7 Things About Freight Forwarding Every Business Owner Needs to Know

freight forwarding business shipping logistics

Freight forwarding is responsible for moving around most of our imported goods. In 2018, 63.3 percent of the goods imported from Mexico and Canada were transported by freight trucks. 

Companies use freight forwarding to transport goods from one place to another. Depending on what you are transporting, this can be done by air, road, railway, or the ocean.

It might seem a little overwhelming at first, especially if you have never had to use freight forwarding before. A little bit of information can help ease your worries. Here are 7 things that you should know about freight shipping.


1. It's the Easiest Way to Import and Export

Using a freight forwarder can help you make the whole process of importing or exporting a lot simpler. It can help you to protect your self from a lot of the burden and risks involved with regular shipping. 

Finding and building a working relationship with a company that can understand and fulfill your shipping needs is key to keeping your business on track. An experienced freight forwarding company will have relationships built with all kinds of network contacts. 

That's why people like using LTL freight shipping companies, having a network allows them to get you the best rates for what you need.


2. Some Freight Forwarding Companies Specialise 

Most freight forwarders can ship just about anything, but that doesn't mean that they are the best option for everything. 

For example; just because you can ship something by the sea doesn't mean that its the best way to do it.

If what you are shipping might need a little extra care, then it could be worth your time to look into who will do it best. If you think that your cargo will need special shipping its best to the company know ahead of time. 


3. What Can be Shipped?

What can come into or be shipped out of countries depends solely on that country. While that list changes country to country, there are some things that most fright forwarders won't ship for you.

Typically they are:

  • Biological Waste
  • Toxic Items
  • Alcohol or Drugs (including pharmaceutical) 
  • Food
  • Perishable Items 

Most of the things that any company that is all above board would need to ship wouldn't fall under that list. However, it'll give you some peace of mind knowing that you are okay to ship what you need to.


4. Delays Happen and They Aren't the Freight Forwarder's Fault

There are a lot of things that can happen to delay your shipment, and for the most part, you can't blame the freight forwarder.

One of the most common problems is the weather. It can cause ports to be closed and freights to be rerouted or slowed down. Other problems could be equipment overheating or breaking down.

If it's a busy time of year the ports can get backed up causing long delays getting through the borders. 

While late freights bother you, they also bother the freight forwarders. If they are off schedule for your freight there is a good chance that they are late on many others as well. These companies like to pride themselves on being on time, any delay is a mark against their reputation. 


5. Keep all of Your Paperwork Up to Date

When you first hand off your inventory to be shipped, it can be a little scary. Having all of your paperwork together can make you feel a little more comfortable doing this. 

It will also safeguard your goods from getting suck in customs because you didn't cross your "t"s or dot your "i"s.

It's also an important step for making sure that your money isn't going to held by your bank. 


6. They do More than Just Move Goods

While their main gig is going to be forwarding freight, these companies can help you do a lot more than just that. 

Freight forwarders can help with multiple levels of the supply chain. Things such as:

  • Customs clearance
  • Insurance
  • Storage
  • Packing
  • Inventory Management
  • International import and export Documentation

For instance, if you have a lot of stuff that needs to be moved from one place to another, but you don't have the manpower to do it. You could hire a freight forwarder to come pack all of the stuff you need to be shipped and then do the actual shipping as well. 

You can also have them do all of the import or export documentation. That can be a huge help if you haven't had to deal with imports or exports before. 


7. There Are a lot of Documents 

When you use a freight forwarding company there is a lot of paperwork. If you are shipping overseas, there is even more documentation that you are going to need. 

You will want to make sure that you have documents like your commercial invoice, a contract, certificate for any inspection that has been done and licenses. 

Your freight forwarder should help you get everything in order before they come to pick up your goods. If you don't have all of the documentation that you need it can cause delays or you can even have your goods seized. 


Freight Forwarding Takes the Weight off of You

In the simplest form, freight forwarding is the easiest way to get your cargo to where you need it to go. The freight forwarding companies will do just about everything for you. 

While most of everything is taken care of it helps to know what can be shipped and to keep in mind that delays happen. Getting angry with the freight forwarding company won't get your cargo moved faster, they are probably as upset as you are. 

Letting them take charge of the shipping will give you time to run your business and peace of mind that all of your documentation is taken care of.

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