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If you’re in the business of international shipping, then you need to get your goods from one destination to another. You also need to understand shipping restrictions, import customs clearance, and inventory management. If you want a cost-effective, reliable method of transporting your goods, consider finding a freight forwarder.

Freight forwarders can assist you in smoothing out your supply line with reliable transportation services. If you ship goods, you may want to hire a freight forwarder, and if you do, here are three things you should be aware of prior to making your choice.

1. Duties

If you’re unfamiliar with the responsibilities of a freight forwarding company, here’s a simple explanation. A freight forwarder acts as an intermediary between the import/export business, the customs agents and other border officials, and the carriers. The freight forwarder is not the carrier, but in many cases hires the carrier according to the company’s stipulations.

A potential freight forwarder should understand the key stages of the freight forwarding process, which include export haulage, items checkpoint, and export customs clearance.

The cargo then travels across the ocean, and when it arrives in port, the three last stages commence – import customs clearance, destination arrival and handling, and lastly, import haulage.

To run a successful supply line with minimal delays, look for a freight forwarder that has experience. If problems arise, it’s crucial to remember that your freight forwarder is not responsible for shipping delays and will do everything in their power to get you on your way again.

2. Paperwork

It is wise to choose a company to ship your ocean freight that has experience in the business and that has a reliable network, both in the country of departure and arrival.

To get your cargo from one port to another, your forwarder needs to fill out a lot of paperwork, which may include:

  • Bill of lading contract
  • Commercial invoice
  • Certificate of origin statement
  • Inspection certificate
  • Export packing list
  • Export license
  • Shipper’s export declaration document

There are also different ways that cargo can be shipped across the ocean, and terms like RORO (roll-on, roll-off) and FOB (free on board) are frequently used. Your freight forwarder should know these terms and be up-to-date on the ICC’s Incoterms®, especially any new terms the ICC may have recently added.

3. Restrictions

Freight forwarders can’t carry everything. There are restrictions as to what they can haul and what they cannot haul, including firearms, drugs or alcohol, perishables, and sharp objects.

Customer service is one of the ways that a freight forwarder stands out from the crowd of forwarding companies. Before you choose a freight shipping service, look at the forwarders online reviews or contact some of their references.

Clear communication is key to running an efficient, cost-effective supply line, so communication with your freight forwarder is critical.

Final Word

Asiana USA will manage your supply line from shipping to customs to storage. Our highly professional staff can coordinate the logistics when you ship internationally. Contact Asiana at (323)-250-9407 to discuss your shipping needs and to request a quote.

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