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Helpful Tips to Choose the Right Freight Forwarder

Madhushree Kelkar
Whether it is domestic or international import and export, you need the help of a good freight forwarder to make your goods reach safely to the desired destination. Here are some helpful tips to choose the right freight forwarder.


In order to minimize the risk, find a freight forwarding company that specializes in custom clearance of goods and does not outsource this function to another agency.
Freight forwarders act like links between the importers and exporters and the transport companies for transferring goods to the right destination. They deal with both domestic and international import and export. They help choose the best modes of transport to deliver your goods at their destination.
However, at times, one may find that not choosing the right freight forwarder results in heavy losses. An unprofessional freight forwarding company or individual who may not be well-versed with the rules and regulations may cause your container to be detained.
Not only this, but you will also have to pay a number of charges for this. It will also affect your reputation as a clean trader adversely. Hence, it is important that you get hold of the right freight forwarding agency.
Note: A freight forwarder or a forwarding agent can be a company as well as an individual. References to both have been made here for easy understanding of the reader.

Selecting the Right Freight Forwarder

▣ Find someone who has the necessary licenses and certifications. He should be a member of trade organizations like Transportation Intermediaries Association (TIA) and International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations (FIATA).
▣ Speak to other people who are into exporting their goods, preferably similar to those like you. They will be able to guide you about the right freight forwarder.
▣ It is important to find a freight forwarder who understands the emergency to ship a consignment and is reliable and trustworthy.

▣ Consult various trade associations where you have membership about the credibility of the freight forwarder or the agency.
▣ Freight forwarders should be well aware of the rules and regulations of international freights. For example, if they fail to declare organic cargo depending on the destination, the container may be quarantined by customs, and you will have to bear the brunt of daily holding charges.
▣ Find a company which will provide service even if you want to send your product to a remote destination.
▣ Don't hire a company that will charge you with additional costs. Know the details of each fee and charge before shelling out money.

▣ Find an agency that will bear the responsibility of your goods and consider itself accountable for their safe delivery.
▣ One of the easiest ways to conduct a background check on a freight forwarder is to verify his reputation through banks, online review websites, trade organizations, etc.
▣ Find a freight forwarder who will have better domestic and international contacts. A person with good networking skills will be able to bail you out of any kind of problems.

▣ Check the references of other clients of the freight forwarder to get an actual idea of how he works.
▣ The most seasoned freight forwarder can also make mistakes at times which may cause you to incur huge losses in business. Hence, you should find an agent who provides errors and omissions insurance (E&O). He should also offer cargo insurance.
▣ The freight forwarding company should make an effort to understand more about your product so that it can cater to your requirements in a better way. Just imagine, if the company's representatives do not understand that the product you are exporting is perishable in nature, they may allow the consignment to get delayed, thus, incurring losses for you.
▣ Find someone who is clear about all the documentation and paperwork required for domestic and international trade.

▣ Ideally, find a person or company who specializes in the type of commodities you manufacture and sell.
▣ Hire a company that has an expertise in packing goods before the transfer and is aware of the material to be used for different types of goods.
▣ Hiring an experienced freight forwarder is advisable as he will also know how to deliver your cargo safely to the destination.

▣ Find a company that will be able to grant you credit for a certain amount of time.
▣ You must hire a freight forwarder who will have the necessary resources to cater to your requirement. In case of his absence, your work should not come to a halt. He must have hired help to look after your work.
▣ Find someone who will be ready to transfer your goods at a faster rate without putting them at a risk.

▣ He should also be aware about the routes which your consignment will be taking, while getting imported or exported.
▣ A good agent will not only tell you where your consignment has reached but he will also allow you to access its tracking through a real time tracking service.

▣ Choose a person who will be able to guide you about which mode of transport you should opt for depending on the type of goods, date of delivery, and budget.
▣ If you are sending or importing dangerous or perishable goods, products that don't fit in regular containers, goods that require a crane, or live animals, you should find a freight forwarder who specializes in these types of consignments.
▣ Hire a freight forwarder who will offer you services for consignment-based or monthly charges.

▣ A good freight forwarder has many business partners which help a lot if you are dealing in international freight forwarding.
▣ You must find out about the financial standing of the freight forwarder. If he fails to pay the carrier, you will have to pay additional demurrage charges. Your goods may also be detained for a long time which may lead to spoiling of your perishable goods.
▣ One way of finding the best provider is to make and issue a Request for Quote (RFQ) to many good companies. After you receive the response, call the shortlisted ones for a personal interview.
It is advisable that you hire a company which specializes in a particular product, route, country, or region. Choose an agency which provides end-to-end solutions. The most important question which you should ask yourself before finalizing a freight forwarder is whether you will be able to trust this person or company with your valuable goods.