For any business involved in cross-border commerce, a major concern is how to get goods from the manufacturer’s warehouse to the end customer in a timely manner and at a reasonable cost. Most small and medium sized businesses use freight forwarders or forwarding agents to move their goods across borders.
A freight forwarder is typically a company that manages the shipping of goods from a shipper to a consignee/buyer. Depending on the route, there can be a variety of shipping modes to be managed, including ocean, air, rail and trucking transport. A freight forwarder does not typically move the goods themselves, but instead acts as the logistics and network expert, coordinating multiple carriers and document exchanges along the way.
Freight forwarders will have the contacts and network to move shipments from origin to destination, and will have extensive expertise in logistics transportation and customs clearance. Given the value that freight forwarders provide to international shipping and B2B commerce, this article will explain the different freight forwarding services available, and then will look at how to choose the right one.
International shipping can be complex and fluid. The documentation required for shipment processing and customs clearance needs to be prepared correctly or delays and additional costs can be incurred. There are potentially several different carriers and companies involved that may apply different charges that all need to be paid.
Service standards and speed of response may vary widely across carriers. International freight forwarding expertise helps to move shipments efficiently from the country of origin to the destination country. The freight forwarder uses their experience and network of contacts to negotiate and handle the movement of goods through each shipment stage in the most efficient way possible.