It is all over the news that shipping is facing challenges right now. Whether your shipment is a domestic or international one, searching for a freight forwarder can be a daunting task. When considering to ship your valuable products or goods over long distances, you want to feel confident about choosing the right freight forwarder for you and/or your business’s needs.
Important Things to Consider in Choosing a Freight Forwarder
- Determine if they provide the service you need
This might sound obvious, but not all freight forwarders are alike. Some companies specialize in ocean as opposed to air or rail, for example, and your product may require one versus the other. Check the coverage of their freight forwarding services for everything from intermodal transport options all the way through to arrival clearance and export documentation.
- Get multiple quotes
Getting in touch with multiple freight forwarders to get quotes not only gives you an idea of price and logistics, but you can also get a sense for their customer service skills. You’ll likely be in regular contact with your freight forwarding company, so you should be sure their staff and business practices suit your style of doing business.
- Provide accurate information in your quote request
While obtaining quotes, get the sales associate on the phone or send them a detailed email that contains the critical information the forwarder will need. Be sure to send over the pick-up and delivery address, the terms, mode of transport, and any specialized items or dangerous goods. You may also want to include any future needs you’re looking to ship in the future. Giving them the right information will make sure that your quote is accurate and the forwarder can provide you with exactly the support you need.
- Look for a long history
Freight and cargo movement are as old as commerce itself, so do a bit of research to find a company with an established track record. The older the company, the more experience and relationships they’ll have in the industry, which means a better business experience for you. In general, a 15+ year track record in business is the way to go.
- Don’t base your decision solely on price
Freight forwarding is complicated, which is the reason you’re hiring the job out in the first place, right? So, once you’ve received the quotes from a few places, be wary of jumping at the cheapest option as necessarily the best. Read the fine print, evaluate the customer service, and think about their industry experience before deciding. You might luck out with a low bid company that gives you exactly what you need, but you may find that there’s fine print or a sloppy customer experience that gets sacrificed at the lower price.
- Make sure that they can provide all the necessary documents
Your freight forwarder must be able to deliver all the relevant shipping documents, or you should eliminate them as a candidate. Be sure the company can provide certificates of origin, customs and port documentation, as well as shipping and negotiating documentation. Check that they can issue approved house bills of lading as well. Don’t worry if you don’t know what everything on that list means (that’s the freight forwarder’s job!) but do confirm that they can be provided to you.
As you can see, choosing a freight forwarder can be a challenge. From export documentation, sea freight charges, clearance processes, import duties and taxes, and handling fees, there’s a lot your handler needs to be responsible for. If you’re looking for a responsible, established freight forwarder, NEDRAC would be happy to assist you and/or business. You can contact us by calling (800) 366-1204 or by clicking here, and we’d be happy to assist you.