What Is A Freight Forwarder?

freight forwarder concept in a graphic

Importing and exporting are critical for many successful and lucrative businesses. International shipping can open up large markets for many businesses but it can be complicated and overwhelming for businesses trying to manage international shipping. This is where freight forwarding can help. Not sure what a ‘freight forwarder’ is? Do they manage to ship? Look after imports and exports? Manage distribution? They take responsibility for all of them. If you want to know more about what a freight forwarder is and what they do, then read on below.

What is a freight forwarder?

A freight forwarder managed the storage and shipping of products on behalf of companies. They provide a range of services for the management of freight, like tracking shipments, preparing export documentation, warehousing, booking space for cargo, negotiating costs related to cargo, consolidating cargo, managing insurance for cargo and filing insurance claims for cargo. A freight forwarder manages shipments under their bills of lading or airway bills, and their agents in other destinations will manage delivery documentation, deconsolidation and collection services. To put things simply, they manage importing and exporting goods. They basically act as intermediary services between shippers and transport services such as ships, trucks, rail and air freighters.

A freight forwarder will use established relationships with shipping services to negotiate the best price and reduce costs for companies, making it more economical to move shipments. They will assess different shipping options to find the best in terms of speed, cost, and reliability. Outsourcing to a freight forwarder is a great idea as it allows businesses to focus on their core business functions instead of handling time the consuming and complex logistics of shipping goods between international destinations. It can also help companies ensure that they comply with require export and shipping requirements because they are experts and will act as shipping agents to look after any export or import requirements between countries.

Why use one?

Whilst they are not a requirement to import or export, they can make the process much simpler due to their extensive knowledge of what documentation or regulations exist in other countries. Using one can make things much simpler and could save your business a lot of time and money. Many companies struggle with international logistics because there are so many different import and export regulations that differ from country to country.

No matter what the cargo is and what the requirements, a professional service will ensure that all the right documentation is filed, that arrangement is made with carriers, and that storage, package and crating is looked after. These services often charge very affordable fees for their services and have access to fantastic shipping discounts. The investment is well worth it and will quickly pay off because you will have much more time to focus on things other than logistics.

Where do you find services?

To find good services it’s a good idea to shop around. Start by speaking to other companies who manage international logistics or search online. It’s important to find a service that has a good reputation and satisfied customers. Speak to them about what services they offer and whether or not they have any current clients willing to recommend them. It’s also a good idea to compare fees and contact a few different services to find one that works for you. Additionally, it’s a good idea to search for a service that has experience with importing or exporting similar or the same goods, especially if you work within certain niches. Finding the right one will save you some serious headaches.