10 Tips On Choosing a Freight Forwarder

10 Tips On Choosing a Freight Forwarder

When it comes to international freight forwarding and transportation, selecting the right freight forwarder is like choosing the right supplier, vendor or accountant; you are choosing a partner that will help your business succeed. Your freight forwarder should be a trusted partner for your logistics needs, that is, if they are doing their job right. In this fast-changing world which is highly reliant on supply chain optimization, cost efficiency, timeliness, and consistent service, shippers, importer, exporters and others involved in the supply chain must make a determination on which freight forwarder to select for their international and domestic logistic needs. Before we get to 10 tips on how to choose a freight forwarder, there is some additional information to mention.

How do importers/exporters identify and select the right international freight forwarder?

To start with, the size of your company shouldn’t determine the size of your freight forwarder (size of of your freight forwarder is defined as a combination of volume shipped, revenues and # of employees). Many large companies use small freight forwarders and many small companies use large freight forwarders. Therefore there are many other questions that must be answered and other criteria analyzed to conclude which freight forwarder is right for you and your company.

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Questions You Must Ask Yourself Before Contacting An International Freight Forwarder

1) What are my incoterms with my supplier or my buyer? At what point does my responsibility and liability of the cargo begin or end?

2) What mode of service do I need? Do I need port to port, port to door, door to port, or door to door services?

3) What is the origin address of the cargo, what is the final destination?

4) What is the size/weight/dimensions/value of my cargo? What is the value?

5) Is my shipment considered oversized or out of gauge?

6) Depending on the mode of transport: what size ocean container, what volume of air cargo, or size domestic cargo will I be shipping?

7) How is my cargo packaged? Do I need additional packing/loading services?

8) Is my cargo considered hazardous? If so, do I have the MSDS, which is required by my freight forwarder?

9) Is there any sort of import or export license required for the import or export of my cargo depending on the commodity and ultimate destination of the cargo? If so, do I know how to apply for that license?

10) Will I need any special services such as: documentary services such as document attestation or legalization services, drop and pull of a container (container left overnight at supplier), customs clearance and duties paid, CBP/FDA/USDA exam processing, in-bond entry, commodity classification (HTS codes), fish & wildlife license, prior notice, annual bond for imports, consolidation of cargo, deconsolidation or any other type of additional service?

11) If cargo will go to a fulfillment center such as Amazon.com, will I need additional repacking services, labeling, pick and pack or other service required to deliver to Amazon.com fulfillment centers? freight-forwarder-handling-fulfillment-to-amazon-com-import-ocean-freight-customs-clearance-www-shipit-com_

12) Will I ship my cargo in an ocean container, RORO vessel, breakbulk vessel, airplane, truck, barge, rail or other mode of transport? Will I need intermodal services that provide a combination of these services?