If you are studying business management or if you are a business manager who is considering importing and exporting products, you have probably come across the website of a freight forwarder or two. You may have wondered what services International Freight Forwarder can provide that a regular shipping company cannot. The truth is, a forwarder can make shipping go smoothly and save you plenty of stress.
A freight forwarder is in charge of the transportation of its client’s goods from start to finish. They will supervise each step of the movement of a product from their client’s office to the intended recipient whether it is a warehouse or an individual.
Do freight forward professionals need a license?
The kind of license that your freight shipper has will depend upon the kind of shipping they oversee. Licenses may be issued by the Federal Maritime Commission, the International Air Transport Association, and the U.S. Department of Transportation. An international freight forwarder should have certification from all three of these agencies.
You may also want to ask them if they are a member of the National Customs Brokers & Forwarders Association of America, NCBFA. Membership in professional associations is important because they have resources for the latest trends and laws in any business.
What the Job Entails
A forwarder will use the latest internet technology and special software to make a plan to get your product where it is going.
When you first sit down with a freight forwarder, they should ask you detailed questions about the product you ship and your specific needs. They are responsible for getting insurance for your particular products.
They will prepare any necessary paperwork for you along the way. This can be an enormous advantage as the forwarder will fill out such paperwork every day. They will be familiar with common mistakes people make on the forms and know how to avoid them.
Documentation for international shipping is very complex and anything that is missed can delay your shipment by weeks. Once your product is shipped, they will contact the receiver to coordinate any freight storage that will be necessary along the way.
What Questions to Ask a Freight Forwarder
You should ask a forwarder about the experience of the staff. It is helpful if some of the employees have a background in business management or possibly a degree in business.
You should also ask how long the company has been in business and how many of their clients ship internationally. It is better to hire a company that has been in business for a while and that has long-term relationships with shipping companies.
You may want to ask them if they recommend air shipping or sea shipping for your product. The method of shipment will have a major effect on the price.
Getting your product to your customers is very important, no matter if they are direct, retail, or wholesale. If your product is late, your customers may not order from you again. You need to concentrate on making sure your company runs well and your products are perfectly produced. If you leave the shipping to the pros, you will have one less thing to worry about.