Choosing the Right Freight Forwarder
Are you new to import or export and looking to ship products overseas? International freight can be complex and confusing. It is hard to know where to start, what to do and who you can trust!
One of your first "ports of call" is finding a reliable freight service provider or freight forwarder. In simple terms, a freight forwarder is a person or company that organises shipments for importers or exporters to get goods from the manufacturer or producer to a market, customer or final point of distribution.
While the freight forwarder doesn't actually move the freight itself, they act as an intermediary between the client and various transportation services. Sending products from one international destination to another can be highly complex and can involve a multitude of carriers, requirements and legalities. A freight forwarding service handles the considerable logistics task for you, relieving what would otherwise be a massive burden, particularly for those that are new to the game!
Choosing a freight service provider that best suits your needs and budget is crucial to the success of your import or export business. Not only will the correct choice provide increased efficiencies and potential cost savings, but it will also give you piece of mind that your products will arrive to customers safely and on time.
No one international freight provider can be a specialist on every trade route or freight category, so shop around to find a specialist with competitive pricing. Remember the best “headline price” is not always the most cost effective option and you may want to use several different providers dependent on their expertise and pricing.
Accordingly, it is very important that you research thoroughly and compare freight forwarders on an ‘apples to apples’ basis. One of the biggest mistakes you can make in choosing a freight service provider is to hire the first company that comes along. Questions you should be asking of new service providers include:
- Do they have experience with your product/commodity type?
- Do they have experience in shipping to/from your country/region of interest?
- Can they provide references from companies that have used their services?
Ultimately service providers must understand the trade lane you are shipping and the appropriate solution to move your product safely, timely and in-line with relevant regulations. Spending time up front to research and compare the market to find freight forwarders that fit your requirements and budget will save you a lot of money in the long run!
Remember, CargoHound makes it quick and easy to identify a reliable service provider by comparing price, transit time and “peer rating” from companies that have used their services.
If you have any more questions on choosing the right service provider, give one of our freight experts a call on 1300 883 243
Laurie Pevitt, Advisory Board Member with CargoHound