Updated: May 28
Should I Use a Freight Forwarder, and What Do They Do?
International shipping presents significant economic potential but also a great deal of uncertainty. Shipping errors can be expensive and cause significant delays in the delivery of products. But hiring freight forwarders is worth its weight in gold for businesses because it saves them time and money.
What Is a Freight Forwarder?
Freight forwarders act as go-betweens for shippers and carriers of cross-border goods. They collaborate with other parties worldwide to offer documentation, transportation, and other services. Common types of carriers include ocean carriers, barge carriers, air carriers, truckers, and railroads.
Usually, a forwarder doesn't move the shipment themselves but instead acts as an expert in the logistics process. In layperson's terms, a freight forwarder is an organization that sets up the import and export of cargo.
So, What Exactly Does a Freight Forwarder Do?
Freight forwarders use the relationships they already have to negotiate pricing, capacity and service levels for moving cargo. The goal is to zero in on a provider that excels in all three areas (cost, speed, and dependability). Freight forwarders can also help businesses package and label their products.
Also included in their services is handling the logistics of transporting packages, which most clients find difficult and time-consuming. Freight forwarders do more than transport packages. They also know a lot about how much it costs to ship goods, how the paperwork with banks work for L/Cs, the shipping documentation, and customs and regulatory rules.
Is It Necessary to Use a Freight Forwarder?
A freight forwarder can function as an extension of your company's operations. They may be your virtual shipping department, saving you time and money. Partner with a seasoned freight forwarding business to save time and money on shipping. The following are a few of the advantages of using a freight forwarder:
The ability to expect capacity issues with various types of common carriers
Shipment visibility and exception management
Evaluation and administration of risks
How Do I Choose a Freight Forwarder Agent?
Ensure the forwarder's agents can reach all the places your goods will be going. Also necessary is the forwarder's level of experience. The importance of finding a forwarder with a lot of experience cannot be overstated. Many forwarders specialize in a particular area; therefore, research their transport expertise as well.
Be clear about what you need from the companies you're considering. When shipping freight, do they have insurance, and if so, what kind? If a shipment goes wrong, you must know what steps to take.
Advantages and Potential Drawbacks
Shippers and forwarders both stand to benefit from the service of freight forwarding. Some benefits and drawbacks of using a freight forwarding service are:
Customer-driven freight forwarder pricing is competitive.
Freight forwarders handle paperwork, customs, and taxes. So you can focus on business, simple transport, or customs formalities.
Some Freight forwarders offer trade-related services like banking, freight insurance, customs compliance and regulatory risk management and inventory management.
There are some significant drawbacks to using a freight forwarder, including:
Freight forwarding services rarely operate cargo conveyance. So, their transportation involvement is usually physically hands-off, although some forwarders are asset based in certain areas of their services.
Potentially increased shipping costs (but with reduced risk)
A loss of control over the supply chain by handing it off to a third party
Use Shipit Logistics® for Your Shipping Needs
As an independent freight forwarder, use SHIPIT Logistics® to manage your transportation and logistics across land, air, and sea. For more than 48 years, SHIPIT Logistics® has helped freight forwarders provide reliable door-to-door service by navigating the complexities of international shipping routes for nearly 50 years.
Environmental requirements for shippers are more important than ever. With SHIPIT, you can view your carbon emissions and provide carbon offsets for your freight supply chain.