Choosing A Freight Forwarder For Your Export & Import Shipping

When it comes to selling goods overseas, or purchasing goods from an international supplier – you want to ensure you are choosing a freight company that will provide you with a reliable and dependable freight forwarding service.

The process of exporting and importing goods can be complex, with plenty of factors to consider, but one of the most important decisions which should not be taken lightly, is choosing your freight forwarder.

It’s essential that the freight agent you select, is suitable to handle your shipping needs. You need to know that your deadlines will be kept so as to not affect your supply chain and ultimately disappoint your customers. It is crucial to have a freight company that can deliver on their promises and are familiar with the market and route you are exporting to or importing from.

Searching for a reliable freight forwarder using Google or another search engine, will offer you thousands of choices. Even drilling down these search results, will still mean you having to trawl through an extensive list of possible suppliers. So just how do you find a freight company that is right for your needs?

Well one way is to go off a recommendation you may have from a friend or business associated. Often people are happy to recommend suppliers, if they have had a decent first hand experience of using that companies’ service. Recommendations are a fast way of locating a suitable supplier for your needs, enabling you to not have to search through hundreds of different possibilities.

If a recommendation is not possible, then there are a couple of things you should be looking out for when searching for a freight company. Membership of a recognised trade body, such as IATA or FIATA, demonstrate that the company has undergone certain checks and has had its application reviewed by the trade body. Most often this will mean an employee of the trade body, visiting the head office of the freight agent for verification purposes and to conduct an interview of management, to confirm their suitability of being selected as a member of their trade body.

Once you have identified a freight forwarder you could work with, make sure you contact them by phone and discuss your individual requirements with them. Ask lots of questions, to ensure that the company are able to accommodate your needs and that they fully understand your hopes and expectations. Any time sensitive requirements must be made clear at the time, so that the freight forwarding company is able to confirm your delivery times are workable and realistic.

Does the company you have contacted specialise in the market you are exporting to or importing from? Do they operate their own services or do they sub-contract their freight shipments to another carrier? These are questions which you should not be afraid to ask.

Remember the freight forwarding industry is very competitive, with many companies competing for the same business. It is highly recommended you contact around three different freight forwarders, seeking information on their services and to benchmark quotations you may have received from elsewhere. You want to ensure that the freight service you are receiving is competitive – and inline with what other freight forwarders are charging.