As shipping and the movement of freight become more available to small business, can you afford NOT to use a freight forwarder?

Freight forwarding is the coordinated shipment of goods from one destination to another through the use of freight carriers either by air, rail, highway, or waterway.

With the increasing importance of global trade, it has more become evident that freight forwarding, whether by land, water, rail or air requires coordination, regulation and evolving best practices.

Since 1948 the Canadian International Freight Forwarders Association (CIFFA) recognized the need to ensure that goods flow in a timely and proficient manner across borders and throughout the world.

What Does a Freight Forwarder Do?

A freight forwarder acts as an intermediary between a shipper and various transportation services.

A freight forwarder handles the details of your international and regional shipping, such as oceanic shipping, moving goods by rail, highway transport, and air freight, but does not necessarily move your freight itself.

A freight forwarding service leverages established relationships with multiple carriers in order to negotiate the best possible price to move goods.

By working out various bids and choosing those that best balances speed, cost, and reliability, the most economical routes are maximized.

Freight Forwarders handle the considerable logistics of shipping goods from one international destination to another that would otherwise be a burden for their client.

Export.gov explains it like this:

To comply with export documentation and shipping requirements, many exporters utilize a freight forwarder to act as their shipping agent. The forwarder advises and assists clients on how to move goods most efficiently from one destination to another. A forwarder’s extensive knowledge of documentation requirements, regulations, transportation costs and banking practices can ease the exporting process for many companies.

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How do I find freight forwarder?

Of course the internet is a great tool to find a good freight forwarder. Here are just a few:

What is a freight forwarder?

In a nutshell, a freight forwarder is a company that arranges importing and exporting of goods for a client. But to be more definitive, a freight forwarder handles the following individual tasks:

  • Arranging storage and shipping of merchandise on behalf of its shippers
  • Tracking inland transportation
  • Preparation of shipping and export documents
  • Warehousing
  • Booking cargo space
  • Negotiating freight charges
  • Freight consolidation
  • Cargo insurance, and filing of insurance claims

Freight forwarders will also usually ship under their own bills of lading or air waybills (called house bill of lading or house air waybill).

At the destination, their respective agents or associates (overseas freight forwarders) provide document delivery, freight collection services, and deconsolidation.

What is a Freight Forwarding in Logistics?

As mentioned previously, freight forwarding is the coordination and shipment of goods from one place to another.

To accomplish this, freight forwarders are experts in managing the logistics necessary to ensure that goods arrive on time whether through single or multiple carriers via air, marine, rail or highway.

What are the benefits of using a freight forwarder?

A freight forwarder is not necessarily required for importing or exporting goods, but, importing and exporting can involve specific documentation and many regulations.

Moreover, these regulations and required documentations can vary from country to country, Therefor many of the better importers and exporters partner with a commercial freight forwarder for logistical reasons.

Their expertise is in knowing the shipping companies, the documentation, and customs laws of various countries so you don’t have to. The benefits for you are massive time savings and insulation from potential headaches while at the same time, providing reliable transportation of products at more competitive rates.

A good freight forwarder will more specifically negotiate tariffs, customs regulations and be fluent in the requirements of shipping through virtually all methods: land, sea, rail, and air.

Freight forwarders also manage the risks and benefits of shipping both nationally and internationally using the latest advances in information technology.

Overall, a freight forwarder is a valuable asset to nearly any company dealing in international transportation of goods. This is especially helpful when in-house resources lack experience in international shipping procedures.

What is freight forwarding and clearing?

Understanding customs procedures is integral to ensuring successful shipment and delivery of goods. Knowing how to properly clear though customs regulations is an important component for any freight forwarder.

Negotiating customs regulations and logistics of freight forwarding is a complex task. Freight forwarders will also ensure that their most qualified personnel are available to tailor and develop a comfortable shipping experience for their clients.

Can a Freight Forwarding Company Handle Business to Business Shipping?

In short, yes.

As a B2B company, you want a shipping chain you can trust to get your cargo to your business partners. Your best choice of freight forwarder will ensure all the required documentation is in order and ready to present at every step when needed.