Global freight forwarders serve as all-around transport agents for moving export cargo, typically transporting it from a factory door to your customer’s warehouse or storage facility. Their service saves you lots of time, effort, and anxiety and is available for a very reasonable fee, usually under US$200 per transaction—an expense that you’ll include in your price quotation to your customer and recoup when you collect payment.
These are just some of the things a freight forwarder will do for you:
1. Handle all shipping arrangements on the basis of your specifications
2. Take legal responsibility for the shipment
3. Pay up-front costs to move the product
4. Arrange for a carrier to arrive at your factory door at a specified date and time
5. Book space with transportation carriers
6. Handle all documentation and see that it is properly processed
7. Arrange insurance, if requested
8. Present documents to your bank in a timely fashion to meet your payment terms
9. Suggest or make on-the-spot packing adjustments, if needed
10. Move the product from the factory door to the port of exit, either by common carrier or rail
11. Take responsibility for getting the cargo on the vessel in time to sail on schedule, thus enabling you to meet all the terms and conditions of your payment agreement
12. Monitor the shipment from beginning to end and keep you informed throughout
13. See to it that the shipment arrives safely at the foreign port of entry and proceeds from there, depending on the delivery terms that you quoted to your customer
If you were to undertake the transit of goods yourself, you would probably be overwhelmed by all these logistics, and you would certainly not achieve the savings that forwarders can, given the networks of service providers that they have in place and the volume and frequency of shipping that they do.
You can find freight forwarders by conducting a web search using the keywords “Freight forwarders, international transportation” or you can check for listings in trade magazines or other international directories.
You should find hundreds of them.
In some instances, they will be categorized by the geographic area they serve, the type of commodity in which they specialize, or the transport modes they offer, such as air or ocean—most forwarders offer both. Pick two or three that seem like a good fit for your product and shipping destination. Some may be located near your office or by an airport or port facility that you expect to use often.
These are just a few of the things a global freight forwarder can do for you to move your export cargo efficiently and economically. Can you think of more?