Here are a few things to look out for when choosing a freight forwarder
1. Make sure your freight forwarder can handle multiple types of shipments
Even if you are only using air freights, what if you needed a bigger shipment and must use ocean freight to reduce costs? Your freight forwarder should be like a partner who helps you bring your shipment from anywhere in the world to you using the best method. They need to have the knowledge and expertise to handle all types of shipment (air, ocean, and road).
2. Who is your point of contact? And how many are there?
Some companies separate different roles to different departments and require you to contact multiple people in order to import (ocean freight, customs, delivery). If you need to contact multiple people, you will be responsible for making sure the logistics chain is smooth. For example, customs clearance must be done after full containers are on rail, and delivery should be arranged after clearance. Your ideal freight forwarder should provide you with a single point of contact who can take care of the entire process, reducing the possibility of errors.
3. Determine if the freight forwarder has a good network
Some freight forwarders only work with a single or very few shipping companies and have the risk of not having the right services like timing. Having a larger network has the advantage of being able to compare price points and routes to find more cost-effective methods of shipping.
4. Are there consulting services for logistics?
Logistics is a difficult area to tackle all by yourself, determining the best prices, port of entry, delivery is timing consuming and very prone to errors. Good freight forwarders will offer you services to help you determine the best methods for your company. There are a lot of pitfalls and mistakes will happen, so having guidance or not can make or break the bottom line. Good logistics can you a competitive edge over your competition.
5. Responsiveness and support
During the shipping process, several issues can arise. For example, there could be delays in de-ramping, or customs examination. These issues can affect the timing you receive your shipment, so it is important to know the status of your cargo. Is your freight forwarder easy to contact and can they provide you with the most up to date information? And will they be helping you take care of the difficulties that can arise? Or are you left to fend for yourself when the inevitable problems occur.