A Guide to Freight Forwarding

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By:
Rob Tillman
Freight
Outsourcing
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Logistics can be a challenging component for any eCommerce business to handle on its own. In particular, transporting bulk quantities of products across oceans or continents can be a feat for even the most experienced retailer. However, businesses can rely on a trusted freight forwarder to handle the complexities of managing domestic and international shipments.

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How Does Freight Forwarding Benefit a Business?

Partnering with a qualified shipping and logistics company that can help address things like international transportation, shipping, and freight forwarding makes it easier. Many companies just do not have the time or expertise to navigate these challenges on their own.  Logistics companies have the know-how to make the process easy for business owners, taking some of the responsibility away from these owners who have other priorities to handle at the same time.

What exactly is freight forwarding, and how can a logistics company help manage this task? Let’s take a closer look at how these shipping forwarders can help your business address certain logistical challenges associated with the international movement of your products.

What is Freight Forwarding?

Specifically, freight forwarding refers to the coordination and shipment of products from one place to another. Shipping often includes crossing international borders. This happens via a single or multiple carriers, in all sorts of capacities, including air, sea, rail, or highway. Furthermore, when it comes to freight forwarding, best practices should be followed and regulations that must be adhered to. However, knowing exactly what is needed for each shipment is something that most business owners would not know, but a freight forwarder has the experience to tackle.

But, freight forwarders do more than just shipping. In fact, when you seek out a freight forwarder, they will provide you with a variety of services like:

  • International ocean freight forwarders or air freight transportation
  • Land transportation (via trucks or rail)
  • Documentation preparation
  • Warehousing and storage services
  • Consolidation and deconsolidation
  • Cargo insurance
  • Customs compliance

In most cases, freight forwarders are not the ones actually moving the products; however, they are the middleman doing much of the coordination and behind-the-scenes work to get the goods from one place (or country, in many scenarios) to another. They have partnerships with shipping providers and understand the work needed to ensure a smooth customs process.

Why You Should Work with a Freight Forwarder

Freight forwarding is based on the idea of the efficient and cost-effective transfer of product maintained in good condition throughout travel. For this to happen, repeatedly, with each company the freight forwarder works with, they become experts in logistic management needed for the cargo to arrive safely on time. They can manage each step of the process, and they are able to negotiate better prices for shipping, tariffs, customs, and more to make the process as easy as possible for companies.

Most international freight forwarders are able to effectively manage the risks and benefits of international and domestic shipping with the latest technology available, which many companies do not invest in on their own. Freight forwarders' tasks that most often benefit business owners include freight rate negotiations, container tracking, customs documentation, and freight consolidation. These services make importing and exporting even easier for companies.

Benefits of Freight Forwarding Services

With this in mind, when a company is seeking out the services of a domestic and international freight forwarder, they typically know that they need to improve their logistics and avoid future challenges, maybe even the challenges they have faced in the recent past. Here are the key benefits of working with a domestic, international, and ocean freight forwarder.

Competitive Pricing

Freight forwarders usually have competitive pricing based on the services a customer needs. They are able to lower shipping prices through the consolidation of cargo from other customers. This means they will have a single full container load with multiple businesses' cargo, saving money for each customer.

Knowledge and Expertise

Knowledge and expertise are essential for the import or export of products. The customs clearance process can be challenging, and proper documentation is needed. In particular, freight forwarders have current customs regulations and documentation information so that customers do not miss any critical steps. Similarly, many freight forwarders can also handle documentation, tariffs, and taxes associated with shipping.

Tracking Systems

It can take time for a package to reach its destination, especially when international shipping comes into play. Still, freight forwarding companies keep track of your products, so you will not have to worry about the progress. They have efficient tracking systems, utilizing technology and communication to keep you updated on potential delays and modified timelines.

Security

Freight forwarders bring a level of security to importing and exporting goods. Therefore, your business’ shipping needs are in good hands because freight forwarding companies are professional and have systems in place to ensure safety and security. The packages are handled with care, and you may even be eligible for cargo insurance through your freight forwarder.

Inventory Management, Tracking, and Warehousing

Freight forwarders have an extensive network across the country and the world. Working with a freight forwarder gives you access to this network, too. They can help you with inventory management, tracking, and warehousing, depending on the unique needs of your business. By combining moving freight with other shipping services like order fulfillment and warehousing, you can find a one-stop shop to ensure your business operates smoothly.

Less Stress and Hassle

Finally, when you work with a freight forwarder, you have less stress and hassle. The experts are handling the tricky logistical challenges of moving goods from one place to another so that you can be sure that it will happen safely, quickly, and cost-effectively. This gives you the time and energy to focus on your customers, products, and business.

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