FAQThe freight forwarding industry is a complex one and can often be a minefield for the uninitiated. The IPS group has been in this business for over 30 years and would like to help answer the following questions frequently asked by our customers:
What is a freight forwarder?
Why use a freight forwarder?
What to expect from a freight forwarder?
What is a Freight Forwarder?An international freight forwarder is an agent for the exporter in moving cargo to an overseas destination. These agents are familiar with the import rules and regulations of foreign countries, the methods of shipping, and the documents related to foreign trade.
Typically Freight forwarding is a service used by companies that deal in international or multi-national import and export. While the freight forwarder doesn’t actually move the freight itself, it acts as an intermediary between the client and various transportation services. Sending products from one international destination to another can involve a multitude of carriers, requirements and legalities. A freight forwarding service handles the considerable logistics of this task for the client, allowing the client to focus on their business.
A freight forwarding service generally provides one or more estimates to the client along with advisement, when necessary. Considerations that effect price will range from origin and destination to special requirements, such as refrigeration or, for example, transport of potentially hazardous materials. Assuming the client accepts the forwarder’s bid, the freight is readied for shipping. The freight forwarding service then undertakes the responsibility of arranging the transport from point of origin to destination.
Why use a Freight ForwarderFreight forwarding services guarantee that products will get to the proper destination by an agreed upon date, and in good condition. The freight forwarding service utilises established relationships with different types of carriers from ocean liners to air freighters and rail freighters to trucking companies. Freight forwarding services negotiate the best possible price to move the product along the most economical route by working out various bids and choosing the one that best balances speed, cost and reliability.
Freight forwarders assist exporters in preparing price quotations by advising on freight costs, port charges, consular fees, costs of special documentation, insurance costs, and their handling fees. They recommend the packing methods that will protect the merchandise during transit or can arrange to have the merchandise packed at the port or containerised. If the exporter prefers, freight forwarders can reserve the necessary space on a vessel, aircraft, train, or truck.
One of the many advantages of using freight forwarding is that it handles ancillary services that are a part of the international shipping business. Insurance and customs documentation and clearance are some examples. As a consolidator, a freight forwarding service might also provide Non-Vessel Operating Common Carrier (NVOCC) documentation, or bills of lading. Warehousing, risk assessment and management, and methods of international payment are also commonly provided to the client by the freight forwarding service. A good freight forwarding service can save the client time and potential headaches while providing reliable transportation of products at competitive rates. A freight forwarding service is an asset to almost any company dealing in international transportation of goods, and is especially helpful when in-house resources are not versed in international shipping procedures.