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When you are shipping large loads on a global scale, things can get complicated quickly. In logistics services, whether you are using transport services by sea and air, you need guidance. Many companies who ship internationally hire a freight forwarder to expedite their deliveries.

Here are ten things you should know before hiring an ocean or air freight forwarding company for air freight services.

1. Services

Freight forwarders are industry experts in supply chain management. The services they provide are vastly valuable. Here are some of the tasks that freight forwarders manage:

  • International import/export documentations
  • Customs
  • Packaging
  • Storage of goods
  • Insurance of loads
  • Management of the inventory

If you are looking for an international air freight forwarder that handles particular tasks like storage of goods or packaging, clarify what services your potential freight forwarder provides.

2. Stress-free

An experienced forwarder in both air and ocean freight services can help decrease your stress. If you have a shipment that is time-sensitive or have run into obstacles in the final mile of your supply line, the right freight forwarder can help.

It is part of the business of sea and air cargo to know the details of getting large shipments in and out of countries. These experts know what documentation your shipments need to have and when to present them.

3. Delays

Unfortunately, delays are inevitable in the realm of international shipping supply lines. When it happens, your freight forwarding company is not the one to blame. Most of the causes of delays in shipping lines – bad weather, port delays, mechanical breakdowns – are out of a freight forwarder’s control.

Although you might be experiencing a frustrating delay in your shipping time, rest assured that your freight forwarder will resolve the issue professionally and quickly.

4. Stages

The process of freight forwarding, whether it’s by air or sea, can fundamentally be broken down into six steps:

  • Export Haulage: Transportation of goods from warehouse or manufacturer to the freight forwarder’s warehouse.
  • Export Customs Clearance: The shipment receives clearance to leave its country of origin.
  • Origin Handling: When the shipment arrives in its country of destination, officials unload it and check the booking documents against what is in the delivery.
  • Import Customs Clearance: Port authorities check your customs documents to make sure everything is in order.
  • Destination Handling: Transference of cargo to the import warehouse.
  • Import Haulage: The shipment travels from the import warehouse to its final destination.

This is not a simple or easy process. It’s vital for your business’ bottom line that these stages are seamless. An expert freight forwarder can help.

5. Documentation

Your freight forwarder provides several essential documents to ensure the security of your shipment and prevent possible legal snarls in the future.

Some of the documents that you will receive from your freight forwarder are an invoice, a bill of lading, a certificate of origin statement, an inspection certificate, an export license, an export packing list, and a shipper’s export declaration.

6. Labeling and Packaging

As well as shipping goods internationally, freight forwarders can also provide a range of other services for their clients.

Freight forwarders may, upon request, package and store your goods, and provide accurate labeling for the products, include weight designations or if the goods are deemed dangerous or not.

7. Storage

A professional freight forwarder can also provide clients with warehouse space in the country of origin and the destination. Your goods will be covered by insurance and housed in a climate-controlled, secure area.

8. Legality

One of the significant benefits of hiring a freight forwarder is that they know the legal details in specific countries. Even if your company is in North America, if you’re shipping goods across borders, you need to know the laws of your country of origin and destination. An experienced freight forwarder can assist you.

9. Restricted Items

There are some things that companies cannot legally ship into other countries. These items are deemed dangerous and include toxic substances or flammable materials, drugs and alcohol, batteries, sharp objects, and perishables.

If you’re unsure about the legality of your shipment, your freight forwarder can advise you.

10. Network

A freight forwarder that has an established business in global air and ocean shipping will have a strong network, including membership to associations specific to the industry.

A freight forwarder with a strong network can minimize travel delays, provide you with the best quote, and be able to overcome inevitable bumps in the road with practiced ease.

Final Word

If you’re in the international shipping business or even just shipping in and around North America, there are some aspects you should ponder before you hire a freight forwarder. Hiring a freight forwarder is an investment in infrastructure, as the benefits derived from a forwarder’s services make your logistics cost-effective.

Asiana USA delivers excellent customer service in air and ocean transport. Our highly professional staff has a strong network of contacts and understands the shipping industry. Contact us today at Asiana.com or call 855-500-1808 to request a quote.

Ester is a media professor and content creator based out of Pittsburgh, PA. She has an MA in English Literature and Creative Writing. In her free time she enjoys reading and writing about technology, health and wellness and travel.
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