Freight forwarders are what keep the global economy going. Without them, shipping will not be possible, and as a result, global trade will come to a standstill.
Running an export business, it is crucial that you find yourself a forwarder that can offer you great value for money. And in case you have not dealt with forwarders before, here is how you can find the perfect one for your business.
Look into the Range of Services They Offer
A freight forwarder’s job is quite complicated. Delivering the goods from point A to B is not their only responsibility. They also need to provide other important services that will make life a lot easier for exporters like you.
The forwarder has to deal with customs clearance as well as warehousing. They have to get your goods into the port and find the right type of storage for your containers or goods.
Apart from this, they also need to take part in different legal or official matters on your behalf like notarizing invoices, correcting documentation mistakes, receiving necessary certificates, and so on. They must also help with packing and loading, finding shipping routes as necessary, and make payments on your behalf.
Experienced forwarders are usually quite adept in these matters. Comparatively newer ones might struggle a bit. According to Leverbrook, exporting food is a whole different matter. There are a bunch of rules and regulations to consider when it comes to storage and transport. Also, take the country from which you export into consideration. For instance, the UK is no longer in the EU, so keep that in mind when you are looking for a freight forwarder.
Consider the Types of Freight Services
An international freight forwarding service needs to have facilities to deliver cargo over the sea, air, as well as land. Just delivering the shipments via sea will not do, especially if the forwarder has been in the industry for quite some time.
New forwarders might be able to get away with this, but leading forwarders like Power Forwarding cannot rely on just sea-based shipments. That is why they offer freight services via land and air as well. Given the type of cargo they handle and the timeframe they have to work with, companies like Power Forwarding deploy all necessary measures to ship almost every possible type of cargo all across the globe.
Besides, having all three means of cargo delivery services allows the forwarder to offer you a complete cargo forwarding solution. That in turn allows you to feel relaxed as your cargo makes its way across the world.
They Must Offer Cargo Insurance
Freight forwarding is a risky business. These people are carrying your precious cargo to a destination thousands of miles away. Be it via sea or air, there is always a risk of possible loss or damage to your cargo. And under such circumstances, the forwarder must bear the liabilities.
As soon as you hand over the cargo to the forwarder, it is now their responsibility to make sure it reaches the destination safely. Any mishap along the way, and they are the ones who are to be held accountable. Hence, they must provide you with cargo insurance that covers these scenarios and more. These insurance coverages vary from forwarder to forwarder. Your job is to check their insurance policies and see if they match the standards you are looking for.
Check for References and Reviews
New freight forwarders are popping up everywhere, and it is understandable why. The global economy is growing, and we need more of these services to help ensure this growth. That being said, inexperienced forwarders are more likely to make mistakes. These mistakes, even if they are minor, can cause serious damage to your business.
That is why you should go for experienced forwarders, preferably those that have been around for at least five or six years. Even then, you should always check their portfolio and history to see how reputed they are in the industry.
While online reviews are always helpful, you should talk to others who have used their services. Even if they have nothing bad to say about the forwarder, you should ask them about the things one has to watch out for while dealing with them. It could be document-related, or regarding the way they pack and handle cargo.
Check for Necessary Credentials and Certifications
The forwarder of your choice must have three certificates (among others).
The first is the Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) – this shows that the forwarder is operating legally, and is maintaining the standards set by the EU. Then comes the ISO 9001:2015 – this shows that the forwarder is well-set in its business environment, and is continuously striving for further improvement. Finally, there is the Dangerous Goods Certificate – this shows that the forwarder is capable of handling hazardous cargo or material.
So as long as the forwarder meets all these criteria, you can feel free to go with them for your export business.