When you release a shipment off your dock, are you confident how it gets handled on the way to its destination? There’s nothing worse than learning your freight is late or damaged on the way.
Many businesses use freight forwarding services to move their shipments. But how much do you know about freight forwarding, and are all freight forwarders created equal?
It all begins with an education in how freight forwarding companies work. It’s not as complicated as you might think at first glance.
So if you want to learn more, keep reading for an overview of freight forwarding.
What Is a Freight Forwarder?
There’s a lot more that goes into shipping your freight than hiring a truck. So what is freight forwarding? Here is how freight forwarding works and what makes it different.
For starters, freight forwarding services provide or hire the equipment needed to carry your shipment. Freight forwarders do have vehicles as part of their services. Yet, it’s not usually how your shipments reach their destination.
They are often referred to as the middleman, but that too is a simplified explanation.
Professional freight forwarders have established a network of transporters to move your goods. They work with trusted shipping partners to move your load from start to finish.
Depending on the destination, freight forwarders also complete forms needed to cross borders. They also understand specific regulations for each type of freight.
The Movement Process
To ship across town, you will call a trucking company that will carry your shipment there. But what if you need to ship across the country? There will likely be more than one trucker involved.
Your cargo needs the logistics expertise that freight forwarders provide. Freight forwarding companies match the shipment with companies to move the freight.
There’s also paperwork involved in the movement of freight. A logistics expert knows which forms you need to move certain types of freight.
For example, moving hazardous material has a special set of safety rules. These documents must be filled out so the freight complies with all laws.
What if you’re shipping to other countries? The freight forwarding service will complete customs clearance forms on your behalf.
In addition, they will have partnerships with other modes of transport. For example, overseas shipping will need transporting by sea or air, and then on the ground again at the other side.
Protecting Your Freight
There is one important thing to keep in mind with shipping. Freight forwarders are not brokers who buy and sell shipments to trucking companies. All their work is in the customer’s interest.
The freight forwarder handles your shipment every step of the way. These services include storage and paperwork, and other services. They may not be present during parts of the process, but they are in constant touch with your freight.
In some cases, customers want shipments broken down and distributed to several destinations. Forwarders arrange the process and find carriers for each part of the shipment.
Another key difference is that a broker doesn’t take responsibility for the shipment. Instead, freight forwarding services look after your cargo from pick up to delivery.
There are times when road regulations dictate how loads get carried. For example, carriers of oversized freight like heavy machinery must follow guidelines. The freight forwarder also secures the necessary permits for these loads.
Last, there is the matter of ensuring your goods during transport. A road is an unpredictable place where accidents happen. Freight forwarders carry liability insurance to protect you against damage or loss.
Choosing Between Freight Forwarding Services
You want a freight partner that communicates well with you. They will explain which documents to complete and why. A good freight forwarder will inform you of your options to ship.
Using freight forwarding services should save the customer both time and money. And, they are acting on your behalf when dealing with carriers and customs agents.
The freight forwarder should keep you informed of possible delays. In addition, they will know how to troubleshoot issues and change carriers when needed.
You might be asking, is it important to find freight forwarders near me? It depends on your needs. Every freight forwarder has a specialty.
A local freight forwarder knows your region and the logistics involved there. So that’s a good place to start.
Even though you might be sending goods worldwide, it’s often better to start from home. Your local freight forwarder still has the connections to move your shipment.
Licensed freight forwarder services perform similar functions. They all prepare the paperwork and carrier connections to ship your goods.
Choose a service that has all the tools to complete your job. First, find out if they have the equipment you need to ship. Next, ask if they have connections to the places you want to ship. Also, you may need to know if they can transport the type of goods you ship.
These are the three main ingredients used by freight forwarding companies. Your freight forwarder must have the means to send your freight to where you want to send the kind of goods you ship.
Having the Facts Helps
As a consumer, knowing how freight forwarding services work makes all the difference, you are now ready to make informed decisions for moving your freight.
Freight forwarders are valuable partners to save time and money when shipping. However, choosing the best partner for your needs will rely on your knowledge.
This guideline to understanding the process of freight forwarding will help you decide.
To learn more about a freight forwarder with the expertise to move your freight, contact us today.
No job is too big or too small.