The complexity of international freight transportation means it is vital to have a good working relationship with an experienced freight forwarding company. The international transportation of goods requires planning long journeys with multiple carriers and document completion in minute detail.
A delay in one part of the journey can have a knock-on effect, such as your cargo reaching your customer late, and potentially losing future business. Fortunately, a good freight forwarder can take care of all your importing and exporting requirements, ensuring your goods reach their destination on time, saving you money.
They are many practical considerations within international shipping, and the freight forwarder performs multiple crucial duties on your behalf, leaving you to continue running and growing your business.
1. Best Transportation Rates
International trade can be expensive, but a freight forwarder engages with a vast ocean carrier network, trucking companies, and air freight transporters to find the best rates. Because carriers’ capacity changes rapidly, there may be more favorable rates one day earlier or later, and a 3PL can negotiate to get the most affordable price.
A freight forwarder can also advise you of the best rate, not necessarily the cheapest rate. Air and ocean carriers may have different reliability records or may not provide services at a time that suits your schedule. This issue is one reason why their extensive network of alternative carriers is so essential.
2. Consolidation of Goods
A shipping company can reduce their costs if they are carrying a full load. Freight services who act for many clients can consolidate smaller shipments from different companies to make up one large load.
Freight consolidation is difficult to arrange as multiple parties are involved, but a freight forwarder can take care of these details for you.
3. The Fastest Route
Increasingly, customers are demanding their goods arrive as quickly as possible. A delay in exporting goods to their destination could reduce customer satisfaction, and they may consider other vendors who can supply their products expeditiously. This scenario is often the case in door-to-door shipments, where residential and small businesses are becoming used to next day delivery services.
A freight forwarding company works closely with shipping lines to ensure your deliveries arrive according to your schedule, using the fastest route possible.
4. Completing and Filing of Documentation
Documentation requirements in international freight shipping are onerous. There are many forms, and accuracy is critical. Even a small error could lead to problems at customs clearance. In severe scenarios, customs agents could impound your merchandise, leading to transportation delays and increased costs.
A freight forwarder has responsibility for ensuring your documentation is complete and correctly filed with the proper authorities. They have experience in the myriad of paperwork required for freight travel and can work in tandem with a customs brokerage to ensure your goods move smoothly through customs.
5. Cargo Insurance
International freight travel involves a considerable number of different companies liaising with each other, scheduling to meet within small time windows, as well as the practical element of loading and unloading your cargo. It is possible that goods are misplaced or that they suffer damage during transportation.
You can arrange who is responsible for the insurance at each part of the journey with your buyer, but it is vital to use a freight forwarder to get the insurance and ensure every aspect is covered.
If goods are accidentally left at a port and subsequently damaged or lost, your entire shipment could be a losing venture. A warehouse fire or water damage occurring during ocean travel could destroy your goods, and the buyer would demand a refund.
An experienced freight forwarder can identify the risks and understand the value of the shipment. Insurance companies may not offer coverage for all eventualities. However, a freight forwarder has relationships with several companies, ensuring they can place your risk with the right provider.
While insurance may seem an extra cost, in an industry where reliability and professionalism are synonymous, it is well worth the premium in the event of a loss or accident.
6. Warehouse and Fulfillment Services
Many established freight forwarders can arrange your warehousing and inventory management on your behalf. In this scenario, they become a fully-integrated arm of your business. They take delivery of goods, arrange for storage and distribution when there is an order. Many companies can pack and shrink-wrap your pallets, ensuring your goods are safe and arrive with your customer in excellent condition.
Inventory management can be time-consuming and requires hiring many staff in a large business. By outsourcing this aspect to a reliable freight forwarder, you can run your business, confident that shipping, packing, and delivery is in safe hands.
7. Problem-Solving During Transit
Due to the number of parties involved in international trade, problems inevitably arise. Freight forwarders deal with these issues for many clients daily. They have taken time to build up lists of reputable partners they can call when emergencies occur.
By using their contacts, you could avoid costly delays and unhappy customers. A reliable freight forwarder can arrange for different transport modes in various situations and turn to alternative companies should they experience difficulties.
The Bottom Line
Establishing a relationship with an international freight forwarder is crucial for using their network of resources to save you time and money. While it may be tempting to arrange the shipment in-house, many problems can occur during transport.
Experienced freight forwarders can identify risks before they occur. Using the latest technology and knowledgeable staff, they work to ensure your goods arrive on time, in good condition, and at the best price.
Asiana USA is a market-leading international freight forwarder and can take care of all your warehousing, inventory, and shipping requirements. For a free quote, contact us at (855) 500-1808.