable and modest rates compared to their services. They may also have access to shipping discounts. 

Final Words

If you are running a business that involves importing or exporting freight, it would be best to consider working with a freight forwarder. They provide expertise and knowledge of all compliance, regulatory, and logistical requirements related to international shipments. 

Hiring a freight forwarder can save money so you can focus on your core business. Through the services of a freight forwarder, you can access any freight capacity you need. In addition, when you are importing or exporting goods, it is imperative to have the most up-to-date information, including duties, taxes, or customs regulations. 

Whether you decide to act on your own or to hire a freight forwarder, before making your decision, consider how important a freight forwarder is in the chain of international trade. There will be no other substitute for experience when it comes to a freight forwarder.

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