It’s standard for businesses to hire freight forwarding services to assist with sourcing, logistics, and other critical international freight operations. Freight forwarders provide specialized international shipping and logistics services that ensure the smooth transportation of goods from the port of origin to their destination.
Depending on a business’ requirements, a freight forwarder’s services can range from logistics to organizing every aspect of imports or exports. A freight forwarder acts as an intermediary between a buyer, seller, and international customs, ensuring all parties have the required documents and shipping proctors are followed.
It’s important to realize that a freight forwarding company isn’t a logistics service. While they often work closely with them, a freight forwarder must arrange inland transportation via a logistics company. In such cases, a local truck company may play a significant role in the freight forwarding process.
Third-Party Logistics (3PL) Provider
Transportation services are often hired from a 3PL. These are logistics specialists whose services include warehousing, picking, fulfillment, and other supply chain processes on behalf of a company. 3PLs are mainly used by e-commerce businesses that don’t have the means to handle fulfillment in-house.
3PLs commonly have a fleet of delivery trucks and truck drivers that move goods around the country. Freight forwarders often use 3PL truckers to complete the last leg of the journey.
Role of the Local Trucking Company
In most cases, the local trucking company is the first and last link in the supply chain.
Whether the freight is being transported by ocean, rail, or air, it needs to be moved by a local trucking company before embarking on its international or long-distance journey. Local truckers collect the freight from the storage facility and bring it to the place where it must undergo processing and handling.
Virtually every product spends some part of its life on a truck, even if it is the brief journey from a warehouse to a port.
After passing through customs clearance at an ocean port or an airport, the goods must find their way to the customer’s door.
This is one of the most important steps of the process, but it is often overlooked. While the difficult and potentially dangerous leg of the journey (international transit) is complete, it is quite common for goods to get lost or damaged by the local trucking company.
If freight forwarders don’t hire the right company, they can fall victim to goods being accidentally damaged. Choosing the right company can make a difference between excellent and poor overall service. Most times, it is the most influential aspect of a process.
As a freight forwarder, it’s critical that you develop strong relationships with local trucking companies. This is especially important for transporting certain types of goods. For example, delicate goods require special care and attention when in transit. So, you must be able to trust the trucking company to handle items with care.
Types of Trucking Services
There are two freight trucking services used in freight forwarding: Full Truckload (FTL) and Less than Truckload (LTL).
- Full Truckload (FTL) refers to shipments that are large enough to occupy an entire container. An FTL shipment is dedicated transport for one particular load and doesn’t involve any other cargo. It can weigh anywhere from 10,000 to 64,000 lbs.
- Less than Truckload (LTL) shipping is used to transport smaller volumes of goods that don’t occupy an entire trailer load. Transport companies consolidate each trailer load by combining several small shipments. LTL shipping is typically used for freight that weighs between 150 and 15,000 lbs.
Although both methods have their advantages, it is recommended to choose FTL where possible. It is much more efficient in terms of speed, cost, and time. However, if your cargo takes up less than 75% of a container, you’ll likely find better value in LTL.
Many local trucking companies offer both FTL and LTL shipping services. While this is beneficial to the freight forwarder, increased handling and processing of LTL shipments results in a higher cost and increased risk of damaged goods.
Changing Role of Local Truckers
As e-commerce and online shopping continue to grow, logistics become increasingly important. Shippers are working hard to improve processes to meet the demands of consumers. From product sourcing to final delivery, speed, efficiency, and best-in-class customer service are expected.
Although local trucking companies serviced home-grown industries in the past; they are becoming essential players in the international shipping world. They are crucial cogs in the freight forwarding machine.
If you need any further assistance or additional information on shipping and transportation, contact Asiana USA at (855) 500-1808.