7 Things You Need to Know About Freight Forwarding

Freight forwarding is one of the most widely utilized transporting methods for both business and personal use across the globe. Companies that specialize in these types of shipping methods coordinate the transport of goods from one destination to another using a variety of carriers, including road freight, ocean freight, and air freight.

While the entire process can seem overwhelming, freight forwarding companies are experts in the industry and are the best intermediary to depend on whether you are the shipper or the recipient. If you choose to utilize freight forwarding, however, there are a few important things you should know. 

There are six key stages to the freight forwarding process

  1. Export haulage: moving the items from the shipper’s location to the freight fowarder’s warehouse 
  2. Items checkpoint: the freight forwarder immediately checks to ensure everything was transported without incident 
  3. Export customs clearance: all items must receive clearance from the country of origin before they can be shipped 
  4. Import customs clearance: on arrival, authorities in the destination country check import customs documents
  5. Destination arrival and handling: documentation is checked by the freight forwarder and items are processed
  6. Import haulage: cargo is transported from the warehouse to the intended recipient 

An experienced freight forwarder will greatly simplify the shipping process

This might go without saying, but choosing the correct freight forwarding company is vital when trying to decide how to ship your business or personal product. Choosing a company that has a vast and strong network of contacts in the business will ensure that everything goes smoothly and that problems are taken care of quickly should they arise. 

You will want to check their experience beforehand, and be confident that you choose a company you can trust and rely on, especially considering they are handling your precious cargo. 

They typically offer more than just transporting services

Many freight forwarding companies offer additional services along with their transporting options to further simplify the shipping process for you. Some of the most common services they offer include:

  • Warehouse storage
  • Cargo insurance
  • Cargo tracking
  • Dangerous goods handling 

From customs clearance and documentation to inventory management, freight forwarders can assist your business on multiple levels of the supply chain process. 

Your freight forwarder should provide you with numerous documents

When using freight forwarding services for any types of product transport, but especially when shipping overseas, your shipping company will provide you with a lot of different documents. This customs and shipping paperwork will help to ensure that your goods reach their intended destination without any issues arising, so it is vital to complete them. 

This documentation usually includes:

  • Commercial invoice
  • Bill of Lading contract
  • Certificate of origin statement
  • Inspection certificate
  • Export license
  • Export packing list
  • Shipper’s export declaration document

It is your responsibility to make sure your paperwork is up-to-date

Although your freight forwarding company will probably help you with any documentation you need before shipping, it is ultimately up to you to guarantee that it is all up-to-date and completed. This step is crucial in your transporting process as it reduces the risk of your items not being released from customs or the bank refusing to release your funds. 

You need to be aware of any shipping restrictions 

For certain items, there are shipping restrictions that you need to be aware of as freight forwarding companies have strict regulations and policies they must adhere to. There are specific products that they cannot ship, particularly by air or sea freight, and you don’t want to get into a mess should they have to deny your prohibited items from being transported. 

Some of the most common products that are generally restricted include:

  • Dangerous Goods (flammable liquid and toxic items)
  • Drugs (prescription and recreational)
  • Alcohol
  • Batteries
  • Perishable items (except for those on special express delivery)
  • Sharp objects

Freight forwarders are not responsible for shipping delays

While the company is responsible for making sure your product arrives at the correct location at the right time, there are certain shipping delays that they just can’t control. Some of these delays occur due to bad weather, breakdown of the transporter, port delays, or unforeseen route changes. While these can be extremely frustrating, you can rest assured knowing your freight forwarding company is doing everything in their power to resolve the matter quickly. 

Freight forwarding for your goods

Utilizing a freight forwarding company for your business or personal goods will confirm that they arrive in their intended state to the destination. It will also greatly reduce the amount of stress and hassle of having to try to ship the items on your own. Finding a freight forwarding company you can trust will ensure your products are transported safely and efficiently. 

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