In the international shipping industry, timing is of utmost importance. You need a professional to manage your supply line, and that means you need a freight forwarding company. A freight forwarder handles your shipments from the starting point to the final destination and everything in between.
If you are new to the international freight business and are looking for a reputable freight forwarder, here are ten tips on how to choose the right one to handle your cargo.
The realm of international shipments is complex, and you depend on your freight forwarder to make your supply chain smooth and error-free. Freight forwarders with years of experience can make this happen.
An experienced freight forwarding company can help your shipments avoid any problems in routing lines, customs, or warehousing. Your chosen freight forwarder may also have experience in times of emergencies, like port shutdowns or strikes.
The right freight forwarder can provide evidence of experience in the importer-exporter business, and should be happy to share it with you.
Most experienced freight forwarders have a global network they depend upon to ensure smooth and timely arrivals. What’s essential for you to check in your search for the most fitting company is that it has a strong network in both the import and export country or city.
This tenet also holds with the services a company provides for its clients. Ideally, your chosen forwarder should have experience with ocean freight, air freight or air transport, and other methods of transporting goods. However, you may only ship your goods within the borders of a single country, or from port to port instead of door to door.
In any of these cases, your freight forwarder must provide the particular services your business needs.
If you’re considering hiring a freight forwarder, but there is no evidence of any recommendations or references available, this is a sign that they may be ineffective at their mission.
Be dogged in tracking down references for your freight forwarder; if none are willingly provided, consider this a reason to employ a different company.
5. Customer Service
Consider the response time of the requests you give your forwarder. Does the company provide responses or solutions promptly? Do they provide knowledgeable answers or, at the very least, direct you to a person or resource that can answer your question?
If the answer to some of the rhetorical questions is no, then you may want to consider another option for your supply line. Even if the company offers competitively low prices for the transport of goods, if they don’t get back to you or can’t provide answers to your questions, then they will probably show the same lack of care to your goods.
6. Types of Shipments
Depending on your business, you may have different needs at different times. Some weeks, you may need air freight to Europe, and at others, you need RORO service for mining equipment. Whatever your anticipated needs are, make sure the freight forwarder you choose can handle it.
7. Professional Organizations
Involvement or membership in global associations necessitates reliable track records, robust global networks, and the appropriate contracts and insurance it takes to move vast numbers of goods across large tracts of land, sea, or air. Check to see if your potential freight forwarder is a member of some of these shipping organizations.
8. Multiple Contracts
Multiple networking contacts and contracts become essential when a shipment is amid transport, and you suddenly need an alternative due to space availability or other logistical bumps in the road.
Check your prospective freight forwarder’s Plan B and, most importantly, that they have one.
Cargo insurance is critical if you’re shipping expensive goods across the ocean to another country. Check the insurance company the freight forwarder uses and what the insurance covers.
The insurance should cover damages in case of theft, loss, or damage sustained during travel.
10. Broker Bonds
It’s important to know if the company you’re looking into is financially solvent. Freight forwarders are required to get a freight broker bond to obtain their operating authority. Inquire about a freight broker bond as you weigh your options.
Surety agencies thoroughly assess a freight forwarder for financial solvency before they issue a broker bond. It may save you money if your forwarder runs into any trouble along the way.
At Asiana USA, we manage your freight supply line and shipping process, from shipping to customs to storage. Asiana USA’s highly professional staff handles the logistics if you plan to ship internationally. Contact Asiana today at Asiana.com or call us at 855-500-1808 to request a quote.