Many people are using freight forwarders to save money and time on shipping in their business. But if you want the best service possible, there are a few things you need to keep in mind.
Freight forwarding is a complex process, which most people outsource. Setting up a clear means of communication is integral to the success of the operation from both your side and your customers.
Here are six tips that will help you get the most out of your freight forwarder:
1) What are your freight forwarding priorities?
When working with a freight forwarder, it is important to be clear on your goals. What do you hope to achieve with this partnership? Are you looking for cost savings, faster shipping times, or better compliance with environmental targets? Once you know what you want, your freight forwarder can work with you to create a plan that meets your needs.
Being clear on your goals also means communicating them effectively to your freight forwarder. Make sure they understand your business and the specific shipping needs that arise from it. This will help them provide the best possible service tailored to your unique requirements, and ensure your expectations are met from the very beginning.
2) What is your freight forwarder responsible for?
When choosing a freight forwarding company, it is imperative to be clear where your responsibility lies and where it ends.
Otherwise, it may end up costing you more than you bargained for – and put an end to an otherwise fruitful working agreement.
But what does that mean exactly?
When you get a quote through, it is important to note
● Is insurance included?
● Who is responsible for completing any import and export documentation?
● Are any duties and taxes included in the quote?
If you get a quote through that seems too good to be true, then it probably is. Remember to ask the right questions in the beginning, so you don’t have any nasty surprises later on.
3) What resources does your freight forwarder have available?
Most freight providers have a host of free resources to help you make the most out of the experience and minimize administration time.
Try to be aware of your freight forwarder’s technology capabilities, so you can utilize them and get the answers you need, when you need them.
From live tracking tools to estimators on their sites and even handy blogs with solid guidance and information, it’s good to be aware of the resources available to you.
5) Does your freight forwarder have many partners globally, and are they accredited?
Freight forwarders do not work alone. Having international partners as well as accreditation is essential, so you can be sure that they have a multitude of routes and the trust of their peers.
An international freight forwarder should have access to shipping worldwide via a myriad of routes.
This should include not only the common markets like North America, the Middle East and Europe but also regions that are less well-known but see relatively high growth such as Latin America and Asia.
Your ideal freight forwarder should have established trustworthy partnerships and have a number of accreditations.
ACI Logistics for instance is proudly accredited with W.C.A (Membership ID 27640), FIATA, NAFL and IATA.
Being accredited takes time, effort and commitment to excellence – all qualities you should be looking for in a freight forwarding partner.
6) Understand the full services on offer
When choosing a freight forwarding company, it is important to be aware of the full range of services on offer. This will ensure you get the most out of the arrangement and that all your needs are met.
Services can vary from company to company, but ACI Logistics for instance services the following areas:
● Air freight: airport to airport or door to door solutions from full charter to part charter and more. Customized solutions for any shipment requirements from major airports to remote and inaccessible territories.
● Ocean freight: from full container loads to non-containerized loads, from multiple suppliers to multiple countries; we can create a custom plan to move massive shipments to much smaller ones.
● Road freight: airport / door-to-door timed delivery for a variety of different cargo needs.
● Warehousing and transportation: as the need for larger warehouses in various countries grows, we have created a department to specialize in factory collections, inventory management, forwarding / shipments and destination services.
● Project services & local handling: we are your eyes and ears on the ground from tricky territories to specialized logistics
Be sure to ask your freight forwarder about the full range of services they offer and how they can help your business grow.
Understanding the range of services offered under one roof can save you time, over-complicated logistics, money and reduce your carbon footprint.
These six steps can make a big difference in whether your business succeeds with a freight forwarder and can be the start of a long and happy partnership.
The more time and effort you put into this process in the beginning, the better chance you have at saving money in the long-run.
If all of this sounds intimidating, or if you require help with any part of it, let us know – our team is ready to partner with you on a stellar logistics strategy that takes your cargo business from complicated to simple.
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