What’s A Freight Forwarder, And Why Do You Need One?

The ability to import and export is the lifeblood of many successful businesses. But getting your goods from Point A to Point B, and from there to Points D, E, F, and beyond can seem overwhelming. Logistics, regulations, customs, and paperwork present more challenges than most people care to take on. A freight forwarder understands the hurdles and how to clear them, so you can focus on all the other things to build a successful business.

SO WHAT, EXACTLY, DOES A FREIGHT FORWARDER DO?

A freight forwarder is your shipping agent—someone who saves you vast
amounts of time and trouble. Someone who arranges the importing and exporting of your goods. Freight forwarders don’t actually move your goods. But they do get your goods moving, by serving as intermediaries who act on your behalf to coordinate whatever shipping services are required to get your products to wherever you need them to be. This includes cargo ships, air freight carriers, railroads, and trucking companies.

What's A Freight Forwarder

Experienced freight forwarders have established relationships with a wide range of carriers, so they can negotiate the best prices and the most economical routes to get your goods to their destination. And what freight forwarders know is just as important as what they do. They understand the laws, regulations, documentation requirements, transportation costs, and banking practices in various countries. That’s what enables them to handle the logistics of international shipping.

Whether your company is large, medium, or small, a freight forwarder can take care of your cargo from “door-to-door.” This can include clearing customs, documentation, risk assessment, insurance, and warehousing. And because freight forwarders do so much business with large shipping companies, they can often help you take advantage of the significant discounts they receive.

Freight Forwarder, And Why Do You Need One?

An experienced freight forwarder can help you learn how to package your
products for delivery or can do it for you. The packaging isn’t as simple as may seem. What might work for domestic shipping may not meet standards for extended international transport, especially since such journeys often involve a lot of handling, loading, and unloading, thus increasing the likelihood of damage occurring.

What's A Freight Forwarder

A freight forwarder can also help you with another not-as-simple-as-it-seems item, labeling. Proper labeling of your freight is a must to ensure that all packages are delivered when and where they need to be. An incorrectly labeled package can cost you customers and money. Your freight forwarder can help you meet very specific labeling requirements for international shipping, including:

  • The exact items within the shipping container
  • Any hazardous items
  • Country of origin
  • Actual weight in pounds as well as kilograms
  • Port of entry details
  • Any other details needed in the language of the destination country

DO I NEED ONE?

Unless you have an in-house staff member who can do everything we just
described, there’s a very good chance that you do. But that’s not a problem. It’s an opportunity. A good freight forwarding service is a valuable asset that provides real value, delivering reliable transportation of products at surprisingly competitive rates.

HOW DO I FIND ONE?

Since you’re reading this on our website, you’ve already found one. Onsite
Global Logistics
. 🙂 We’re ready to help. The links below can also help:

A good overview of the freight forwarding business:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freight_forwarder

Everything you need to know about exporting can be found here:
https://www.trade.gov/export-solutions

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